Friday, August 19, 2011

1DollarScan scans your paper books and docs to PDF for $1 per 100 pages - UPDATE2

BookScan's offshoot,, scans books and docs to PDF for a dollar per 100 pages.

That's the cost for scanning books and personal docs shipped to 1DollarScan in San Jose, California.  You pay the shipping costs, and if you want the book and docs back, then you pay return shipping as well.

UPDATE1 - The "Terms," which they don't make clear on their main pages(except to mention no return-processing fee on books), say:


"There's a $5 return-processing fee on non-books as well as the return-shipping charges the customer pays (the latter half of that sentence is a given).

  By default, the documents are not returned to you unless you specify you want them back and pay the cost for return-shipment (and the $5 processing fee mentioned just above).

  This will not be ideal for books that are highly valued by us since they will not be returned at all nor great for valuable original documents, since an administrative error could mean that someone did not see or remember that we wanted the documents back.
  See the other conditions under "Terms" at the bottom of this blog article.  They're important, as the material may not be accepted unless you know what they won't accept.

  Additional options are 10 pages of a business document, 10 business cards, etc., for a $1. Snail-mail in the paper text and 1DollarScan will email you back a PDF.  I do have some books I've bought while traveling that I'd like in digital format.  On the other hand, in each case I want to keep the original book, so that won't work out, in my case.

  Single column PDFs are easily convertable to Amazon-format books, moreover, by sending a copy of a PDF to [you] and putting "Convert" in the Subject field -- Amazon servers then autoconvert the PDF and send the converted copy to your Kindle (UK: K3), which gives you access to all the Kindle book features, including font-size enlargement, text-to-speech, Kindle-type search (more flexible, faster), dictionary, etc.

  Note that for PDF documents, Kindle 3's have an option to increase or decrease the contrast of text-to-background (PDFs are often done for material originally in color, but some colors used for text will be barely gray against a gray background on a 16-level b&w e-Ink screen).
 After a conversion to e-Ink book format, the results will have normal b&w contrast.

  If you prefer to convert a PDF to Kindle format (MOBI/.prc) yourself, rather than sending the document to Amazon servers to autoconvert it for you, then you can use the free Mobipocket Creator program to do that.  Mobipocket is owned by Amazon.

  Obviously, pirates will no doubt be taking advantage of this new venture too.  While 1DollarScan's website says, "1DollarScan respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects its users to do the same" and says that they won't hesitate to report a customer's personal information if requested by law enforcement agencies, they're also claiming that scans provided to customers are legal under fair use clauses, Saenz points out -- but we've seen that "fair use" normally refers to judiciously excerpted material, not the full work.

  However, the idea is that the conversion is for your personal use only.

OCR capability is included in the price.
Singularity Hub's Aaron Saenz adds (emphases and bracketed words mine)...
' The speed and efficiency of 1DollarScan may make it the preferred service for archivists everywhere, especially considering that their PDF printouts come with an optical character recognition [OCR]  (read: searchable)  layer that make it ideal for organized collections in a business environment. '

  That's key for me, on a personal level, since my main interest in e-text is that it's easily-searchable! That's the reason I stay away from digital magazines that are image-only (except Nat'l Geo, which is excellent on my NookColor and they provide viewing of text-only although it's not searchable).

BookScan, the parent company in Japan, has over 200 employees who do nothing but convert paper documents to digital ones, and the service is so popular, there's "an extensive waiting list."

 There's a video by BookScan at the article, in Japanese, but it gives you an idea of the process.  The larger version is at YouTube.
  The original book will not be the same after this is done.

I've left out a lot, so go to Singularity Hub and Aaron Szenz's article to get the rest of it.

See the TERMS page for more you need to know before sending anything -- such as:
  1. some media (like glossy photo-print paper) might not scan successfully but those will then be returned to you -- there's no clarity, though, as to whether or not you pay the return-shipping fee on that type, but I suspect you'd need to.
  2. if staples, sticky notes or any other removable objects ARE attached to the media, the "documents will not be accepted."
  3. all sheets must be unfolded
  4. they accept only regular-size business cards and books no more than 2.5 " in thickness
      (I sent them a question about books with more than 700 pages.
        Answer: The maximum cost is $6 per book, no matter how many sets of 100.)
  5. they don't accept any magazines
  6. all photos must be removed from photoalbums
  7. some "large size photographs" may not be accepted
  8. no greeting cards with "frills" or "pop-ups."

Processing time averages 2 weeks from the receipt of the original by 1DollarScan.

For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books -
- USA: by:
NEW:  June  July  Aug 2011
   Publication Date   Late-listed
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular
What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care
Highly-rated under $1,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
   Top 100 free
USEFUL for your Kindle (U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's)   K3 Special ($114)   K3-3G Special ($139)   DX Graphite

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  1. For books, they cut the spine off in order to feed into a scanner, and do not offer returns. So it's a way one trip (for books),

  2. thehistoryoftomjones,
    Thanks very much for that. It took me awhile to see where that was said, and they put it in a page that was mentioned only in the Footer of the website's main page, called "Terms" -- instead of as a How-To document in one of the tabs in the body of their site.

    The mention of no processing fee for returns of books is questionable -- they should just out and out say, on the main set of info pages, that books are never returned.

    I've added in other must-or-must-not do's that people should know before sending a box of documents or books to them ...

    Putting everything into 'Terms' BELOW on the footer rather than on one of the guides on how to get this done means they'll get more problem boxes than they need to and frustration on the customer's part.

  3. I may use this service for some books that aren't available on Kindle yet. I'm not ashamed to say that I just can't read DTBs any more. Too bad I can't have them shipped straight there from Amazon.

    1. You can have them shipped straight to them from Amazon. That is one of their options.

  4. Jazz,
    I do read real books still (non-fiction) and sometimes I like it while other times I miss the dictionary and search features a lot -- or I miss being able to enlarge the font :-) But there are books I have wished I had in digital format.

    However, those I would tend to want back and they won't send them back. They say it's due to copyright concerns. But I thought that copyright had more to do with not copying the book :-)

  5. Maybe it's just me, but this seems like a fairly bad idea, and the fact that the books aren't returned and that isn't obvious from the start says to me there are going to be some disappointed people out there.

  6. Doug, I agree.

    The information I put in the two Update-paragraphs was to let poeple know they need to look at 'Terms' in the footer (not something emphasized on the site) and I also listed a few conditions that I felt people should know upfront.

    I can't imagine the unhappiness if people don't know all that.

    The website people replied right away yesterday saying they were going to do some work on the wording that they have on the site.

    I hope so.

    By the way, in what would be a link to your public Author's site, your link apparently goes to an author-upload/edit site instead, as it requires a password.


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