I love books! It is almost impossible to have too many books. However, there is a very real boundary and end point to owning lots of books and that is shelf space.
What do you do about books, reference books to be exact, that are rarely used, but take up lots of valuable space on your bookshelves? I was faced with this dilemma and found a solution.
Technological advances are wonderful and my solution wasn’t available all that many years ago. It’s a book scanning service. Yes, there are digital versions available for many books, but certainly not for all. For the books for which I didn’t want to give up access, but which needed to make way for new books, there were no digital versions available.
I used a book scanning service. I had enquired about book scanning at a couple of local stores that offer such services, but they were expensive. One store told me they couldn’t scan a book because of copyright issues. I did wonder about that, but like any good internet user, I looked for information on line. The answer seemed to be that scanning a book for my own personal use was okay.
Another blogger recommended a company in California, which charges very reasonable prices. (I think I paid maybe $10 or $12 for most of the books. ) I phoned them beforehand to ask questions and verify scanning timelines and the actual cost.
The down side, if there is one, is that the binding is cut away from the pages and the pages are then shot through a high speed scanner. The book is not returned, but that wasn’t an issue for me.
The quality of the scanned pages is excellent, the images were emailed to me with two weeks and I have backed up my digital books so if anything happens to the main file, I will still have a copy.
Have I missed not having a hard copy of those books? I haven’t missed even one. I chose well, as they were books I rarely opened. However, I have opened the digital files (literally only 2 or 3 times) to check information in a couple of family histories.
My new digital book collection is doing exactly what it is supposed to do – give me access to the information when I need it and free up a lot of valuable real estate on my book shelves.
I don’t like to plug companies publicly on my blog, but if you are interested in which company I used so you can check it out yourself, leave me a comment with an email contact and I will happily share it with you.