Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Survey Finds Consumers Will Spend More for Publications Printed on Recycled Paper
December 1, 2005

New study shows more than 80 percent of consumers willing to pay more for books and magazines printed on recycled paper.

The majority of consumers may be willing to absorb the extra costs some publishers have encountered in investigating a switch to printing on recycled paper. In a new study, 80 percent of consumers who had purchased a book or magazine in the past six months or who currently have a magazine subscription said they would be willing to pay more for a book or magazine printed on recycled paper.

But how much more? According to the survey, the following percentage of consumers said they are willing to pay:

  • $1 more per book: 42%
  • 75¢ more per book: 4%
  • 50¢ more per book: 14%
  • 25¢ more per book: 19%

And for magazines, consumers said they are willing to pay:

  • 75¢ more per magazine: 23%
  • 50¢ more per magazine: 24%
  • 20¢ more per magazine: 17%
  • 10¢ more per magazine: 16%

Fourteen percent said they would not be willing to pay an additional amount for a book printed on recycled paper, and 6 percent said they didn't know whether or not they would pay more. For magazines, 16 percent of consumers said they would be unwilling to pay more, and 5 percent were unsure.

"Higher prices for recycled and [Forest Stewardship Council-certified] paper is the most common hurdle that prevents publishers from producing books more ethically.

Hopefully, the results of this survey will help publishers see that moving in the right direction doesn't have to cost them more," says Tyson Miller, executive director of the Green Press Initiative (GPI), a nonprofit organization that helps book publishers improve their environmental impact and a co-sponsor of the study with BookTech Magazine (a national business magazine for book publishing executives) and Co-Op America (a nonprofit organization that works toward an environmentally sustainable society).

"We've found that magazine publishers don't always pay more to use post-consumer recycled paper," says Frank Locantore, director of the Magazine Paper Project at Co-op America. "This survey demonstrates that in the cases where a price premium exists, consumers are willing to pay more to protect forests, ecosystems and human health."

"It is assumed that the results of the survey would also be true for publishers that incorporate FSC fiber in addition to recycled fiber," adds Miller.

"Some publishers have been concerned that consumers wouldn't support a move to recycled paper, especially if it caused a price increase. But this survey definitely indicates strong consumer support. It's big news for publishers, retailers and recycled paper providers," says Noelle Skodzinski, editor in chief of BookTech Magazine, PrintMedia magazine and, an online publication providing information on environmental sustainability in printing and publishing.

The survey was conducted by telephone by Opinion Research Corp., an independent survey company. Survey calls were made Nov. 18-21 to a random sampling of 1,033 adults—515 men and 518 women, 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the United States. The margin of error at the 95-percent confidence level is plus or minus three percentage points.

Full Report To Be Published in Early 2006
For more information, including a demographic breakdown of survey respondents and an analysis of regional results, look for the January/February 2006 issue of Book Business (effective with its January/February 2006 issue, BookTech Magazine will be renamed Book Business) in your mailboxes in early 2006, or visit it online at

For more information about Co-op America, visit To learn more about the Green Press Initiative, visit

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Please contact Todd Larsen by email
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