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Customer Discussions > Kindle forum

Papers books to kindle?

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Showing 1-25 of 36 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 20, 2010 5:23:51 AM PST
Can the paper books I already own be loaded on to a kindle?
I am considering purchasing an ereader, but would like to have the option of scanning and loading the books I already own into the device.

Posted on Dec 20, 2010 5:30:03 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2010 5:30:34 AM PST
As long as its on your device, that is okay (depending on your format - you will want to check out the formats available.)

However, if you distribute your scanned material, you will be guilty along with others of DRM infringement. That can land you in boat load of trouble (I personally didn't know that when I started posting here - but my Kindle is being shipped today, and I learn REAL quick).

Posted on Dec 20, 2010 5:32:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2010 5:36:55 AM PST
Joe says:
What do you mean by "can".

Do you mean practically? Yes but you'll find its a complete PITA and totally impractical, in that for the time spent you'd be far better off buying the eVersion.
Do you mean legally? No.
Do you mean will you be prosecuted? No one has so far for personal use, how would anyone know? But see first point.

EDIT: Cold in Seattle - did you understand the question was about PAPER books and not other eversions? In that, I don't understand your comment about formats and teh relevance to scanning a paper book? If you look in the front of any paper book, you'll see it says its an offence to store or copy into any other media including any retrieval system, or words to that effect.

Posted on Dec 20, 2010 5:37:34 AM PST
It's possible, but would take so long per book, it wouldn't be worth doing. You would have to pretty much destroy the book in order to properly scan it, especially if you are using a little home use flatbed scanner. The time to scan each page and run it through OCR software, not to mention the proofreading...well, it would take hours to do just one book.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2010 5:39:55 AM PST
Yes, I mean practically. So I would have probably have to scan each page of the paper books I own into a compatible format (What is a compatible format?) and save them to the ereader. This would take a lot of time. I didn't consider it might be illegal if I scanned the books for my personal use and have already paid for the paper copy. Thanks for your time.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2010 5:48:51 AM PST
Yes, I only have a home scanner. I was afraid the book would have to be torn apart to get a good "flat" image. Thanks.

Posted on Dec 20, 2010 5:59:40 AM PST

The answer to your question is, "Yes, it can be done." But others are correct in saying that the process is very time-consuming and may wreck your books.

Still, after you scan a book and edit out all the errors that OCR software always seems to make, just save the book as a plain text file. You can then copy that to your Kindle and read it like any other book.

Selected Letters and Journals of Lord Byron. For only $0.99 you get a biography of Byron by Ernest Hartley Coleridge (grandson of the famous poet), a well-chosen colletion of letters by the most amusing of literary correspondents, and a dictionary of Byron's wit and widom--all illustrated with more than 30 pictures of people and places important in the life of the poet.

Tartuffe, or the Hypocrite. For only $0.99 you get a modern English verse translation of Moliere's famously risque and provocative exploration of religious hypocrisy.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2010 6:16:09 AM PST
Thank you. I may try this with a couple of my favorite books and see how the process goes. Of course, I have to buy a reader first. I love to read, but my books are taking up a lot of space in my small house.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2010 6:17:15 AM PST

This has been fought re trying to control the Personal Use Doctrine on Ebay (which I used to buy a lot).

Distribution of Media is one thing. You can do whatever you like (how many folks haven't copied their text books from college?) once you buy a book FOR YOUR PERSONAL USE ONLY.

If you want it in Ebook fashion, you may do so.

How many transfer their scanned copies onto disks? How many used to do this at Kinko's? You are like way out of line.

Sorry, no offense.

Posted on Dec 20, 2010 6:39:33 AM PST
Bufo Calvin says:
Cold, it isn't clear to me that it is legal to scan books for your own personal use under current Copyright law. I'm not an intellectual property lawyer, but I am an interested layperson who has written about this issue.

I expect that it will be established under case law (which is how the Copyright Office tends to like to settle things), but hasn't yet been, to my knowledge. It took the Sony vs. Universal case (SONY CORP. OF AMER. v. UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS, INC., 464 U.S. 417) to establish the legality of home videorecording of broadcast TV.

What you are referring to as the "Personal Use Doctrine" is based on the Fair Use section (107) of Title 17:

(government page relevant to the discussion)

It has four factors to be taken into account regarding unauthorized copying of works under copyright:


(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.


(excerpt from government work relevant to the discussion)

All four factors are to be considered.

The copying of a textbook by a college student pursuant to class work falls under the use cases explicitly cited:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."

It would fall under scholarship and/or research.

That same factor would not apply to someone format-shifting for their own convenience in reading.

Again, my guess is that format-shifting for personal use on in-copyright books (digitizing books) is likely to be established as non-infringing...but I don't think it has been yet. If you have a case you can cite, I'd be happy to look at it.

Ruby, in terms of the mechanics, I have digitized public domain books (those no longer under copyright protection, typically), in my work with a non-profit. It takes a long time to do it well.

First, you have to scan the book. It's certainly possible to do this without damaging the's just harder. If you don't put the book face down, but scan a single page at a time, you aren't opening the book more than most people would when reading. If you start it, keep track of how long it takes you to scan each page. Depending on the scanner, it could certainly take ten seconds or more.

Then, you would run the OCR (Optical Character Recognition), unless you just want to output to PDF. The PDF can be fine for reading, but is harder to use for research and mark-up and takes more memory.

The next part is the challenge: correcting the OCR file. OCR makes a lot of mistakes, especially with older books. It tends to mistake wrinkles as characters, for one thing.

