Still no E-Z book ripper

Levy: Rip This Book? Not Yet. | Newsweek Voices – Steven Levy |

“Then I tested a BookSnap for myself. Short verdict: not a revolution. More a thud than a snap, the device—an ominous three-foot high construction draped with a thick black darkroom-style shade—looks like a Goth puppet theater and weighs 44 pounds. Under the shade is an angled cradle for a book and a glass platen to hold the pages down during scanning. You turn the pages yourself. It costs $1,600, not including the two Canon digital cameras (about $500 each) necessary to capture the page images and send them to your computer, where software transforms the pictures into files that can be read on a screen or an e-book reader. It takes considerable fiddling to get images set up properly. Supposedly, once you get started you can digitize 500 pages per hour, much faster and at higher quality than with flatbed scanners (which are much cheaper but not optimized for book scanning). I never got that far, but I imagine such a feat would require considerable caffeination.”

It’s almost impossible to sell self-digitization to the iPod generation, because – as Levy points out here – it’s so much more labor-intensive than ripping a CD. Even ripping vinyl albums to MP3 is much easier and can also be started and then run mostly unattended. Scanning a book is a tedious process and you can’t really do anything else (well, maybe rip CDs) while you’re doing it. Atiz is commendably trying to get to an appliance model for book scanners, but the BookSnap isn’t it. You’d really need something along the lines of the Kirtas technology for that.

(Via Digitization 101.)

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