ImPress turns paperbacks into ebooks

A Californian firm is releasing what it claims is the world’s first personal book scanner.

The ImPress scanner will allow people to digitise their book collection into formats readable on devices such as the Kindle, iPad and other ereaders.

The device works in a similar fashion to the commercial book scanners used to digitise the British Library’s collection, for example.

The book is placed on a v-shaped lectern, which has two 5-megapixel cameras mounted on either side that capture pages at a resolution of 300dpi.

Suction is used to turn the book pages, with the device capable of speeds of six pages per minute, according to a spokesman for Pathway Innovations & Technologies, who was speaking to PC Pro at CES.

ImPress front

OCR software for either PC or Mac converts the scanned text into a variety of formats, including PDF or the Kindle-friendly EPUB. The software also offers text-to-speech.

The Pathway spokesman claimed the ImPress was “primarily selling to education, but it was getting a positive response from consumers”. However, the biggest barrier to domestic use could be the size of books the ImPress is able to scan, with the spokesman admitting that tomes in excess of 500 or 600 pages can “be problematic”.

The ImPress is set to go on sale in the third quarter of this year, with an estimated retail price of $499 (around £325). The company does plan to sell into the European market.

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