The focus of this thesis was to investigate digital technology in the print industry in order to better understand the environmental impact of certain digital devices. For this research, the Amazon Kindle was selected, and a secondary source was used for a comparison of a printed book. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was performed on the Kindle using a software called SimaPro. The results were then compared to an adjusted version of the data from a secondary source on printed books. Results indicated that in the three primary areas examined, Global Warming Potential, Ozone Depletion, and Terrestrial Acidification, with only one user per book, the Kindle may have less environmental impact. As the number of users per book increased, the data suggested that the printed book tends to have less of an environmental impact. While it was necessary to have a variety of assumptions in order to perform this analysis, these same assumptions caused the final data to have a large area of uncertainty. More research into this field is needed in order to delve deeper into the impact of digital devices such as the Kindle.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Kindle (Electronic book reader)--Environmental aspects; Books--Environmental aspects

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Print Media (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Print Media (CIAS)


Patricia Sorce

Advisor/Committee Member

Marcos Esterman


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at Z286.E43 D69 2012


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