Sunday, May 4, 2014

Creating e-books from printed books without using a scanner

There are times where we cannot find a printed version of a book which we really want to read or refer. E-books or the soft versions of those books is the only solution in such moments. However, not all books available as soft copies in the Internet. Then, how people make e-books with those printed books? The best way would be scanning each page of a book and get a pdf document. But what if we don't have a scanner? Then the low quality option is to take photographs of each page and then create an e-book with those photographs. Obviously, these photograph based e-books are not going to be very convenient like real e-books. Is there any way to create some modest quality e-books from printed books without having a scanner? Yes, there is.

Recently, while navigating here and there on Google Play from my Android device without exacting knowing which app I'm looking for, I encountered something interesting. There is an app called CamScanner for Android. You can take pictures of any document you want and convert the image to a PDF instantly. It provides a very convenient interface to select the border of the document within the picture so that CamScanner app will zoom in, enhance the image and provide a scanned-like PDF document with an excellent quality as compared to just a photograph of the page. In this way, I can photograph all the pages of a book and get a PDF page for each of printed page.

Now we are just almost there. We just have to put all those individual PDF pages together to make a single PDF document. There are so many useful applications available for PC to merge PDF pages to create PDF documents. Since I'm running on Linux, I prefer using PdfMod for this purpose. I have mentioned this tool some time back in an old blogpost when I had to manipulate PDF pages for some other purpose. We can use it to merge those separate PDF pages we took from CamScanner and create a single PDF book. It's kind of cool to make PDF books from the printed books I have and share with those who don't have access to the printed book.

One more little thing. Its not that little as we think. We need to care and respect
about the rights of the authors of the books and printed materials in case we are going to distribute such stuff by creating soft versions of them. It's up to you to think and find out about the copy rights before you try it yourself.

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