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How to quickly digitize your books - a complete manual 2008

How to quickly digitize your books - a complete manual 2008

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Published by Magnentius
This manual explains how to turn your book collection into a digitized one, suitable for reading on your PC or e-reader and for distribution to your friends. A 150-page book can easily be transformed with free software in a PDF of about eleven megabytes, without having to use any optical character recognition (OCR)!
This manual explains how to turn your book collection into a digitized one, suitable for reading on your PC or e-reader and for distribution to your friends. A 150-page book can easily be transformed with free software in a PDF of about eleven megabytes, without having to use any optical character recognition (OCR)!

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Published by: Magnentius on Jun 15, 2008
Copyright:Public Domain

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05/24/2012

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How to quickly digitize your books
Copyleft 2008. Version 1.0.Distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html
Table of contents
How to quickly digitize your books..................................................................................................1Introduction................................................................................................................................1Copyrights...................................................................................................................................1 What you need............................................................................................................................2How to digitize: picturing the pages...........................................................................................2How to digitize: converting to PDF.............................................................................................3Using DjVu..................................................................................................................................5How to distribute your digitized books.......................................................................................6
 Introduction
This manual explains how to turn your book collection into a digitized one, suitable for readingon your PC or e-reader and for distribution to your friends. A 150-page book can easily betransformed with free software in a PDF of about eleven megabytes, without have to use any optical character recognition (OCR)!
Copyrights
 You have to consult your local law to be sure, but generally, copyrights expire 70 years after theauthor’s death. This means indeed that the work is no longer copyrighted: contrary to what is1
 
popularly believed, copyrights can’t be ‘renewed’ once they’re expired. So when you digitize works that have been published 70 years after the author’s death, you may freely distribute themto anyone. I can retrieve the author’s year of death by searching for his name or the book title atthe catalog of the Library of Congress (http://catalog.loc.gov ). When a book is still copyrighted, you may be able to distribute the work as well, if you get theauthor’s permission. Never be afraid to ask them. In fact, many may be honored to see peoplestill take interest in their long-out-of-print books. Of course, you probably won’t be permitted todigitize Stephen King’s or Dan Brown’s books, but most books were not bestsellers. Once youreceive written permission, be sure you attach it to the PDF you’ll make of the book, or elsepeople won’t believe it and will remove your digitized books from their websites.Many copyright-expired books can be obtained by lending them at your local library. It isperfectly legal to digitize such books, as long as you don’t damage them of course.
What you need 
 A 
digital camera
with several megapixels. 6 MP works best IMHO. If you have less, you’ll need to manually resize the pictures to make them larger; if you have more, you’llneed to downsize them because the final PDF will be too large.
PDFCreator
(freeware,http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/). You’ll need thisprogram to turn the separate pages into one singe .PDF file.
IrfanView 
(freeware, http://www.irfanview.com/. Be sure you download the program as well as the separate plug-ins.) You’ll need this program to batch process the individualpages and to send them to PDFCreator.
The Gimp
(freeware, http://gimp-win.sourceforge.net/). You’ll need this program to improve image quality. You may use other image munipulation software as well if youknow how to use them.2
 
 How to digitize: picturing the pages
First, you’ll need to convert the pages in your book to a digital format which your computer canhandle. You could use an image scanner, but these machines are slow and wear out relatively fast. It is better therefore to use a digital camera. You’ll need to light the pages in such a way that the light is distributed evenly over thepage. In other words, parts of the page may not be underexposed because the pictures have to beconverted to pure black and white. When a page isn’t lighted properly, parts of the page will turnout black and are therefore not readable. I acknowledge however that this is more easily saidthan done. It is hard to get the pages perfectly flat without having to cut up the book. You couldtry to hold to press the pages down with your hands, but you’ll have to erase your fingers than toavoid annoying black areas on the pages in the PDF. So you’ll probably need to resolve black areas in your digitized pages using image manipulation software like The Gimp. I’ll explain how in a moment.To prevent black areas while you’re taking the pictures, you can best use sunlight. The rays of the sun are parallel to each other, while the rays of a light bulb diverge. When you use artificiallight therefore you should buy professional light sources which have parallel light rays. Youcould ask your local retailer for this, but remember: sunlight is good and free. Do not use the3

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