Kindle And Some Serious Sweat Can Digitize Your Books

Kindle And Some Serious Sweat Can Digitize Your Books

Finally, Amazon has unveiled a way for you to convert print books into readable Kindle content.

Emphasis on the "you" in that last sentence. Get ready to do some heavy lifting.

Kindle Convert software lets readers scan their books and then read them on their Kindles. You can scan pictures. You can scan documents. You can scan signed books and see the signatures right there in digitized form. You can scan a book in which you've made notes and see those notes on your Kindle. In essence, you now have a digital version of your actual library.

Okay, the bad news.

You have to physically scan every page of each book by yourself. Scan, turn the page. Scan, turn the page.

In the guide video, Amazon recommends scanning a dozen or so pages as a test book until you get all the settings right. This probably isn't a surprise to anyone who has spent time scanning documents, but it doesn't inspire a ton of confidence in the process.

Bizarrely, once you've scanned an entire book, Amazon will ask you to put in the title and author and then let you know whether the book you've just scanned is already available on Kindle. Just in case you decided it was easier to scan an entire book first before checking.

The nail in the coffin, the Kindle Convert software is $49. Although it's on sale for $19 at the moment.

There is some application, if we're willing to stretch. Collector's items, for example, could be painstakingly scanned, after which they can be read and enjoyed on Kindle without causing further damage. Something like a loose leaf manuscript might actually scan quite nicely. I wonder whether something like a handwritten journal could be converted into a Kindle book.

The easy truth here is that nobody wants to spend that kind of time scanning their books. The real technological breakthrough will be the wide availability of machines that digitize entire books without too much effort on the human end of things. That said, there is a minor, interesting step in a different direction happening here. Kindle Convert does allow a person to have a highly-usable, more personal library. My copy of House of Prayer No. 2 doesn't have to look like everyone else's. Perhaps people would jump at the chance to buy a celebrity's copy of a book complete with handwritten notes. The step in the right direction: eBooks have a sliver of a glimmer of hope of being something that feels just a little more personal. Provided a person has about 8 hours to kill.

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Josh Zancan's picture
Josh Zancan from Crofton, MD is reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck February 6, 2015 - 11:37am

While this is a cool bit of technology, I'd rather just pay another $4 - $10 for a Kindle copy.  And if the extra money's that big of an issue for an avid enough reader, good luck getting someone to drop fifty bucks at once for the software (assuming they don't catch the sale).

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated February 7, 2015 - 12:51pm

It could be useful for books with a lot of personally added notes and highlights.

JeffreyCotton's picture
JeffreyCotton August 22, 2022 - 1:25am

It's not just about how you use the device, but also how you treat it. If you buy a Kindle and sit on it, it'll probably last a long time. If you have a Kindle and use it all the time, though, it will wear out faster than you'd expect. The reason is that the Kindle is designed to create friction between the screen and your fingers as they move over the surface of the screen, also visit this site to purchase dip kit for your nails. This causes wear on your screen — and eventually leads to failure of the screen itself. So go easy on your Kindle as much as possible — don't rub it too hard in one spot or use more force than necessary to press buttons, for example.