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Treebeard's Stumper
2 February 2001

Paper Trees

In last week's Dunn Middle School Friday Newsnote, Chris Beebe found that just one local supermarket uses over two million paper bags per year. Chris wondered how many trees that was. I had the same thought on that Saturday morning last July when the UPS truck delivered my copy of the (then) brand-new Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. That was a record printing of 3.8 million books. It's a hefty volume that measures 6 1/4 by 9 1/4 by 2 inches and weighs over 2 1/2 pounds. How many trees is that? How much forest? Estimating an answer will require intelligent assumptions, some guessing, and some research!

Like half a million other readers, I placed my advance order for a copy of the fourth Harry Potter book from Amazon.com. Many kids got their copies at special midnight book parties held at book stores across the country. It was an event! The UPS truck (or was it FedEx?) pulled up early on Saturday morning, July 8, 2000. I peeked in the back of the truck at a huge pile of books from Amazon, and nothing else. I wish I had my camera ready. However you feel about the story, it's great to see the kids so excited by any book. Check out the DMS Book Review page for other interesting books our bright kids are reading on their own.
3.8 million books...  

(Maybe there's something fishy about my question?
But estimate anyway, as an upper bound at least!
)

...is how much forest?

Answer


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Copyright © 2001 by Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org