Innovation That Matters

Japanese service enables e-book creation on demand

Publishing & Media

A vast, densely packed bookcase may still be a status symbol for some, but in small Tokyo apartments it’s simply not practical. Whilst the arrival of the iPad looked set to solve the problem, Yusuke Ohki soon discovered that an iPad without e-books wasn’t much of a solution. Taking matters into his own hands, he scanned all 2,000 books in his library onto his iPad. Now, six months later, he is helping others do the same through BOOKSCAN. Japan has been slow to publish e-books, confronted with irksome copyright issues and pricing systems. BOOKSCAN now aims to fill the gap left by major publishers. Customers simply send BOOKSCAN a book, and in return for JPY 100 users receive a PDF e-book version ready to be read on an iPad, iPhone or Kindle. Before sending a book to BOOKSCAN, users of the service are required to tick a box saying they have received the publishers permission to reproduce the text. There is no end to the range of content that can be digitized for added convenience, accessibility and interaction. BOOKSCAN has harnessed this in tandem with a real local need for e-book content to produce a valuable service. How can you do likewise in your area? (Related: Free photocopies for students, A place to preserve and share mementos online) Spotted by: Michell Zappa



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