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Author Topic: Book scanning! Support open culture and get a PDF/djvu of a book you want!  (Read 5625 times)
lucky
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August 11, 2011, 08:44:04 PM
 #1

The following is mostly a feeler to see if there's any interest for this:

Are you an avid ebook reader, or frustrated that some textbook you need isn't available on the torrent sites / edonkey network?

I will scan any public circulation book in the Toronto Public Library system for 0.01 BTC per 10 pages.  One thousand pages = 1 BTC.

Toronto has the largest public library system in North America and the second largest in the world.  Almost any book is available!

Catalogue: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/advanced-search.jsp  ("Circulating materials only")

The following conditions apply:

* The format will be PDF and/or DjVu, with an OCR layer.  It may not be suitable for all ebook readers, but it will generally be very crisp on-screen
* I will also release the book on P2P networks at no cost for general availability.  Help liberate our culture!
* Payment will be up front.
* Please allow anywhere from one day to about two weeks if the book is not currently on hold at the TPL, otherwise be aware that I can't scan the book until I can get my hands on it, so it may take quite some time if the book is on hold.
* Some materials may not physically fit in my digitization setup, I'll let you know if so (and provide a refund if you've already paid).

Discounts may be available for academic works.

Also offered -- Scan tidying!

Do you have a book scan in PDF format that is legible but ugly?  I will flip, deskew, crop and tidy up your scan to meet a uniform black-on-white format for half the price of my book scanning service (0.005 BTC per 10 pages).  I can't work miracles -- the full text must be visible and not terribly distorted.

Examples of my work in this area:  Original input http://i.imgur.com/flr7u.jpg -> http://i.imgur.com/xMTqX.jpg + http://i.imgur.com/aboMH.jpg

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
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Chris Acheson
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August 12, 2011, 02:21:48 AM
 #2

This sounds really cool.  What's the biggest book you'd be able to handle?  How good is the OCR?  Would you be able to produce text-format ebooks (epub, mobi, etc)?
lucky
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August 12, 2011, 07:14:26 PM
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This sounds really cool.  What's the biggest book you'd be able to handle?  How good is the OCR?  Would you be able to produce text-format ebooks (epub, mobi, etc)?

The OCR is generally very good but the formatting isn't always the tidiest, which is why I'm hesitant to offer text-format books.

E.g.:

Code:
"Matched FETs can be used to construct
high-input-impedance front-end stages for
bipolar differential amplifiers, as well as
the important op-amps and comparators
we’ll meet in the next chapter. As we men-
tioned earlier, the substantial VG5 offsets
of FETs will generally result in larger input
voltage offsets and offset drifts than with a
comparable amplifier constructed entirely
with bipolar transistors, but of course the
input impedance will be raised enormously.
In general, FETs have characteristics that
make them useful substitutes for bipolar
transistors in almost any circuit that can
benefit from their uniquely high input im-
pedance and low bias current. A particular
instance is their use in high-stability LC
and crystal oscillators; we’ll show examples
in Sections 5.18, 5.19, and 13.1."

-- Art of Electronics, page 150.

Proofreading is quite labour-intensive so if you wanted a fully OCR'd book in a text format while I could offer that it'd probably take considerably more time.
Chris Acheson
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August 12, 2011, 08:59:51 PM
 #4

Proofreading is quite labour-intensive so if you wanted a fully OCR'd book in a text format while I could offer that it'd probably take considerably more time.

Ah, gotcha.  Well, I guess I haven't really had trouble finding novels to read on my kindle.  I'll keep this in mind next time there's something that I want a PDF of but can't find.
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August 13, 2011, 04:25:49 AM
 #5

Keeping a tabs here just in case.

indio007
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August 13, 2011, 04:55:06 AM
 #6

What's the turn around time on a book?
I'm thinking of this one...
http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM1128167&R=1128167
Vitalik Buterin
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August 15, 2011, 04:17:39 PM
 #7

This idea seems like it has a lot of potential. Maybe we need a specialized Silk Road for this?

Argumentum ad lunam: the fallacy that because Bitcoin's price is rising really fast the currency must be a speculative bubble and/or Ponzi scheme.
btcbook
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November 28, 2014, 04:26:44 PM
 #8

Well, this is very similar to the idea I had in mind for quite a while; I was wondering why I could find nothing on it on the net, until, well, now.. (hence the reason I registered here!)

Your proposal --which is great-- is eventually a little bit different from what I had in mind though. I am thinking of a website where people from around the world will scan library books for one another. Worldcat.org has a great system displaying whether a book is available in a library near to you... Thus, e.g., for an American seeking a German book, someone from Germany can scan it for some btc, and vice versa...

There may seem to be a bit of a legal problem here. But, maybe due to lack of knowledge, I am not aware as to how exactly that could become a "real problem", if further conditions are specified:

          Thus, the service can/ should be restricted only to research books (especially out of print ones maybe) that are not at all written to be sold in a large quantity but rather for a small circle of researchers. (Generally, their prices (ridiculously high --since sold mainly to libraries-- reflect this.) No "bestsellers"!

          The one to receive the book is not to share it further online --or if they do that, the legal responsibility lies solely on their part. The person who scanned the book for the receiver has practically done nothing else than doing a favor to a distant friend. And a lot of libraries in Europe/ US and many in the non-Western countries allow their members to scan books.

          This would not include e-books, thus no question of reproducing copyrighted content in the same form.

I think a website can be set up to implement these conditions and a viable exchange between those who offer the service and the receivers. (maybe like a forum). Thus, the person in need of a book sends a post specifying the book and the amount they are willing to pay or it in btc, and waits for a reply. Another person accepts the offer, scans the book, and finally the btc is transferred by the site to the "scanner." (I probably ended up repeating here what all btc markets do; sorry, I have never used them).

