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I want to cut my books to pieces!

RBachRBach Registered User regular
edited April 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Let me start with a little background information. My college has a service for students with various disabilities where we'll basically take their textbooks, cut the pages out of their binding, run them through a document scanner, and then finally convert the resulting image files to various formats (MS Word, PDF, Kurzweil, etc). I'll be graduating soon and I've been spoiled by being able to actually, you know, read books rather than squint at the pages for a while until I give myself a headache from eye strain. Thus, I've decided to explore what it'd take to duplicate this service for myself. A suitable scanner and OCR software are easy enough to come by, but getting the physical pages separated so the scanner can handle them is something I have no clue about--that part of the job gets outsourced to the printing services department of the university so I've never been able to see what exactly they do. I will try to find out from them directly but in the meantime I'm hoping someone here might have a (possibly cheaper?) method than whatever they'd use. I'd think something like this scaled up a fair bit to handle several hundred page books might work reasonably well, but there's probably something I'm overlooking.

Before anyone mentions it, something like a Kindle, Audible.com, or BookShare.org would almost certainly be easier (and generally cheaper), but none of these options have complete selections and each has its own flaws in addition to that.

tl:dr I wish to remove book pages from their binding to feed through a document scanner. What is the best, cleanest, cheapest way to do this? I want to be able to handle everything from paperbacks to large textbooks. I do not care much about preserving the books any longer than it takes to run them through the scanner although I'm certainly open to suggestions for what to do with them after the fact. For example, I've seen guides to rebinding books by hand but I haven't actually read any of them.

RBach on
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Posts

  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    If you're going to do this yourself it will mean destroying the books. And yeah you'll be using one of those 20-page paper cutters unless you're using something professional and expensive.

    You can do it - just take apart the bindings if this can be done, or cut the bindings apart with a pocketknife. Then use the paper cutter to square things off and feed the sheets into a scanner (you are going to want one that can feed pages - most new big office photocopiers can do this). Personally it sounds like a pain in the ass to me.

    Do you have a disability? Maybe you just need reading glasses/better lighting to deal with eye strain?

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  • Liquid HellzLiquid Hellz Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    You could trying taking off the cover and dipping the binding in some sort of glue stripping solution as most of the bindings are glued together. This may lead to an easy way to take the pages apart.

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  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    If you have access to a bandsaw and someone who knows how to operate a bandsaw, that can get the pages out of the binding pretty good.

  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Six pack on a dick Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    KalTorak wrote: »
    If you have access to a bandsaw and someone who knows how to operate a bandsaw, that can get the pages out of the binding pretty good.
    Yep, a fine-toothed blade on a bandsaw is usually how it's done.

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  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I used to work IT at a institute for Blind and Partially Sighted where we had an operation like that. Books was cut using something similar to what tsmvengy linked to - maybe you can find something like that on craiglist or eBay.

    Also if you're not gonna do it the thing to a ton of books every day a heavy duty knife should do the job - just don't cut yourself.


    For anyone interested. At the place I worked the cut books was scanned, put through OCR plus some manual handling to take care of any scanning errors and stuff. Then they was converted to DAISY format and either speech synthesis or real human speach was added. Also with book containing maps, graphs, formulas or similar a sculptor would make a relief to "show" the illustrations.

    My part was mainly running the IT systems and doing some development on production tools. Not a get-rich job but for sure one where the work done made a difference basically enabling the customers to get an education. Some productions was made for just one person and cost never really an issue - all covered by funds and government money!


    (A job bonus was that scanned books would be refitted with a new binding and passed on to anyone interested. Not pretty but works just fine and there are of course tools for that if needed).

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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    KalTorak wrote: »
    If you have access to a bandsaw and someone who knows how to operate a bandsaw, that can get the pages out of the binding pretty good.
    Yep, a fine-toothed blade on a bandsaw is usually how it's done.
    If your vision is so bad that you can't read books with regular-size print, maybe using a bandsaw yourself isn't the best plan.

