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Old 01-11-2008, 03:25 AM   #1
llwwss
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I want to digitize my paper books.

I have many thick academic books in paper form that i want to read anywhere.
Unfortunately, these books are not available in ebook forms, and i doubt it will be possible any time soon.
So i want to make my own ebooks out of paper books that i already have so that i can read them on the go and on the bed with ebook readers like prs505 or Cybook gen3.

As an individual, is it be possible to digitize books into ebook files
or should i contact a company which does book digitization?
If i can do this myself, what equipments do i need?
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Old 01-11-2008, 03:51 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by llwwss View Post
As an individual, is it be possible to digitize books into ebook files or should i contact a company which does book digitization?
If i can do this myself, what equipments do i need?
Forget it.

It's very difficult and time consuming, even if you already have the required equipment and skill in using it. If you don't have the equipment or the skill, it will be close to impossible.

And a company that does this won't help you either. Their first question will be "Do you have the right to do this?". You don't. Someone else holds the rights and would have to approve it. They would be in violation of the law doing it without that approval, and they won't touch the job.

And even if you got the approval, it would be far more expensive than it was worth. I can easily see a charge of thousands of dollars per book.

If the books you want to read don't exist in electronic format, resign yourself to paper editions. Seriously.

(For an idea of what has to be done to make a paper book into an electronic version, visit the Distributed Proofreader's site, at http://www.pgdp.net/c/default.php . They do the proofing on the files that become Project Gutenberg titles.)
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:56 AM   #3
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I have many thick academic books in paper form that i want to read anywhere.
Unfortunately, as stated, the typical academic book is quite difficult due to such things as images, figures, charts & equations, unless you can be satisfied with the PDF files that result from the scanning. These can be very large files, slow to read on the typical ebook reader as well as being too small to view adequately.

I have done volunteer work for Project Gutenberg and they don't even have the proof readers bother with these. They have what they call formatters do this work.

On the other hand, if it is purely text, then it is a job you can handle yourself with an appropriate scanner and OCR software plus some sort of editing software such as MS Word. It is still a lot of work. How much work partly depends on the equipment and SW and your experience.

Last edited by slayda; 01-11-2008 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:11 AM   #4
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I've tried doing a few chapters of a few books and it's really tough going. The best net rate that I could do was about one minute per page with the result being a PDF file that I had to run through PDFLRF to put on my Sony Reader. At that rate, I'd need to add a few decades to my life expectancy to do this for my library. Ain't happenin'.
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:47 AM   #5
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Forget it.

It's very difficult and time consuming, even if you already have the required equipment and skill in using it. If you don't have the equipment or the skill, it will be close to impossible.
Nonsense. $60 and a weekend will get the first one, if you have a decent digital camera. A few hours per book after that.

Don't let these illegitimi carborundum you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
And a company that does this won't help you either. Their first question will be "Do you have the right to do this?". You don't. Someone else holds the rights and would have to approve it. They would be in violation of the law doing it without that approval, and they won't touch the job.
You are ASS-U-ME ing that the books have copyright notices that prevent them from being copied into digital form. That's absurd. Many books have copyright notices that allow you to convert them to another format for your personal use.

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And even if you got the approval, it would be far more expensive than it was worth. I can easily see a charge of thousands of dollars per book.
LMAO! I rip several books a day, it's easy.

Here's the hardware you need:

(1) digital camera, preferably SLR, in the 5 MP or better range for most books. Academic books can be large (8.5" x 11" pages) with small text. In that setting, more MP is better. I'm currently using a ($80) 6.2MP Samsung S630, point-and-shoot. It works for text-bsed hard covers, but it sucks for huge, college math books. I'm saving for a 10-12MP DLSR.

(2) tripod (mine was $18.88 at Wal-Mart.)

(3) book cradle - search this site and Google - I got all my ideas from a few searches. Mine cost $40 in parts. See http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...ghlight=cradle

Quote:
Originally Posted by slayda View Post
Unfortunately, as stated, the typical academic book is quite difficult due to such things as images, figures, charts & equations, unless you can be satisfied with the PDF files that result from the scanning. These can be very large files, slow to read on the typical ebook reader as well as being too small to view adequately.
BS

The correct solution is to snap photos of the books, and use these photos (JPEGs.) Yes, a 500 page math book can take over a gig, but it's usable. I use a 2GB SD card in my PRS-505 to store a book, and flip through the images. As processing power increases, we'll be able to use them even more easily. As OCR software improves, we may (one day) be able to OCR the equations.

