Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating


3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  563 ratings  ·  150 reviews
Second only to soda, bottled water is on the verge of becoming the most popular beverage in the country. The brands have become so ubiquitous that we're hardly conscious that Poland Spring and Evian were once real springs, bubbling in remote corners of Maine and France. Only now, with the water industry trading in the billions of dollars, have we begun to question what it...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published January 15th 2011 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published May 13th 2008)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,552)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
May 15, 2011 Kirsten rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Everyone who drinks bottled water
This book covers a wide variety of topics including land/water rights (AKA who owns the land vs who owns the water and if they have the right to said water), BPA and other chemicals in the water, EPA vs. FDA standards (EPA for tap water, FDA for bottled), the image that bottled water conveys, and the author's personal concerns about what is best for her family.

In my opinion, this book is about the ongoing battle in the U.S. between privatization and public services. Tap water has been shown to b...more
Ms Bubbles SockieP
I've read Elizabeth Royte's other two books. The first was the Tapir's Morning Bath, which exposes the fact that scientists have no common sense and can't see further than the end of their own noses, but only at the end of a very well-researched book on ecological science on a tropical island. The second was Garbageland, which tracked Royte's garbage from her New York home through every possible recycling treatment the US employs.

Bottlemania is a fascinating expose of what ultimately, globally...more
Bob Peru
bottled water is evil. drink from the tap. you won't die.
Water issues are even more complex than i had thought. In some ways, i felt like this piece of non-fiction is an illustration of how dystopian novels don't really need to depict the near future. We are living in a dystopia right now--a time when pretty much everything is out of whack and our "solutions" are really just feeble attempts to keep our heads above water (no pun intended) and the consequences of our decisions and actions will likely only further distend the delicate balance: government...more
While I didn't love this as much as Garbage Land, it hasn't diminished my love for Elizabeth Royte any. She has a fantastic voice, which makes anything she discusses clear and interesting, whether it's complex scientific research, myriad statistics, small-town political drama, or the spins and posturing of multinational corporations. I definitely learned a lot from this book, and so in lieu of a long review, I'd like to share some of her ideas and "fun" facts.

* The outrageous success of bottled...more
Todd Martin
Bottlemania is about the rise in consumption of bottled water and some of the effects of this trend.

The book is best when it discusses consumer idiocy in buying this stuff, which in many cases is no better (and in some cases worse) than what comes out of the tap (for example - benzene in Perrier). There is also the waste and pollution associated with the manufacturing and disposal of millions of plastic bottles.

Instead of focusing on these real issues, Royte becomes enmeshed in a battle that th...more
Evanston Public  Library
Do you drink bottled water? Do you know where that water comes from? Do you know what the carbon footprint is for that two dollar plastic bottle of water you casually purchased to have with lunch? And what about your tap water? Concerned about its healthfulness? Confused? Here is a book about a resource that used to be something we fortunate First Worlders didn't worry much about--it was readily available, seemingly free (a city service, but a cheap one), and a simple, no-cal refreshment suitabl...more
Royte was very even in her treatment of both sides of a complex issue - who owns our water and the right to bottle and market it. While her sympathies seem to lie with the small-town landowners whose wells and ponds are running dry, she goes out of her way to address the issue from the point of view of the bottlers, and I really appreciated that she never seemed to have an agenda. Her analysis of the development (mainly in the late 20th century) of the marketing of water as a commodity was reall...more
I almost wish I hadn't read this book. It doesn't just answer the question in the title (people started buying bottled water to be elite, basically, and then everybody started buying bottle water because it's convenient and because it's good to drink water). This book also covers in a lot of depth how Nestle (which owns Poland Springs) is messing up a small town in Maine by draining their aquifer and sending 24/7 heavy truck traffic through their town. It covers all the chemicals put into tap wa...more
Leah W.
After reading it I have gained so much more knowledge about the current tap vs bottle battle and the positives and negatives of both sides. I feel that I am now at the point that I can make an informed decision on what side to take. However, this book lacked the organization and structure that I would expect out of a book in this genre. The author continuously strayed from the topic of the chapter and made me feel that I kept hearing the same bits of information over and over (kind of like an el...more
Laura Jean White
Interesting look at water.

