Man, if only books were like CDs, and we could just slide them into our computers and have them perfectly ripped into e-books within minutes. Not since the CD was launched have we been faced with buying all our content over again, just to use it on a new device.
For those willing to put in a little effort, though, a book-ripper can be made for pennies. At Instructables you can learn how to make a “Portable, Paperless, Digital Copy Machine” from a few metal strips and rods and an old digital camera. The principle is simple: To scan properly, you need to have a clear picture, and the pages need to be flat. This method uses a rectangular frame to press the open book flat without putting glossy, reflective glass over the top. The corners are connected by rods to the camera, keeping it parallel to the paper-plane, and making sure you get sharp, shake-free images.
You don’t need a dedicated camera: the project details a wooden platform onto which any camera can be screwed. If you do have a spare old digicam, though, you can make a permanent scanning station which means you’re more likely to use it.
After that, you can either keep the JPEGs or run them through some OCR (optical character recognition) software to turn the images into proper, searchable, resizable text. Mac users might try out an application called Prizmo ($40), which cleans, straightens and OCRs images all in one package. PC users have a far better selection, some of which are detailed on the Instructables page.
Get to it! Clear some shelf space, and give yourself a fun weekend project, too.
New & Improved Portable, Paperless, Digital Copy Machine [Instructables]
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Source: Gadget Lab