Book publisher goes solar

 

LYNNHURST — A children’s book publisher is installing solar panels on its roof — for the second time. 

Founder John Martinsaid he wanted to expand the business’s original system, which provided about 75 percent of the electricity for the building. 

“This new one will get us pretty close to self-sufficiency,” he said. 

Bellwether Media creates nonfiction books for school libraries, and its distribution reaches all 50 states, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East. 

The company is a longtime environmental advocate. Martin owns an electric car, and the company’s electric car-charging station is available to the public at 5357 Penn Ave. S.

Martin said the investment in solar panels is environmental, but also economical. 

“When you purchase electricity at today’s rate forever, that’s a good hedge against future rises in energy costs,” he said. 

Bellwether currently has 130 books in production. That’s about 50 more than usual, feeding a high demand for books focused on struggling readers. Book topics range from “Mighty Machines,” like big rigs and backhoes, to animals like sharks and horse breeds. A series on “The Unexplained” covers topics like ghosts and ESP. Martin said the hottest nonfiction topic is exotic animals. 

“A lot of boys really gravitate to non-fictional texts,” Martin said. “It’s the way I was as a kid, so it’s the perfect job for me to be in.”