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Earth Book: climate neutral publishing on recycled paper

This gorgeous, hand-illustrated book tells the story of our planet and invites children to care for it. Crafted with the same care that it asks of its reader, Earth Book (Jordbok, in its original Swedish) is climate neutral and printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, setting an example for sustainable publishing.

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Recycled paper isn’t usually the first choice for a book, let alone an illustrated book. But the team behind Earth Book (Jordbok) weren’t looking to be conventional. The result is such a beautiful book with vibrant illustrations, you’d never guess it’s printed on recycled paper. Moreover, it holds a special place in our library and our hearts, as it signalises the way forward for authors, publishers, printers, designers and anyone else that works with paper — that sustainability needs to be at the centre of every project, if it is to be successful. Our story is told in three parts, starting with the author, then the publisher and lastly, but certainly not least if you'll forgive the cliché, the paper.

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The Author

The Earth Book (Jordbok) project is a four-part book series by author and illustrator, Matilda Ruta, with the goal of starting conversations around our environmental impact with future generations. Time is the first book within the series, and in it we travel through time and space, back to when the planet was born.

The idea for the series stems from the ecological crisis that humanity is facing and the need to talk about these challenges in an uplifting and hopeful manner that inspires the next generation to do better. With fact sheets, crafts, comic strips and trivia questions, Matilda Ruta successfully explores the topic in a fun and interactive manner.

How important is it for you as an author that the physical book fits the values of the story you’ve written? Did you actively select a publisher with similar principles as the Earth Book (Jordbok) series?

Very important! I chose to work with Johanna Ringertz, my publisher, because I know that she and Natur & Kultur share my values. From the very start, we were talking about which paper we could use to make less impact, finally settling on a 100% post-consumer recycled paper, Nautilus SuperWhite.

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Image credit: Matilda Ruta

As you are not only an author, but also an artist — and the illustrator of this beautiful book — what did you think of the final printed result? Do you think it did your work justice?

Yes, I love the result. I was a bit nervous for the colours, but everything turned out exactly as I envisioned. 

The Publisher

Natur & Kultur is the first climate neutral book publisher in Sweden, and the publisher of Earth Book (Jordbok). Over the past five years, they have worked towards minimising emissions in every part of their operations and compensated all remaining unavoidable emissions.

Why did you choose Nautilus for this project? Is paper choice always an important consideration in the books you publish?

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It wasn’t an easy choice, because there are so many aspects to consider in regards to what is good for the environment, while at the same time also being economically feasible. Ultimately, we decided that using recycled paper was important for us for this book.

Paper is always an important consideration for us, but predominantly in regards to quality — only over the last years has it also become a question of sustainability. Having said that, we have printed all our books on FSC™ certified fresh fibre paper for several years already.

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Is this the first time you have used recycled paper for a book, and what did you think of the result? Do you think that using recycled paper will become more common within the publishing sector?  

Yes, it was our first time using recycled paper in a book. Up until now, there have not been high quality recycled papers available for publishing that could compare with fresh fibre papers. If the emissions from the production of recycled papers are the same or lower than those of fresh fibre papers, then we believe that there is definitely a big market for recycled book papers, as we have seen with other grades of publishing papers.

What are the most important factors to consider when publishing books that are sustainable — the paper, the printers, suppliers, or other factors?

I think you have to consider it all. That is the hard part, everything in the process counts.

The Paper

Printed on Nautilus SuperWhite 135 g/m², the story of the book and the story of our paper have a lot in common. Nautilus, our 100% post-consumer recycled paper range, was created with nature in mind, to keep our resources in circulation by recycling post-consumer waste into new high-quality professional printing paper.

With its exceptional print results and accurate colour reproduction, Earth Book (Jordbok) clearly proves that books printed on recycled paper do not need to concede on quality. From the dainty pastel hues, to the deep dark shades of the universe sky, all colours have remained true to the artist’s vision and the love that went into this book comes through in every page.

Project specs

Paper

NAUTILUS® SuperWhite, 120 g/m²

Application

Design:

Matilda Ruta

Printer:

Livonia Print

Any Questions?

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