2. What is your business model?
Our business model is based on keeping a portion of the proceeds from every sale. We're still not profitable, but we hope to get there by the end of our second year of operation. We have plans to expand our global presence - we're working on establishing a network of local partnerships around the globe. We have established such a partnership in Israel last July (with a translation of our website to Hebrew - http://www.ecolibris.co.il) and we also work on establishing similar partnerships in Europe, Australia and Asia.
3. How did you come up with this idea?
As someone who writes about and constantly explores the green business world (I write on green business for Ma'ariv, the second-largest newspaper in Israel), I was occupied for some time with paper and the environmental impacts of its production. I realized that it might take a while to get to the point where eco-friendly alternatives such as recycled paper will replace virgin paper as the main source of paper products.
So what do you do in the meantime? I talked with some friends about the idea of giving people the opportunity to balance out their paper consumption by planting trees and got good feedback.
The decision to focus on books was made mainly after learning that less than 10% of the paper used for printing books is made of recycled paper (unlike magazines or newspapers for example that have much higher recycled paper content). It seemed to me only natural to offer book lovers a new alternative to make their reading more sustainable â€“ planting trees for the books they read. I guess that the fact that my mother is a librarian and I grew up with a great love for books contributed to that decision as well.
And then things started to roll pretty quickly and within a couple of months we had a great team of people working to transform Eco-Libris from an idea into a reality. This meant a workable model, and choosing the right planting partners that will be reliable, sustainable in their practices, suitable to balance out the paper usage in books, and also work in collaboration with local communities to plant the trees.
We also came up with the idea of providing a sticker for every book balanced out - we were hoping not only to see more trees being planted, but also that the Eco-Libris sticker readers will put on the books they balance out will inspire them to keep looking for more ways to make a difference. And the rest, as they say, is history.