My family drinks a lot of bottled water, and I'd never considered the downsides to it until reading this. There are a lot of things about water I'd never considered until reading this.

This book has me interested in changing the way my family uses water, and in water issues for developing countries.

Reading about toilet-to-tap water made me nauseous, however.
Jul 23, 2008 Brandy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Environmentalists
In depth review of how and why water has changed in the past 100 years. This explains how different communities stand up, or fall, to water giants who tap thier natural resources.

Aside from scaring me into a Brita filter, this book challenged me to STOP buying bottled water. A bit repetitve, but an intersting read.
I was very interested in this book because I have always hated bottled water and give it the evil eye whenever I am in close proximity to it. Our society is far too disposable/one and done anymore and bottled water is just one of the many examples of it. The environmental damages, the waste and the blatant absurdity have led to the aforementioned evil eye. So this book had potential in my mind. However, I felt the book fell a bit short of its goal. There is far too much focus on one situation in...more
Bottled water is big business - in the US, sales have grown 170% between 1997 and 2006 ($4B to $108B). Globally, it's a $600B a year business. In 1987, per capita consumption of bottled water was 5.7 gallons; by 1997 it was 12.1 gallons and by 2006 was 27.6 gallons. Currently, bottled water is second only to soda in sales (of which Americans drink more than 50 gallons per person per year; beer and milk consumption trail bottled water still), but was expected to surpass soda by 2011 (this book wa...more
Bottlemania offers information about the many cons and few pros of choosing bottled water over tap. Cons: Potentially draining the water supply for locals (where bottled water is taken) much faster than if everyone drank water from the nearest source; the extra water it takes to package bottled water; increased pollution and fuel consumption from transporting bottled water all over the country and world; increased trash in landfills; potentially less money for repairing and maintaining the infra...more
I wasn't as impressed with this book as I thought I was going to be. From reading about it I thought it would be on par with Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation but it just wasn't there. I was a bit disappointed there wasn't more focus in the book about bottled water industry, the facts, how it effects the environment, etc. Sure some of that was in there but for me it was too far into the book and the book dealt more with water in general, not just bottled water. With the start of the book focusin...more
Victory Wong
Read the entire book. While not as compelling as _Fast Food_ - water seems to be a little cleaner than meat - it's still interesting and food (or water) for thought. It put a lot of "I wonders" to rest. I am definately going to get my water tested as I live in a brownstone and God only knows what is in the pipes. I would have to say that even though I thought I knew a lot about the water in NY and the water in bottles I learned a lot and definately found the book to be eye opening.

I went to a ta...more
When I noticed the author's name on Bottlemania, I got a little worried. Elizabeth Royte's Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash was an ok book, but not an experience I wanted to repeat. However, I had ordered the book on ILL and figured I should give it a try before returning it.

Luckily, it turns out to be much better than Garbage Land. Again, the book is not as comprehensive as its title promises, but the part of the story of water that it tells is compelling and a little bit scary. Royte...more
I'm not going to say too much about this book. Out of the nine chapters, I found chapters 1, 6, 7, and 9 to be the most worthwhile. Below are paragraphs I found the most interesting and informative. What is largely left out of this review is the heavy amount of politics in the bottled water industry, corporation vs. small town type stuff.

"Muncipal water in this country is spectacularly underpriced-nationwide, about $2.50 for a thousand gallons. That consumers are willing to pay several thousand...more
I'm all about making profit; but whatever numbnuts came up with a plan to package and distribute the most basic of human needs should be slapped in the head with a case of their product... Actually who needs some sense knocked into them are those of us who are buying bottled water like crazy. Municipality controlled water supplies are fine for drinking; we could be using that and remain thankful that water is not traded on a commodities exchange...yet.
This "kitchen faucet is not for drinking" n...more
Americans eat and drink on the run more than ever, and sales of bottled water are second only to soda. According to the author, an entire generation is growing up with the idea that drinking water comes in small plastic bottles. There is a large markup in price for bottled waters. A huge amount of energy is used to make the water bottles, fill them, truck them to the consumer, and haul away the empty bottles.

