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Kindle Convert: turn paper books into eBooks (the hard way)

Amazon software turns paper titles into eBooks - with some considerable effort

Amazon has released new PC software that allows users to convert paper books into eBooks formatted for their Kindle. Dubbed Kindle Convert, the software works in conjunction with ordinary flatbed scanners to scan pages and convert them into digital text, although the process promises to be painfully laborious. 

Let’s be clear: this isn’t intended as an easy way to convert bookshelves of John Grisham novels into a Kindle library. Instead, it’s primarily designed to digitally preserve rare prints or books with high sentimental value.  

The software requires the book owner to scan each page in turn, from cover to cover. On thick tomes with sturdy spines, the user will have to ensure that the book is laid as flat as possible on the scanner bed to ensure the curvature of the pages doesn’t make the text unreadable for the optical character recognition (OCR) software that turns printed words into digital text. 

The software will also require help in identifying and marking up any illustrations, handwritten notes or annotations. Once scanned and run through the OCR process, the user may also be required to correct words where the software has misidentified the letters.

All in, we’d estimate it would take several hours of tedious labour to get a 200-page book scanned in and corrected, a level of effort that will put it beyond the boredom threshold of all but the most obsessive bookworm who wants a particular title preserved. 

What’s more, the Windows 7/8 software costs $19 and is currently only available to Amazon customers based in the US, for reasons we can’t quite fathom. 

Maybe just pay Amazon for J K Rowling’s latest, eh? 

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