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Book Saver Device

January 12, 2011

Today I ran across this article that discusses a new device from Ion called the Book Saver. This is a new device (it hasn’t been released yet) that scans paper books for you, and creates a digital copy of the book. This is not a new idea — OCR has been around for a long time, which is how places like Project Gutenberg got many of their digital books, as far as I know.

However, this device lets you put a book in the cradle, and it will scan both open pages at the same time. The website claims it can do one page per minute. I suppose the only issue is that you’d have to sit there and flip the page every minute. But, that’s a lot better than typing a whole book manually. Maybe you could pay your little brother to do it or something.

The article that I mentioned above goes over the legal issues of DRM on ebooks, which makes is so that you can’t lend ebooks to a friend, and the lack of that on paper books. The big warning here is that if you use a device like this to scan a paper book that you own, the law says that it would then be illegal to give away a copy of the digital version of the book that you just made. This is understandable because book publishers would not want people scanning their books and then re-distributing them online, whether for free or for a profit.

Whether you agree with the DMCA or not, it is the law and people have gotten fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for violating it. This kind of book scanning device is great if you want to make digital copies of books that you own, but personally I would not recommend using it for anything else. I can almost guarantee that there will be criminals out there that will try to use this technology to sell illegal copies of books. It’s always seemed kind of funny that people would break the law over books, of all things. But I guess when you want to make money illegally, you will do it by any method you can think of.

In any case … interesting technology. I will be interested to see if this product actually sells once it is released, and what people will say about it. In the past text-scanning technology has been kind of crappy, but maybe they’ve improved upon it. The website doesn’t say how much it will cost. It also doesn’t say what format the text will be outputted into. PDF, TXT, EPUB?

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