With the introduction of e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Nobel Nook e-books have finally gained a foothold. In fact it’s been almost one and a half year since Amazon announced that they sold more e-books than hardcover books. It’s easy to see why e-books have taken off, it’s far more convenient to have every book you own on a single device instead of lugging around a handful of books wherever you go. Unfortunately there are some books that still aren’t in electronic format, many of which are very rare. For example, I have a copy of The Black Flag of Anarchy Corinne Jacker. It’s a very interesting title that covers anarchism in the United States but, as far as I can see, no electronic copy exists and no electronic copy is likely to be made. That is, at least, until I follow these instructions for building a do-it-yourself book scanners:
Daniel Reetz, founder of DIYBookScanner.org, had been making kits available for those looking to build their own device. Finding a need for a scanner himself, Reetz built his first book scanner from the trash he found from dumpster diving. He created an Instructable to share his experiences and discovered a diverse group of individuals who also had the need for a book scanner. The group ranged from a man from Indonesia hoping to preserve books from flood damage to a group of engineers looking for a new and interesting project to spark their interests. The DIY Book Scanner had modest beginnings, but over a period of two years it evolved into a movement of individuals using readily available resources to create solutions.
The article primarily discusses the trials and tribulations faced by the ArsTechnica writers who built one of the do-it-yourself scanners. It’s not easy but it is possible and the technology is guarantee to improve and become more accessible. Digitizing books is the most effective way to make rare titles available for everybody’s enjoyment and is currently the most effective way of preventing such titles from disappearing entirely. It is my hope that every piece of written literature will someday be available in electronic format.