Hardcopies Digitised – e-textbooks are Best!

After a wonderful family wedding in Italy, I restarted the scanning work on the 19th of August. With everything I’d learned doing the paperbacks, I was able to work much faster and I completed all 75 hardbacks (some 21,000 pages) in just 10 days.

Of course there were differences: hardbacks are constructed differently – typically with a strip of gauze being glued onto both the spine and the thick cardboard covers. This has to be cut to remove the pages of the book from the hardback covers. Unlike the paperback covers which were mostly small enough to scan both front, spine and back all at once, most of the hardback covers were bigger and the fronts and backs had to be scanned separately. Some of the hardbacks also had dust jackets which also required their fronts and backs scanning separately. To acquire full images of the full front, spine and back of both the covers and the dust jackets, I took photos of each and trimmed them down using the cropping tool in the PDF PRO software that I’m using (I included these images for completeness in case I want to do further electronic manipulations or displays in the future)

For every book, two PDF files were produced: one for the complete book with dust jacket front cover, inside dust jacket front, hard cover front, inside hard cover front, book pages, inside hard cover back, hard cover back, inside dust jacket back, dust jacket back (or similar for paperbacks but without the dust jackets). The other file was for the cover components and included all the items included in the first file but without the book pages and with full images of the complete cover and dust jacket. The cover and dust jacket images were cropped and finalised in the second file before being pulled into the first file to complete the working PDF file of the whole book which was downloaded into Sidebooks on the iPad via Dropbox. The master versions of the two PDF files for each book are stored in a separate folder on my laptop with an offline backup in the cloud.

The hardbacks were books I acquired for University and for Work – i.e. they were for study and reference. Having got them all into electronic form and onto the iPad, I really cannot see why anyone would bother with a hardcopy version of such textbooks. The iPad version is lighter, smaller, more portable, quicker to access, easier to search and far easier to store. I shall make a point to ask my friends in academia and publishing if there is a noticeable trend away from hardcopy textbooks.

Now that the digitisation work has been completed I shall spend a day or two thinking about what further work to do on this particular Journey.

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