I’m back to working on my selling public domain on eBay projects… and I’ve been on a tear buying up public domain books to scan myself.
Do you want to know my thought process and the process for scanning books? That’s what I’m sharing today… get ready – it’s a long read. (I’m never at a loss for words *giggle*)
Buying Public Domain Books
Let me just share with you that buying books you can’t hold in your hand can be a “pain in the hind end”. That said… it’s the easiest way to get a pile of books to work with.
So far – I’ve purchased (online) almost 30 books. I have selected a “niche” and have dug up just about every public domain book (I’m still working on finding more) that I can. These are books published “after” 1923 and also books that are not available already scanned on the various archives.
Of these 30(ish) books I have received one with missing pages and one order was cancelled because the seller couldn’t find the book. Both of these were ordered from Amazon. GRRRR
I order most of my books from Abebooks.com – but find them cheaper (every so often) on Amazon. If the statistics show after I receive all these books that AbeBooks.com does a better job of handling my orders and sending books that aren’t damaged – I’ll just stick with them. Hard for me to say, I do love my Amazon – but if Amazon sellers are going to be silly… well… I’m just saying.
My thoughts about buying books to scan myself:
While I appreciate all the books that are available to freely download… these books are also available for “everyone” to download. Not necessarily a bad thing… but I started to think about what “I” know how to do that many others “don’t know” (or won’t make the effort) .
I’ve talked about the “Golden 40“. This means that I can re-publish public domain books published between 1923 and 1963. Of course you need to know how to find those books… which I teach in detail in my Public Domain Treasure Hunter’s KIT.
I have found a great niche that is really (I mean hysterical) popular right now! And buyers want more – more – more “how-to, history and inspiration” for this niche.
Not many of the “pre 1923″ books are of much use for this niche. Some are… I’ve found all the books that I feel are relevant and created my first eBay product with these. But I want to sell more to these customers… and now I will have about 25 or 30 more products to sell to this “Exact Niche”. Pretty cool huh?
It Get’s Better!
All of these “post – 1923″ books are NOT available on Amazon. Not in Kindle format or physical book format. I will not have any competition!
Well… I could have competition in some ways if some other “smart” seller get’s wind of this idea and does the same thing… so I’m going to add “value” to my books before I offer them on Amazon (and offer bonus material for my eBay buyers).
It took me the better part of one day to find this group of books… not a bad way to spend a day.
Now that I have 3 of these books already in my hot little hands… I need to create the products.
Scanning Public Domain Books Yourself
This has been one of those “problems” for most of us. We can go several routes to have books scanned for us… bookscanning.com is the one I recommend. Timo is a doll and he has scanned many books for me and they are “perfect”. BUT… it does get expensive.
You can use a “cheap” flat bed scanner and this will work… oh my you need patience or you will need to hire one of your kids to do it for you. Tedious and Boring!!!
So… I was talking to Beth Sawickie the other day and she mentioned that she uses a ScanSnap… What???
She said this little scanner is what keeps her “in business”… because it’s so fast and it works just about perfectly (no tool is ever 100% perfect all the time).
I mentioned ScanSnap to my hubby and he knew exactly what Beth was talking about. Some of his customers use it every day for “quickly” scanning and storing (on your computer) all kinds of documents.
I got back in touch with Beth and she explained to me exactly how she used her ScanSnap and why it’s sooo much better than a flat bed scanner.
I went to Amazon and purchased one right away. (Hey – it’s Amazon and I could return it if it didn’t do what I needed).
This little scanner (folds up to sit on your desk and doesn’t take up much more room than a loaf of bread). When you “unfold” it so the hopper is ready to take documents… it’s auto-magically “ON” (no waiting for things to “heat up”).
Once I had everything “set-up” (about 10 minutes) I put in a few sheets of random paper and zip – zip – zip they were scanned.
Not just scanned – But scanned on both sides – OCR’d with the latest technology and created into a PDF!
O. M. G!
Last night I scanned the first book with this new ScanSnap scanner. This is a 228 page book!
The Scanning Process
1. You will need to remove the pages from the book. This took a little effort and a sharp blade. (I used one of those safety box cutters)
2. Once all the pages are removed – you will be left with some old glue-ey bits and strings (and a few raggedy edges). These are not going to go through the scanner well… so I cut off the edges with a Straight Edge Paper Trimmer I already had.
So far I’ve spent 1 hour of time to cut and cut.
Next it was time to scan… ScanSnap has a bunch of different settings – so I scanned about 20 pages of this book several times (striving for the best possible scan).
The first time I scanned at a pretty low resolution… so the scanning was still zip – zip – zip.
When I bumped up the resolution – the scanning slows a bit to ziiiiip ….. ziiiiippppp ….. zipppp…. (Still… I finally scanned this 228 page book in less than 20 minutes!)
Beth told me to only scan about 15 pages at a time… and they are all saved ready for you to add the next set of 15 pages… until you are done with the entire book. It then created 1 PDF document. *grin*
I was also scanning using the “color” settings… as this is a b/w book I change to B/W scanning. So simple but it really helped get a nice clear “dark” scan of every page and every image.
When you use a higher resolution – the customer can bump up the viewing size and really see the detail of each image… very important in this niche.
I tested several options and also had a few mishaps.
- I mixed up the pages so they scanned out of order,
- I had the pages upside down and backwards,
- I had a paper jam that was really easy to clear.
Finally – I have scanned the entire book and it’s 98% perfect. I will need to “fix” up a few pages but all-in-all – A Very Easy Process. Now that I have the settings down pat – it’s just a matter of getting each book scanned and ready for sale.
In reality – now that I have the process down – it will take less than 2 hours to have a book “done”. I love systems!
My Goals For June 1012
4 products for sale on eBay!
This means I not only need to have 4 products finished and loaded into my Kunaki account – I also need to set up my pages on eBay (using Auctiva or InkFrog) and get everything set up to ship auto-pilot with Auction Acrobat.
Setting up a business model like this takes – Time and Effort (and some cash outlay). If it works… I’ll be doing the “happy dance”.