Why Digitize Your Books?

Minimalism? Probably…

The point of this exercise was to remove the bulk and clutter caused by years of book and textbook collecting. After a few moves, I felt that the cost of having the bulk and clutter of many books in my life — some read, others not yet read — was too much to bear. I heard a tip that said if you have an item that you think may have some sentimental value, often possessing some good photographs of the item is almost as good as having the item itself. So the tip was: take a nice pic or two of that kindergarten finger painting (for example) and then feel free to dispose of the original item, keeping only the pics. The idea of scanning a book into digital format flows directly from that tip.

Digital Minimalism? Probably not…

One could argue that digitizing books is substituting real-world physical clutter with cloud-world digital clutter.

That may be true. But I don’t care.

Using digital tools (e.g. computer filing systems, digital book library database like Calibre, etc.) I can sort, organize, and — this is the important part — FIND my digital stuff much more easily than any real-world book.

Library To Go!

I used to travel with a book to read. I now travel with my entire library. And the next time I move homes, I will be hundreds of kilos lighter than my last move. And that, dear reader, is a priceless feeling.


Win This Scanner! CZUR SHINE ULTRA

This is it! The SHINE ULTRA GIVEAWAY! If you’ve watched my last three videos, you know that after a long, sad, quarantine wait, I received the CZUR SHINE ULTRA scanner. I made an UNBOXING video, an initial SETUP video, a video diving into improving the ambient lighting, and a video looking at the photo quality.

The scanner is OK, but I think I won’t be using it much. It will probably sit on the shelf, underutilized. Which is shame.

Coincidentally, I have now surpassed 1000 subscribers here on YouTube. Which blows me away! I honestly was surprised when I got my first subscriber. I didn’t make this channel with the hope of getting a bunch of subscribers. I just wanted to document the process that I figured out when I digitized a bunch of books and other stuff that I really needed to de-clutter out of my life, but still wanted to keep available, digitally.

That got me thinking: I have a tech product that is just going to gather dust on the shelf (…pause…) and I have over 1000 subscribers and would like to celebrate that milestone.

HEY! Let’s give the scanner to one of you, my subscribers.

Can I do that? Sure! Why not?

This is a random giveaway, but there are some qualifications.

(1) Channel Subscribers Only

You must be subscribe to this channel, Digitize Your Books. It’s not too late. Just go and click that subscribe button on the channel, right now.

If you are already a subscriber, you’re done step one.

If you are a new subscriber, Hi! Welcome to my channel. My name is Peter, and I’ve been know to cut up books… but, in a good way.

(2) Donate US$10 to the Modest Needs Charity

You must make a charitable donation, of at least US$10, to the Modest Needs charity. Let’s make this giveaway a chance to help those in need. The Modest Needs charity is USA tax-exempt charity that helps low-income workers who are at risk of slipping into poverty and for whom no other source of immediate help is available. It really is doing a great job of being the safety net that the world’s largest economy and self-described greatest country in the world should already have for their less fortunate citizens.

Also, the date on the donation receipt must be on or after November 17, 2020 — donations you previously made to Modest Needs last year don’t qualify.

(3) You Must Reside in Continental USA or Canada

You must be a resident of either continental USA or CANADA. This is because shipping costs to the rest of world too are too damn high. This frustrates me, because my analytics tell me that over 10% of my viewers are in India, and India is the second largest cohort of viewers, after USA (which is about 38%). I appreciate all you viewers in India and around the globe, but I checked and the cost of shipping this product is already very high within North America. It’s just prohibitively expensive everywhere else. I will be paying shipping costs out of my own pocket, and I do not make any money on YouTube.

By the way, shipping will be via Canada Post.

Important: if you are the randomly selected winner and you are located in continental USA, you accept to pay any taxes or duties that may be levied on this product, as it will be coming to you from Canada.

(4) Forward Your Proof of Donation & YouTube Name To Me before 11:59PM December 10, 2020

OK. So, how, exactly, do you enter my giveaway? After you’ve subscribed to my channel, and after you have donated at least US$10 to Modest Needs: take your email receipt from Modest Needs, and forward it to me ( including both your YouTube name, and also your country of residence (which, again, must be continental USA or Canada). Please do NOT include your full shipping address! I will contact the winner, via email, to get those details.

Send your proof of donation to: before the cutoff — 11:59PM (EST) December 10, 2020.

How am I going to select the winner?

I am going to make the random draw on a live stream on Saturday December 13 at 12:00 Noon, Eastern Standard Time (9am Pacific, 10 Central). I will take all of the valid entries and consecutively number them as they arrive. Then, on DECEMBER 13, in a live stream, I will use the website RANDOM.ORG to choose the winner, by asking it to give me a random number between one and the total number of valid entries received.

Must You Watch the Live Stream to Win?

No. You do NOT need to be watching the live stream to win. I am doing a live stream only for purposes of transparency, so all can see there is no monkey business. After the live stream, I will contact the winner, via email, to get their complete shipping address. If, for some reason, that winner cannot be contacted, or provides a shipping address that is not within continental USA or Canada, I will use the next random number provided by RANDOM.ORG.

Let’s Go!

That’s it! Make your donation to right now, and forward your donation receipt email to me, along with your YouTube name, at Be sure to enter before midnight, December 10.

I’ll see you on Saturday, December 13, at Noon Eastern Standard time!


No Knife, No Cutting Remove Book Cover and Binding – HOW TO [video]

Here I present an alternate way to remove the cover and binding instead of using a box-cutter knife. A hair-dryer heats the binding glue up to the point it gets soft and can be pulled apart. I expect this method will work with most (if not all) paperback books, and even many hardcover books (as long as not bound using sewn signatures).

It might be possible to re-bind this book, after it has been digitized via a sheet-feed scanner, HOWEVER, I know nothing about book rebinding, so you will have to verify this on your own.

Before you comment “OMG you are destroying books”, please consider: this is, in fact a TRANSFORMTION. I am freeing information from the ancient and vulnerable wood-pulp format; preserving it; backing it up to multiple locations so that it is no longer vulnerable to fire, flood, and theft; and making it far more available to me than the ancient wood-pulp format.

However, DO NOT destroy your wood-pulp book if that book has sentimental and/or fiscal value — obviously.

HOW TO use a hair dryer to remove a book’s binding

How To Remove a Book’s Binding [video]

Prepare your book for *FAST* scanning! Scan and digitize your books and your entire library.

In this video I demonstrate an easy way to remove the binding from a book so that it can be *QUICKLY* fed through an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF). This will save much time during the scanning process. No special tools are required, only a sharp knife (i.e. box cutter), a straight-edge, scissors, and a cutting surface.


If cutting up books is upsetting to you, DO NOT WATCH!

Transformation, Not Destruction

Yes, the books are damaged, as the binding is removed, but you will end up with a digital copy that is more permanent (provided you have a reasonable backup protocol in place) and easier to read (because you can zoom in and make the text larger than it was originally — you will appreciate this more if you are in your forties and enjoying the effects of presbyopia.

It may be possible to rebind this book using highly viscous glue, or CURLOX binding, but I personally do not rebind any books so I cannot say for sure. Let me know what you find out, if that is something you try.