Elizabeth Royte investigated the dispute between Nestle, who owns the Poland Spring bran...more
I find it amazing that in a country where water can be drunk out of a tap, and also from most streams away from towns and farms, people buy bottled water. A thought just occurred. We could radically help out the public sector by massively taxing bottled water at retail outlets by levying a 90% tax on water sold this way. If people are to lazy to go to a tap, or gullible enough, despite a stream of published research findings as to the lack of benefit in bottled water, then why not cash in on thi...more
Bojana Duke
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In this book, Elizabeth Royte goes deep to examine how bottled water became ubiquitous and what that means for people around that industry. She spent some time looking at tap water, its treatment and supply, but most of the focus in on the bottled water industry, specifically Poland Spring (Nestle). She goes to the town that supplies the water for Poland Spring and investigates the effects on the town and how it got to that point.

Royte investigates how we (as a society) got to this point, but I...more
Aug 14, 2008 Sarah rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: NPR
Using Nestle, bottler of Poland Spring, and the town of Fryeburg, Maine as an axis, Royte explores the history of bottled water and its rise in ubiquity throughout the 90's and early 00's. Royte doesn't hesitate to make clear her instinctive opposition to the hundreds of millions of bottles Nestle, Coke, and Pepsi churn out each year -- that's no surprise to anyone who's read her Garbage Land -- but she's neither extreme nor greener-than-thou. She's equally interested in exploring the state of t...more
Jun 26, 2008 John rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone concerned about our drinking water
This wasn't as good as Garbageland, but it was plenty good enough. The last time I went to my local supermarket, there was a sample table set up outside the entrance offering tastes of a new product - vitamin water formulated to attract kids. The whole point of the bottled water boom is how much money it makes for the people who sell it. Restaurants, for example, don't get as high a mark-up on anything else. Some noble souls in the business are bringing back tap water, but they're by far the min...more
Sep 14, 2008 Angel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone who drinks water
Recommended to Angel by: I saw Valerie had it on her "to read"list.
This book provides an interesting and very detailed look at the bottled water business. It looks at how the business went from a small niche to a big market. It may either make you go buy more bottled water, or really make you stick with the tap water. Because the truth is not as simple as it is usually presented. Tap water is not as bad as people make it sound. . .for the most part. But bottled water is not much better, and at times, is slightly worse, not to mention its environmental impact. T...more
Now I officially rank Poland Springs with Starbucks in the files of viral, insipid, conspiracies to sell shares of 'local' and/or privatize what should be universal.

Good read. Enjoy it with a fresh, icy cold glass of tap water.

A year after I read this book, and used it to teach several sections of undergraduate classes, my lovely and brilliant wife bought me a birthday present....a 'home carbonator', which allows me to use tap water (that has been filtered in a low-footprint way) to make quart a...more
Jim Kisela
I have taken fresh water for granted my entire life, and I have observed the gradual shift to bottled water as a alternative to, and lately, a replacement for tap water. This book goes into a detailed history of the scope and impact of the movement to bottled water, which opens up the topic of water as a resource worldwide, that is essential for everyone, yet is under pressure from climate change and the social habits of the most well off part of the earth's population.

Well worth reading.
i think it took me a month to read this one, and that's a rarity since when i actually pick up a book i end up zipping through it. i don't think this one is written as well as royte's other book, but bottlemania still had enough good content for me to keep stringing along. her first book make me analyze the amount of waste i generate and this one made me think even more about my water consumption. sometimes i wish i was worse with my habits so i could drastically improve them after having a reve...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 51 52 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters
  • Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis and What To Do About It
  • Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water
  • Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage
  • Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff
  • White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf
  • Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash
  • Plastic: A Toxic Love Story
  • The End of Food: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply--And What We Can Do About It
  • The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the Twenty-First Century
  • Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture
  • Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization
  • Why Things Break: Understanding the World By the Way It Comes Apart
  • Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness
  • The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption, and the Control of the World's Food Supply
  • The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster, and the Water We Drink
  • Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit
  • Consumed - How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults & Swallow Citizens Whole
Elizabeth Royte is a science writer and editor.
More about Elizabeth Royte...
Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash The Tapir's Morning Bath: Mysteries of the Tropical Rain Forest and the Scientists Who Are Trying to Solve Them In Katrina's Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster Bottlemania Bottlemania: Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition

Share This Book