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Solved: how to turn a physical book into an ebook


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StillAlive's Avatar
StillAlive StillAlive is offline
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05-Nov-2008, 10:42 AM #1
Solved: how to turn a physical book into an ebook
I've looked all over google for the answer..but still can not find anything.

I need to turn several physical books into a digital format, be it PDF..Word...HTML..anything works.

does anyone have any idea how to accomplish this..or where I should start?
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05-Nov-2008, 10:59 AM #2
Constant Quandry's Avatar
Constant Quandry Constant Quandry is offline
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06-Nov-2008, 01:45 PM #3
The 'explorewriting' website previously referenced looks interesting, but my question would be, 'Are the physical books printed or are they in a digital format?'

My impression is that the website gives information on publishing digital books, but this question relates to physical, books-in-print. For printed books, the solutions are somewhat limited and can be time consuming, sometimes frustrating and even expensive.

If the book is fairly new or recent, and commercially available, it's possible that the publisher has released it as an e-book already, either in digital print format or even as an audio book. Older books, or more obscure writings, would require the efforts mentioned above.

A variety of scanners, available at most computer and consumer electronics stores, is the first step. The scanner is like a photocopier, except it doesn't produce a printed copy, only a computer file. The books have to be scanned, page by page, and stored to your computer. These pages will be saved in a graphic format (jpg, tif, pdf, etc.) If your goal is to just make them available for reading on-screen, that could be the end of the project. Slow and tedious, but satisfying in its accomplishment.

If you want to be able to modify or edit the text, these graphic files must be processed through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. Most scanners come with a form of OCR, some good, some not so good. Each page must be processed (although some softwares allow you to do them in 'batches' to speed up the process) and then they should be visually proofed for accuracy. The OCR software compares everything in the graphic file to a set of predefined characters and generates a text file, based on a 'best match' system. 'Everything' in this case includes pictures, page numbers and random pencil marks in the margins. Sometimes your output file will contain paragraphs of what appears to be foreign languages.

Once you've scanned and processed your books through OCR, you can edit the text in your favorite word processor or page layout program.

An alternative is to have the book(s) scanned commercially. Kinkos, Office Depot/Max and other similar stores will do the scanning to a CD or DVD in the graphic format (usually PDF) and a few of them can do the OCR. Both processes are expensive commercially.

PS - This is my second post to this forum and I note that I tend to go on a bit. I promise I'll work on making shorter posts in the future.
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06-Nov-2008, 01:52 PM #4
my first question is do you have the authorization to reprint this book into digital format? Most books are copywritten to avoid that, and it's spelled out rather clearly on the copyright page...

just curious.....

thanks,

v
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Constant Quandry Constant Quandry is offline
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06-Nov-2008, 02:10 PM #5
Good question, V. I, being old and innocent, assumed that the books were being digitized for archival purposes and/or something that met 'fair uses' criteria. Hope I haven't caused an otherwise law-abiding netizen to go off down the path of wrong-doing.
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06-Nov-2008, 02:16 PM #6
Thanks for the replies you the last few posts really pointed some stuff out I didnt think about..Kinkos and the legality of the matter. I'll have my client's look into the legality part.

They probably will want to do it themselves instead of having us do it. so I will mention services like Kinkos to them. doubt they'll have any problem with prices

Either way, Thank you very much!

oh..by the way..Constant Quandry...personally, I like long posts like that because they really get down and explain everything in detail..making sure the person that reads it really understands what needs to be done..
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Constant Quandry Constant Quandry is offline
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06-Nov-2008, 02:23 PM #7
You're most welcome and thanks for the encouragement.

I promise to try to keep my posts short - I'm not always good at things I try.
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06-Nov-2008, 05:01 PM #8
I think it's best to close this now. You need to look into the copyright issue and obtain permission if necessary to do what you're trying to do here. Beyond that, there's nothing more we can do.
valis's Avatar
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06-Nov-2008, 07:04 PM #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constant Quandry View Post
This is my second post to this forum and I note that I tend to go on a bit. I promise I'll work on making shorter posts in the future.
be wary of civilised debate; there is very little civilised about it, but generally erudites such as yourself have a blast.

at least I do. Just follow the warning on the door; those with thin skin need not apply.


thanks for understanding, StillAlive.....it's a very, very gray area and we do our best to help on all subjects, but when copyright laws are anywhere in site, we generally do our best to avoid them.

thanks,

v
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