Andy

Last edited by recycledelectron; 01-11-2008 at 09:52 AM. Reason: to respond to another illegitimi
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:50 AM   #6
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Moved since this is a general purpose thread and not just for the 500/505.
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Old 01-11-2008, 10:35 AM   #7
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Don't let these illegitimi carborundum you.
My apologies! I think your efforts are valiant, recycledelectron, but I don't think this is an activity for the faint at heart. If a 6.2 Mpixel image is not good enough for a textbook page, my heart flutters to imagine what is. And "paging" through a book by flipping between jpegs that total 1 Gbyte or more has me swooning. I'm glad this works for you but this won't for me - ever. I need a process that is a lot less intense and time-consuming.

I have images of you in a dark basement frantically turning pages. Camera flashes lighten the room every few seconds. The flipping of pages and the whir of fans from a couple of PCs accumulating the photos is the only sound. This goes on from early morning until late at night for days at a time. You've given up work and family and the only time anyone sees you is when the pizza guy shows up. He sees the evil grin on your sweating face as you tell him about how quickly you digitized the complete Oxford English dictionary last week. He happily leaves quickly with a small tip.

Sorry for having fun with you but I couldn't help it. I certainly hope the image I have is wrong!
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Old 01-11-2008, 03:10 PM   #8
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If you're looking for "readable" rather than archive-quality, all you need is a decent scanner and VueScan. Heck, even "archive-quality" is do-able, as long as your original book isn't too fragile to handle being opened out flat on the scanner bed.

Using VueScan Professional and my beloved old AcerScan 610ST (with the Adaptec USBXchange SCSI-to-USB adapter), I've done a few doujinshi for scanlation projects and a few out-of-print fanzines for friends who had material published in them but couldn't afford the zine at the time (not all fanzines can afford to give free copies to contributors). A 100+ page fanzine/doujinshi scanned on the "magazine" setting ends up somewhere around 2GB as raw DNG files. Either save as more than one file-type during the scanning process or you can later point VueScan back at those DNG files and re-scan them to a multi-page TIFF or PDF. With a size-reduction setting of 3, you end up with a single file in the neighbourhood of 150+MB - averaging just over 1MB per page for text pages. I think that file with size-reduction setting of none ended up around 330+MB. Keep in mind, of course, that these are pure image PDFs, not text! VueScan can also output as JPEGs, with both the size-reduction setting and file compression setting being configurable.

VueScan can do OCR as well, so text PDFs should be possible, but I have yet to attempt it (though if I do decide to, I can work directly with the DNG files and don't need to re-scan the original). The image PDFs are more than clear enough for the purposes that they're being used for. I highly recommend that anyone who's ever cursed their scanning software take a good long look at VueScan. It's reasonably priced and infinitely better than any other scanner software that I've ever checked out. It can "scan" from disk, scanner, digital camera, etc., and can be set up to do automatic scans at regular intervals, batch scans, etc. A very useful, versatile 'tool' for anyone's software 'toolkit'.

Edit:

Just took a few minutes to toss one of the afore-mentioned scan-generated PDFs on my Cybook. Considering all the previous comments on the complete unsuitability of any ebook reader other than the iLiad for reading PDFs, I hadn't bothered before. But, in the interests of research, I thought it was worth a shot.

The book in question is 109 printed pages, mainly text but with a few drawings and comics; only a couple of pages are full-colour. The PDF file is 168MB and the Cybook handled it with ease. There was a slight delay in turning pages, but then, there's also a slight delay in paging through it on the computer (much like 90% of the PDFs I've ever viewed), so that's rather a moot point. I was able to read it in portrait mode fit to page (yes, really!) but then I run my computer monitor at a resolution that makes other people squint and reach for a magnifying glass, so... *shrug* In landscape mode, fit to width, it was perfectly readable for the average person - probably comparable to the text in the average mass market paperback. And the original of this is an 8 1/2" x 11" fanzine, with text in two columns. So, the answer to the question "is scanning a book as PDF for viewing on the Cybook possible" is definitely a resounding "yes" - at least for someone with reasonably good vision (I wear glasses for distances but not for reading and usually not for the computer monitor either).

