2013-10-17
Today I Gave My Books Away

Today I donated 76 books. That equals to 48.5 kilograms of mass (weighted), 380 hours of reading time (~5 hours / book), and 1140 € of spent money (~15€ / book).

Almost half of the books were about technology, and that genre gets outdated really fast. A quarter was throw-away materials, while the remaining quarter were books to hold on to. So did I keep any of them? No.

Nowadays I very much prefer e-books to their physical counterparts. Books in paper form just waste space, and they are pain in the ass to haul along when moving your belongings from one place to another.

Luckily I found electronic correspondence to most of the books that I valued, either by searching plain PDFs from google, or by repurchasing them from Amazon and Google Play.

Stack of Books

In the end, I had a handful of precious books that I wasn’t able to acquire in electronic format anywhere. I just had to transform those rare gems into my electronic bookshelf, so I did the laborious conversion procedure:

  • Remove the book binding
  • Scan the pages using multifunction printer, with the help of a paper feeder
  • Check and sort the resulting images (one image per page)
  • Use Scan Tailor to fix the margins and distortions
  • Convert resulting TIFF-files into PDF-format using ImageMagick’s command mogrify -format pdf *.tif
  • Combine files to a single pdf using PDFtk’s command pdftk *.pdf cat book.pdf

For a book having approximately 300 pages, this took about 1.5 hours. With the average price of an e-book (~10-20 €), you may want to estimate if it’s worth of your time to digitize the book, or just buy it - in case it’s available somewhere.