The digital age has been good to us. We’re able to carry around thousands of books, cds and games around with us in our pocket or handbag. Amazon and Google have provided almost endless reading in the way of eBooks for cheap (and even free).
But what happens when the book you want isn’t available digitally?
Amazon helpfully suggests you contact the publisher and beg for the book to be offered electronically. You MIGHT get lucky and find that another fan of the book has painstakingly scanned it – and posted it online somewhere. You might even buy a physical copy of the book, tear it apart and scan it yourself (been there, done that – you don’t want to ever put yourself through that).
Now there is another option. 1DollarScan.com. See their promo video:
Back in October of 2011, I discovered this service and posted about it on Google Plus. I promised I would try the service and do a write up about it.
I signed up for an account – quick, easy and free. My next step was to grab a book I wanted to have scanned. I chose a childhood favorite that I just happened to have two copies of – so I wouldn’t be crushed if the results weren’t what I had hoped.
When you start your order, you’ll be given a scan date. Mine was about 4 weeks out – November 20th, 2011. You’ll be asked to choose how many “sets” you want scanned. This is a little confusing.
A “set” is 100 pages – be it a portion thereof, or counted across mutliple volumes. For example:
- 1 book @ 75 pages = 1 set
- 1 book @ 100 pages = 1 set
- 2 books @ 75 pages & 100 pages = 2 sets
- 3 books @ 200 pages & 150 pages and 325 pages = 7 sets
Each “set” is $1 each. My book was 185 pages, so I selected “2 sets” for my order.
The next option is OCR. For $1 more per set, you can have them OCR the pages. They support English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. My book was old and the pages dark and yellowy. Having scanned my own books before, I knew this wouldn’t yield the results I wanted. I passed on the OCR option. Besides, I have top notch PDF OCR software of my own – no need to pay extra.
They will also name your PDF for just $1 per set. That made no sense to me, so I skipped it. More on this later.
Next up is the big kicker. Want your file(s) on a DVD? $30. Nah, I’m good. I’ll pass.
Finally, you will have to agree to their terms and conditions and you’re ready to go. My cost to place the order? $2 at this point.
Once your order is made, you get the confirmation email that gives you more information:
– On your envelop or box, write your Order Confirmation # clearly so that we can identify.
– Make sure to print out this Order Confirmation email and include in your shipment.
– If you are sending a non-English book, please indicate the language on the front cover.
- Scanning of 50 sets
- Free OCR of 50 sets
- Free Book Title on 50 sets
- 5-10 Business Days Scanning Window
- Accept shipment from Amazon (buy a book, ship directly to them)
- … Future upload to a Drop Box account
Essentially, if you max out the offering, you save $50. They say “cancel any time”, so it really looks like a “bulk discount” deal – buy membership for a month, get 5000 pages scanned, cancel. I imagine that happens a lot – so they are just getting you to commit to a giant $100 order with discount.
So … is this the real deal? So it would seem. Is it legal? These guys have been around for some time, so it must be. This isn’t some off-shore Taiwan sweatshop – it’s in California.
My guess is that the legality comes from the process of destroying the book after scanning, but I’m no lawyer.
Finally, they do have other scanning services – like greeting cards, business cards, photos and documents. There are restrictions for each of these. The one thing they don’t scan are magazines. Apparently the paper is too thin and botches their equipment (according to the FAQ).
I can see myself using this service again. Recommended!