I'd suggest, in future, that the more reasonable response to questions about PDFs in general on the Cybook be less of an immediate "no, they're not any good" because, frankly, I think that's a rather inaccurate answer and won't necessarily hold true for everyone. They're not necessarily unreadable, even if they haven't been optimized for viewing on such a small screen. If I were really planning to use this particular file on the Cybook, I'd probably run VueScan back through the raw DNG files, crop out the excess margins to improve display size, maybe play a bit with the file-size reduction settings in hopes of improving display speed, and then generate a new PDF, at which point I would probably be comfortable reading the whole thing in portrait mode.

Note: As far as scanning time goes, this particular 109 page zine took two-three hours to scan - in part because, while I was doing that on the desktop, I was playing a game and browsing the web on the laptop. Theoretically, it should be possible to get the scanning done much more quickly, if that was the only task being carried out.

Last edited by dcalder; 01-11-2008 at 03:51 PM. Reason: Added info.
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Old 01-12-2008, 04:22 AM   #9
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Note: As far as scanning time goes, this particular 109 page zine took two-three hours to scan - in part because, while I was doing that on the desktop, I was playing a game and browsing the web on the laptop. Theoretically, it should be possible to get the scanning done much more quickly, if that was the only task being carried out.
If you're willing to destroy the book, removing the binding and using a scanner with a sheet feeder will get the job done in minutes. That's how DP get their page scans, I believe.
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Old 01-12-2008, 02:16 PM   #10
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I'd suggest, in future, that the more reasonable response to questions about PDFs in general on the Cybook be less of an immediate "no, they're not any good" because, frankly, I think that's a rather inaccurate answer and won't necessarily hold true for everyone. They're not necessarily unreadable, even if they haven't been optimized for viewing on such a small screen.
This is a good point .
I've only recently tried PDFs on my CyBook because I'd seen the negative reports here - but was surprised to find that they're actually perfectly readable (for me - I'm nearsighted and can read PDFs on my CyBook without my specs).
I can appreciate some people might have problems; but everyone should see for themselves - they may be pleasantly surprised.
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Old 01-12-2008, 03:30 PM   #11
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I did some scan/ocr work for the Harvard Classics series. It is not hard. depending upon your ability at editing it can be a nightmare or something less. (Years of editing helped for me.)

The only way to know for yourself is to try it for yourself. Don't let any of us stand between you and your goal. We all have experience, but not your experience.
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Old 01-12-2008, 03:35 PM   #12
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Yes PDF "images" can be readable, depending on the original size. If scanned from a book with pages near the size of the Cybook screen then there should be no trouble reading it. However you will not have a book, only a series of pictures of pages stuck together. It will not reflow, you won't be able to use a dictionary on the images of the words, etc. In addition, most academic books have larger pages, some even larger than 8.5 x 11. Even with young eyes, this will be difficult reading.

What I spoke of is creating editable text from scanned books. And it is true that eventually we will have equation editors, etc. but we don't now, at least in general. (There are some very specialized equation editors.)

As a comparison, I recently scanned a paperback book with over 1000 pages. Scanned at 600DPI, it took almost an hour to scan. Then I spent about 4 hours cleaning up the OCR errors. This was a good quality printed book. Cheaper quality usually generates more errors.

This experience, including one that had a half dozen equations that I kept as JPEGs in the text, is what I based my previous statements on. BTW the scanned PDF file was about 122.6 MB but the final RTF was only about 3.4 MB. IMO a significant reduction.
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Old 01-12-2008, 08:04 PM   #13
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I'm a student at a german university, and we have integrated copying and scanning devices all over the campus. With these devices you can scan your books very fast in a readable quality (even for figures) and send the resulting PDF format directly via email. Very comfortable! They even have those devices in the reference library

I already scanned a 300 page paperback (-> 150 scans), it took about 15 minutes. Maybe you have something similar nearby?
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Old 01-12-2008, 08:26 PM   #14
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We aren't allowed to do this in the UK. At my university there are signs above the photocopiers saying that we are only allowed to copy one chapter from a book for copyright reasons. And students aren't given access to scanners without the material being checked for copyright by a librarian.
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Old 01-12-2008, 08:47 PM   #15
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We aren't allowed to do this in the UK. At my university there are signs above the photocopiers saying that we are only allowed to copy one chapter from a book for copyright reasons.
Is this restriction for copying to yourself or copying to the class? Our rules are that a teacher can copy a whole book for himself. For the class you can copy a maximum of 15% and 15 pages and distribute in the class. If you want to copy more you have to ask for permission.
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