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> owning your own books has significant advantages, which I hope need not be restated here.

I had to get rid of several hundred of my books years ago when I went traveling. It was tough since I had a lot of attachment to my physical books, but upon examination I realized there were few advantages and in my case many disadvantages. Exceptions are books you habitually reread or reference, but most novels fail that test.

I have several thousand books. Many I've cut & scanned into pdf's. It is just marvelous to be able to take with me that library when I travel - I never lack for something to browse. I no longer have to read those wretched in-flight magazines.

My bookshelves are still crammed with books, but they've all got a date with the slicer! Mua-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!

BTW, for examples of books I've cut & scanned, see http://www.generalatomic.com (yes, I either acquired permission to post them or they are public domain).

That's basically what I ended up doing. After I got rid of the books, I imposed a rule on myself that except for rare cases where the book itself is an extraordinary artifact I would only buy books to cut and scan. My previous books were either replaced by ebooks or for the rarer books by buying new or used copies and cutting and scanning them. I was lucky enough that my employer at the time had an industrial-strength paper guillotine and high-volume scanner.

The paper guillotine was impossibly heavy to carry around and terrifying to operate.

This isn't about e-books vs physical books, but about the difference between subscription and purchase models.

I'm curious about this, I've got a bunch of books I don't want to throw away, but I'm tired of the space they occupy. Seems like scanning them would be a huge hassle though. Any special techniques that you use to do this? How long does a single book take to process?

You can build a book scanner: http://www.diybookscanner.org/

1dollarscan will cut&scan for $1 per 100 pages, they destroy the book afterwards. You can also ship to them directly from Amazon, etc. It's a way to buy electronic versions of older books which may never be on Kindle. Just cutting the spine from a book costs $2 at Staples.

I bought what's called a "stack slicer" used on ebay for about $300. It'll neatly slice the spine off and your finger! Man it's sharp, I found out the hard way. I do enough that it's worth the cost. You'll be sorry if you scrimp on this piece of equipment.

You'll also need a sheet feeding scanner with a hopper on it, that'll scan both sides at the same time. Otherwise, it takes far too long. The software with the scanner will OCR it automagically and create a PDF. I scan at 400 dpi, which looks real sweet on a retina screen. There are a lot of settings to tweak on the scanner, some experimenting will get you the best results. Make sure you turn the double feed detection on.

Use some denatured alcohol to regularly clean the window and rollers, I also use a solder sucker to blow the paper dust out of it.

And lastly, you'll never get 100% of a book to go through cleanly. Just rescan the screw-ups, and assemble the result using pdftk (a marvelous tool). I also like to scan the covers separately in color and fold them in.

Times vary, but I can scan an average paperback in 5 minutes. Turning the sheets sideways makes it go much faster.

> Turning the sheets sideways makes it go much faster.

Great tip, thanks - presumably it also reduces misfeeds.

Would you recommend a particular scanner?

How does pdftk help with rescanned pages, does it magically know where to reinsert?

My scanner is old and not sold anymore, but it's a Fujitsu and presumably their newer models are as good.

You have to explicitly tell pdftk what to do.


Ff you want some help using pdftk, check out the free 'PDF Succinctly' ebook from Syncfusion:


It explains use of iTextSharp, a C# library.

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