Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Want My Book Saver ASAP, Please

Photo courtesy of Ion Audio
Now, this is a new gadget I can't wait to get my hands on.

According to, a company called Ion Audio plans to get something on the market this summer that will change the e-book marketplace in ways that are likely to push book publishers into panic-mode.  That is exactly what makes me doubt that the "Book Saver" will make it to market as quickly as Ion hopes to have it there.
Ion said the Book Saver is capable of digitizing a 200-page book in 15 minutes. An owner of a Book Saver, which will likely sell for $150, places a book into the scanning cradle and the device makes color copies in seconds, thanks to two cameras hanging above the book.

"Once converted, the books can quickly be transferred to a computer or e-reader," Ion said on its Web site. "Book Saver is the only device needed to quickly make all your books, comics, magazines, or other documents e-reader compatible."
And that, of course, will make it as easy to share electronic books with friends and family as it is today to rip ten copies of the latest CD to trade with friends.

Of course, as the article does point out, ripping a book this way is much more labor intensive than ripping a CD on a home computer:
The scanning process on the device, while not as time consuming as the old way, is still nowhere as easy to use as a CD ripper. According to Engadget, there's no automated way to turn pages and an owner needs to lift the device to turn every page.

Book publishers should know that eventually someone or some company, maybe even Ion, will streamline the process.
I am a notorious "early adopter" and I would happily pay $150 for a device that allows me to turn my entire personal library into a portable one - even a device requiring as much time and patience as this one is likely to require in its initial form.

 I'll be anxiously watching for Book Saver.

 It is completely legal to market this device today, but I do suspect that publishing company lawyers will find a way to slow down its introduction. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, though, that I have new toy some time this summer.


  1. What a great idea! Not being able to pass along a great book is my main complaint about ereaders. This will solve that problem quite easily.
    I look forward to your thoughts on this. If it works, I'll send you some books to digitize foe me... LOL!

  2. I can't wait, Kathy. I've digitized dozens and dozens of my old LPs and that's even more labor intensive than this sounds, so I'm raring to get started.

  3. Like you, I can see legal battles ahead as publishers try to keep it (and, in the future, improved products) from getting on the market, and they'll probably be even fiercer than the ones that happened when when CD rippers took off. Most people still have to rip CDs one at a time - with this, you'll spend a lot of time digitizing the book, but then I can imagine you'll be able to share the file with anyone you want. I didn't see anything in the article about anything inherent in the product that would prevent that.

    As someone who likes print books, I worry a little that if this product becomes popular and is further improved, it will only encourage publishers to move entirely to epub that much more quickly. I have a feeling that, for some publishers, the reaction to a product like this would be to simply quit producing print books.

    However, a thought I do like is that something like this might prompt publishers to improve their e-books. Just like CD rippers don't necessarily give you CDs and songs of as good a quality as you can legally buy, I doubt the e-books produced by this scanner will necessarily be perfect.

    Even if the quality and readability of the scans does turn out to be excellent, publishers can respond by putting out books with value-added features that this scanner may not be able to provide and that the person scanning the book might not be able to easily add to their scanned books themselves. This isn't the end of the world for publishers - it could lead to some interesting changes in the products they put out.

  4. This sounds really cool! I'm sure it won't be long before there will be models with automatic page turners. Imagine having a unit that you can lay your book in, turn it on, walk away, and when you come back the whole thing is perfectly digitized! It would have been nice to have something like that before I decided to sell off my collection of 3000 books a couple years ago! :)

    By the way, I'm about 8 hours into Ron Chernow's, Washington, A Life. I am really enjoying it and learning a lot! I have decided to try to do a biography of each president in order of their time in office. I'm afraid by the time I get to Obama, he'll be almost as ancient history as Washington though! :)

  5. Very interesting points, Library Girl. I can see the day when the "e" in e-book stands more for "enhanced" than for "electronic." It would be wonderful if publishers would include extra material with e-books (videos, articles, photos, interviews, etc.). That would create a special niche for e-books that could be marketed to without necessarily stealing from the physical book market.

    Your point about a book only having to be scanned once and downloaded over and over is a good one, but it's not terribly different for a music CD. The ripped songs can be saved to a hard drive and burned to CD one disc at a time...only a slight bit more trouble and time than doing the same for a book file. I can burn a CD in five or six minutes - a book, I suppose would only take a few seconds. On the scale most people work, a difference of five minutes wouldn't matter all that much. For instance, I have never traded music with more than four or five close friends...with books that would probably be no more than one or two.

  6. Andy, I think you're right...that enhancement is bound to be high on the list of the folks who design these things and get them to market.

    Glad to hear that you're enjoying "Washington." I probably shouldn't say it, but Obama can't be "ancient history" for me soon enough. :-)

  7. Sam, you don't offend me at all with that comment! :) I may find it difficult to want to listen to his biography when I do get to him! :)

  8. Honestly, I thought this was a joke post at first. It really looks like a clear case for copyright infringement to me since it's already against the law to photocopy an entire book without permission.

    You know, all our talk about burning CD's dates us at this point. Most of my students don't use CD's at all for their music. It's all on the computer, their smart phone or their iPod, if they're behind the times.

    In any case, publishing ten years from now will not look like it does today.

  9. It will be interesting, C.B. I know what you mean about the inconsistency in something like this and the accepted use of copy machines. I suspect that a few lawyers are going to get rich, or richer, before this is over.

    As for CDs, you're right. I can't believe how their usage has so gradually almost disappeared. About the only thing I use CDs for these days is the audio books I get from the library. For music, I'm still an iPod user, and it's a black "classic" model, not one of the "touch" ones. it's getting harder and harder to be "cutting edge," isn't it? :-)

  10. I've not heard of this before. The device looks a bit strange but it's capabilities are exciting. I would love to use this to scan some books from my personal library before I go on long trips over to Europe.

  11. I guess I'm just an archiver at heart, Kathleen. I love the idea of owning something like this.