If you’re wondering what this insomniac does at 3am, look no further than bkrpr.org. It’s the new website for Bkrpr, a project devoted to creating hardware and software for ripping books. We want to do for books what CD rippers did for music.
20 years ago it would have been crazy to predict that in the year 2009, one could instantly acquire for low or no cost almost any song or movie ever made but books would still be expensive, scarce, heavy, inconvenient, hard-to-find collections of paper. But that’s the world we live in. The gap between expectation and reality is wholly accounted for by the existence of music and movies as high-quality digital copies in free formats.
It might be a while before publishers release the world’s libraries in electronic form, but there’s no reason you can’t digitize your own library. Our hope is that once people start doing that, their expectations as to the easy, digital availability of books will change. And that’s the first step to the book-publishing industry modernize in the same way the music labels are. It promises to be a slow, rough road, but eventually publishers in every medium are going to sell unencumbered media at reasonable prices.
So far we have some basic hardware for building a cheap DIY scanner so you can photograph your books without destroying them. You can see pictures of the hardware on flickr. And we’re close to a 0.1 release of some software that will help you process those images and turn them into nice text or PDFs for reading. The software is on Launchpad.
There’s a video of the ripper in action on our wiki.