(or maybe one can do it in such a way that one or two --but not more-- "receivers" can join in if they share the price for the scanning service)

This can be incredibly useful for university students, academicians, and researchers in need of hard-to-access texts.

Maybe in the meantime one can use this place?

-----------

(I am far from being the person who can implement such a website, by the way, due to the lack of necessary skills. It's just an idea which I find very appealing and hope that someone can actually do that)






forevernoob
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December 02, 2014, 08:36:27 PM
 #9

I've also thought about this. I hate when I can't find a rare book in PDF.
Buying a book from USA and ship it to Europe is expensive and feels unnecessary.

Problem is I didn't think it would be so time consuming to scan books. With current pricing the book I want would cost 0.202BTC or 77USD to scan. (202 pages)
http://www.amazon.com/Memphis-Nam-Sweden-Story-Deserter-Terry-Whitmore/dp/0878059849/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417552061&sr=8-1&keywords=memphis+nam+sweden

It wasn't even available in your library anyways, so no big deal.



btcbook
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December 05, 2014, 08:28:59 AM
 #10

Maybe it was so back in 2011. I don't know whether lucky's pricing has remained the same, but certainly "scanning" can has become much more quicker, thanks to the developments in handheld scanners/ scanning software built for tablets and definitely with DIY scanners (although this last one would apply to fewer people). With these, one can get a rough scan (i.e. not pretty looking, but there are software to improve rough scans substantially --the "receiver" can process the file with such software) of a circa 200 pages book in about half an hour, and certainly in less than one hour...
forevernoob
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December 05, 2014, 04:37:58 PM
 #11

Maybe it was so back in 2011. I don't know whether lucky's pricing has remained the same, but certainly "scanning" can has become much more quicker, thanks to the developments in handheld scanners/ scanning software built for tablets and definitely with DIY scanners (although this last one would apply to fewer people). With these, one can get a rough scan (i.e. not pretty looking, but there are software to improve rough scans substantially --the "receiver" can process the file with such software) of a circa 200 pages book in about half an hour, and certainly in less than one hour...

So what would your pricing for a 200 page book be?

btcbook
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December 05, 2014, 05:48:03 PM
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I was thinking of myself as rather on the "receiver end" than the scanner one, but I think something around $10 or $15 should be fine for the rough scan of a "library book" (i.e. one that is not easily accessible otherwise). Yet, for this to really work, we would probably need something like a vibrant community (where maybe two people would request the same book once in a while and the scanner herself can get more btc this way, and where folks from various countries would exchange requests/ offers continuously).

 
b!z
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December 07, 2014, 06:30:11 AM
 #13

Is this legal?
btcbook
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December 07, 2014, 09:54:11 AM
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Is this legal?

As I tried to mention above, probably it's not, in the strict sense: probably we would get a 'no' reply were we to ask the "copyright police" Smiley I am not sure even at this point though --since many libraries allow for scanning.

Regardless of whatever the correct answer would be to that question as such tough (someone else could clarify maybe), I don't see how this can even remotely become a legal issue practically.

Basically, one will end up doing nothing much different than asking a "virtual friend" to scan library material for her while covering the costs. The scanned documents will not be shared online (at least not immediately after the receiver gets the file. There should preferably be a lag long enough so that the sole responsibility for online sharing would fall on the receiver) but sent only to one or two people who requested them.

And secondly, that is why I thought this service should be mainly restricted to "research materials", "hard to access" library books, really expensive works by experts written for experts/ advanced students in the field etc: There is not a "mass consumer" market for such material anyway. And minor specialist groups already share research material among themselves.
forevernoob
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December 07, 2014, 02:18:36 PM
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Is this legal?

Depends on jurisdiction.
But I think it's legal to scan books but not sharing the scans in most countries.
It's like CD's and DVD's, private copying is allowed for backup purposes.

But I don't give a shit about copyrights, like the OP says it's about sharing culture.
When in digital form it's easier to share and archive the books.

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December 07, 2014, 09:33:48 PM
 #16

Nowhere in the world as far I know copy editions that have no recent editions is illegal.

And by the price, I guess would be cheaper just buy the book instead of buy the scammed copy
btcbook
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December 08, 2014, 08:17:09 AM
 #17

Thanks for the clarifications forvernoob and jaberwock.



And by the price, I guess would be cheaper just buy the book instead of buy the scammed copy

I think it can be much cheaper to get the scanned version, depending on the book and especially if two or three people request the same one.

Among the out-of-print or "library" books that instantly come to my mind, for instance, one is sold for 200 Euros, another for circa $400, and the "cheapest" one for 50 Euros!..

Not to talk about the series of edited collections (mostly 4 volumes each) sold for $2000! (Nobody that I know would buy them in person, of course; they are sold to libraries).
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December 08, 2014, 12:42:58 PM
 #18

A novel with 400 pages is around $10-$12 in the Kindle store so if you are going to charge that amount per 10 pages it must be some really rare book in the first time.

arronlee
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March 07, 2016, 06:08:10 AM
 #19

Hi, btcbook.
Thanks for your nice sharing.When it comes to pdf processing, I have another question to ask you. I wonder whether
text extraction from pdf files is much simpler than pdf to text conversion process. Thre's something wrong with my pdf viewer. I want to look for a method to help with the relevant process. It will be better if it also offers free trial package for users to check.If so, I will try it later and send you feedback soon. Any suggestion will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.     



Best regards,
Lee
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