Recent Life Cycle Analysis of which is better for the enviroment, books vs. e-text, found the following results:
"Paper production, electricity of printing operations, and personal transportation were the main factors affecting the book footprint, while electricity was the main issue for e-readers; and that books were responsible for four times the greenhouse emissions as e-readers. In '04, two UC-Berkeley students evaluated newspaper vs PDA-based e-newspapers [PDF], and decided that a newspaper released 32-140 times the amount of CO2, and used 26-185 times the amount of water. A 2007 study in Sweden (here is the abstract) also looked at newspaper and found that newspaper's biggest impact was in the paper production, while energy was the big impact for reading on the Internet; for e-devices (the Kindle, etc.), production of the e-object is the biggest impact. The study concluded that reading e-newspapers had less impact than an actual newspaper."
So, if you want to help the environment and educate at the same time, perhaps it's time more teachers and parents use available e-texts for their students.
Read the whole article: