Or rather how to digitize it if you don’t have time to turn the
pages by hand.
Cut the binding off with a tablesaw and scan it with a scanner
that has a sheetfeeder.
Assemble the scans into a pdf file using Adobe Acrobat.
I use “Steal This Book” by Abbie Hoffman as an example.
This book is somewhat hard to find in libraries, possibly because
of its title. It consists of about 80,000 words on the subject of
how to get by without consuming much and cause trouble for
authority figures. At the time it was written the U.S. was
conducting some upopular wars and many young people concluded
that the whole “system” was evil. The tone and content of the
book reflects this.
Abbie is no longer with us but I’ve asked a couple of his kids
what they thought of my scanning this book this way. Both said
they didn’t think their dad would mind. If you are the publisher
and you object, let me know and I’ll scan one printed by someone
Saw Off the Binding
Use proper tablesaw precautions so you don’t get hurt.
If you want an extra clean cut use a new thin-kerf blade and
clamp the book between two boards. Then you could use a push
stick and it won’t look like your hands are going into the saw as
in this view.
I like to scan text and line art as 400dpi bitmaps. The scanners
I’ve used did a better job that way than scanning greyscale and
thresholding to bitmap later.
I’ve found that tiff is the best format for scans destined for
pdf. Compressed or uncompressed doesn’t usually matter. The files
can be large, but Acrobat digests them well and the resulting pdf
file is small.
DO NOT USE .JPG FORMAT!!! JPG uses “lossy” compression that fills
your files with crap that can’t be compressed. Use a real format
like tif or gif or bmp from the good old days that isn’t too
smart for its own good.
New multifunction print/scan/fax machines often have a “scan to
pdf” feature which might or might not do what you want. Most
likely it’ll use jpg format to slowly make large ugly files and
You’ll need to feed your book to the scanner twice, once for odd
numbered page sides and once for the even sides. Do each pass
into a separate directory. Then use a utility such as Thumbsplus
to rename the scans so that when you put them into the same
directory they’ll be in the proper order. Then use Adobe Acrobat
(the full version, not “reader”) to assemble your files into a