Sunday, December 20, 2009

1) ConsumerReports video: E-readers for the holidays. 2) A DIY book scanner

Consumer Reports has made a videoclip titled "E-Book Readers for the Holidays" which they feature on their ConsumerReports.Org page.  They allow embedding of the video on blogs and other websites, so if you click on the picture or on the link above, you can play the video.

They discuss the Nook, Sony, and Kindle readers and make recommendations.
  Which reader(s) will get the nod?


Priya Ganapati of's Gadget Labs writes about an amazing Do-It-Yourself  book scanner put together by Daniel Reetz who saved several thousands of dollars by building a system with simple materials that cost him about $300.   Ganapati explains:
'So over three days, and for about $300, he lashed together two lights, two Canon Powershot A590 cameras, a few pieces of acrylic and some chunks of wood to create a book scanner that’s fast enough to scan a 400-page book in about 20 minutes.

  To use it, he simply loads in a book and presses a button, then turns the page and presses the button again.  Each press of the button captures two pages, and when he’s done, software on Reetz’s computer converts the book into a PDF file.  The Reetz DIY book scanner isn’t automated – you still need to stand by it to turn the pages.  But it’s fast and inexpensive.

“The hardware is ridiculously simple as long as you are not demanding archival quality,” he says. “A dumpster full of building materials, really cheap cameras and outrageous textbook prices was all I needed to do it.”

... commercial book scanners that are completely automated cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000. The $50,000 Kirtas book scanner, for instance, can capture 3,000 pages an hour. '
See the photos of his basic setup, including an animated one showing it from all angles, at Wired's report.  I have similar cameras and would be tempted if I were of a more creative bent.  Questions of digital rights are discussed, of course, as well as a lot more in this meaty story -- it's a fun read.

  You can download his 79-page guide to building the DIY book scanner at Reetz's site. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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