I would say that with a hundred page book, you could be looking at eight hours or so. Again, it could be less time if you don't care about correcting the mistakes.

Bufo Calvin
Amazon Author Central page:

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2010 6:42:09 AM PST
sabst79 says:
A good test w/out a reader would be to download the free software for your pc or mac. get the kindle for pc app and scan a book and see what happens.

Posted on Dec 20, 2010 6:48:24 AM PST
I wasn't talking only of text books. I'm also talking about - say - someone copies a chapter of their Poker book.

Get all legal, but this was already argued 3 years or so ago with things being resold on Ebay. Of course, not DRM infringement - but what you can do with STUFF after you buy it. Digitalizing for personal use is not prohibited - no matter how you stand (of course, as an author - you might have some personal thoughts on the issues).

I have lots of books - do I plan on digitizing them? Only if I can't find the Eversions (though I have requested them) anywhere. They aren't even in the library as Ebooks. Now, these are considered OOP books, but are still under Copyright via law. But if I want to read them on the Kindle - then be danged - I will do so ;-)

Posted on Dec 20, 2010 6:49:15 AM PST
Maybe I'll just keep my paper books and forget about purchasing an ereader. I didn't realize this question would be so controversial.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2010 6:54:16 AM PST
I like your attitude. I did plan on buying some ebooks, but just wanted to know if ereaders have the capability of accepting scanned copies of books I already paid money for. I NEVER planned to give/share/sell them to other people or otherwise keep authors from earning $ they are entitled to. Thank you for your support.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2010 6:58:34 AM PST
Ruby, the real problem with scanning your paper books is the quality of the scan. It seems like it would be a simple, one-step process, but it's not. Many of us who have had Kindles for a while have encountered books - some free, some not - that were simply scanned paper books. They are so full of errors as to be useless.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2010 6:59:38 AM PST
That sound like a good suggestion. Thank you.

Posted on Dec 20, 2010 7:00:25 AM PST
Ruby... arguments aside, you CAN scan your books and load them onto a Kindle, it would just be a time-intensive process. There are people out there working on fast, efficient book scanners that don't ruin your physical book, but there's nothing available for the home user yet.

There is no way some government or corporate entity can see the private documents you load onto your Kindle so unless you distribute your scans, you don't have to worry about the legalities.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2010 7:00:59 AM PST
Ruby...most of us who bought a Kindle (or other e-reader) also have many paper books. I own many paper books. The Kindle has given me access to thousands of free books, as well as those written by Indie authors. I have well over 280 books on my K2i, and I've spent about $85 total. Compared to many posters here, my 280 is paltry.

I was not necessarily looking to duplicate every paper book I own on my Kindle. I have done that with only a few...those books I love to re-read. For the most part however, the books I have on my Kindle are books I do not own in paper version.

For many people, simply the access to free Public Domain Classics makes the cost of a Kindle well worth it. You cannot walk into a book store and get paper copies of these books for free, but you can get them free for e-readers. There are so many, it would take me years to work through just the freebies. For an avid reader, this makes the Kindle a really good buy.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2010 7:02:16 AM PST
M. Francis, thanks for the information. It is good to get feedback from people who have experience using a Kindle.

Posted on Dec 20, 2010 7:58:57 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2010 8:00:22 AM PST
Joe says:
I believe it would be such a tortuous process that you would hate the book by the time you finished, which is counterproductive !

Bear in mind, with the scanning, proofreading & correcting, reformatting, you are probably looking at 2 or 3 days for an average book, maybe a week. If you can buy the eversion even for a high cost, say $20 is it worth it? Even if you did it super quick, say 2 days, you'd be working for $10 a day AND you wouldn't want to read the book when done because you'd have read it 2 or 3 times after all the proofreading :-)

Start with new books on an ereader, if you ever fancy rereading one of your paper ones and really want to read it on the ereader, just buy it, you will probably only reread maybe 10% of your books anyway? Or, lets say they are decent quality hardbacks, sell them all and use the money to buy eversions over a time.

Posted on May 19, 2011 12:19:13 AM PDT
It's a shame you can't scan the bar codes for books you own and get the eBook version of it. I'd love to convert my library into an e-library.

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2011 6:07:38 AM PDT
Pamela says:
You can. You just need to pay for them.

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2011 6:24:57 AM PDT
Beth says:
I would second what Meya says. I probably have almost 1000 paper books. I am slowly getting rid of the ones I am unlikely to reread. For my favorites I will list on ereaderiq and if they reach a price I am comfortable with I will buy for my kindle. Many I will keep as paper books since I still like going to the bookshelf, picking a favorite and just opening a random page and reading. My goal is to only have one layer of books on a shelf rather than having them piled all over the place :)

Posted on May 19, 2011 6:51:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2011 6:52:51 AM PDT
One more thing, Ruby. Why not try Kindle out for a month anyway? You might like it, and if not, there's a 30-day free return policy.

Most of uis Kindle fanatics started out as dubious, compulsive readers / lovers of paper books. But Kindle's advantages in portability, storage capacity, freebies and lower prices (in most instances), physical handling ease, font scaling, uploading your own personal documents, etc, etc., soon converted us.

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2011 7:06:54 AM PDT
Gpamelac says:
The easiest solution is keep your current paperbacks and then buy ebooks from now on
when you buy a new book is space is a problem.
Scanned pages from paperbooks can be terrible if they not formatted correctly.
plus you need to edit all the OCR mistakes on every page.
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  20
Total posts:  36
Initial post:  Dec 20, 2010
Latest post:  May 19, 2011

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