  • AiouaAioua Novus Ordo Seclorum Lord of the ForumRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Any good print shop should have a paper cutter that could slice though 2 or 3 hundred pages easy. A kinko's might not, but a larger place should. My mom's old work use to have one, it looked like this:
    cutter.jpg
    (But obviously wasn't all old timey.) She once left her keys under part of the blade while she was cutting. Sliced right through 'em and she didn't feel a thing. Yeah I think that could get through a book binding no problem.

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  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    KalTorak wrote: »
    If you have access to a bandsaw and someone who knows how to operate a bandsaw, that can get the pages out of the binding pretty good.
    Yep, a fine-toothed blade on a bandsaw is usually how it's done.
    If your vision is so bad that you can't read books with regular-size print, maybe using a bandsaw yourself isn't the best plan.

    That's why I said he should get someone else.

  • AtomBombAtomBomb Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Fourthing?!?! or whatever the bandsaw. You can even do it with a circular saw if you screw a couple of wooden boards to each side (screw the boards to each other, not through the book). If it comes out rough you can sand it before you unscrew the boards.

    Also, if your eyesight blows be careful. You might need those fingers to read later.

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  • RBachRBach Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Thanks for the responses, everyone.
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    Do you have a disability? Maybe you just need reading glasses/better lighting to deal with eye strain?

    Yes, and already done. I didn't mention it because it's not really relevant. I can see well enough to read most normal print, but books and other long term reading have grown increasingly troublesome and I see no reason to put up with it if I can do something about it. Yeah, it'll be a pain and relatively expensive but I also think it'll be worth it.
    You could trying taking off the cover and dipping the binding in some sort of glue stripping solution as most of the bindings are glued together. This may lead to an easy way to take the pages apart.

    Interesting idea, but I imagine some cutting will still be necessary. It probably wouldn't cost much to try once and find out though...
    KalTorak wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    KalTorak wrote: »
    If you have access to a bandsaw and someone who knows how to operate a bandsaw, that can get the pages out of the binding pretty good.
    Yep, a fine-toothed blade on a bandsaw is usually how it's done.
    If your vision is so bad that you can't read books with regular-size print, maybe using a bandsaw yourself isn't the best plan.

    That's why I said he should get someone else.

    Psh, what could possibly go wrong? :winky:
    Joking aside, while I do have access to probably several band saws getting other people involved somewhat defeats the purpose. I might give it a shot anyway, though. Half the fun will be experimenting with different things to see what works best.
    Aioua wrote: »
    Any good print shop should have a paper cutter that could slice though 2 or 3 hundred pages easy. A kinko's might not, but a larger place should. My mom's old work use to have one, it looked like this:
    http://www.unisonpress.com/images/cutter.jpg
    (But obviously wasn't all old timey.) She once left her keys under part of the blade while she was cutting. Sliced right through 'em and she didn't feel a thing. Yeah I think that could get through a book binding no problem.

    I'd bet something like that is exactly what the print shop here uses, actually. I could probably find a place to do a similar task, but then again I could probably have the print shop do it directly (assuming I stay in the area), but I'm most interested in doing everything 100% myself.

    BlindZenDriver: That's pretty much exactly what we do here, actually. The only part of the process I haven't had a hand in at some point has been the actual book cutting. I'm lucky enough to have been on both sides of the process I suppose. :)

    It looks like I've got some experimentation to do. It'll probably be a while before I actually get around to this little project, but I'll certainly keep this all in mind when I do. Thanks again, everyone (and any more suggestions are welcome of course).

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  • Moses555Moses555 Registered User
    edited April 2009
    Kinko's charges $2 per cut. I imagine they could handle this job.

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  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I wonder if perhaps the books you need are already scanned and all. If it's books published in the last couple of years they may even have been made available in PDF by the publisher.

    If you were living in Denmark I would tell you contact IBOS and maybe get registrered as a user but I'm not sure how it goes beyond our borders.

    DAISY article on wiki

    Maybe you can use the above link as a starting point to find some sort of library that could save you a ton of work. (Note DAISY is about more than "talking books" it's also a standard for electronic books build for easy navigation)

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