Book scanning on the (relatively) cheap

Ars Technica has a fascinating article on the trials and tribulations of building a book scanner from a kit.

They lament the lack of software support, however–namely, a program to convert the image files generated by the digital camera into a PDF. Should I point them in the right direction? Why not? The key is Imagemagick, of course.

The article is interesting from a tinkerer’s perspective, a technical perspective, and a legal perspective. How different is scanning a book you own from ripping a CD, really? Other than the cost of the equipment involved, and the time it takes, I don’t see a lot of difference. And 15 years ago, the cost of the equipment and the time it took to rip a CD was very similar to the state of book scanning now.

Have I scanned any books I own so that I could carry them in my e-reader and read them? No. Would I like to? Absolutely. Enough to pay $475 for a kit and spend several weekends tinkering to get it working right? Well, not that much.

But the price will come down, and people will want to do it. Does it fall under Fair Use? I certainly think so.

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