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Free Mac OCR/E-book software/toolchain
May 22, 2011 3:01 PM   Subscribe

How can I get from paper to e-books for free on a Mac?

I have:
  • Several books with the text blocks cut from the bindings,
  • Rights to said books, but not digital source files for them,
  • A scanner with a duplex automatic document feeder,
  • A Mac,
  • Decent computer chops (I was a CS major in undergrad), and
  • A budget of $0.00.
I need:
  • Plain-text EPUB files of the aforementioned books. Some have a few diagrams; incorporating those would be nice but not necessary.
How can I get from Point A to Point B?
posted by tellumo to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know too much about the Mac toolchains, but I do know where you can find an answer. Consider asking this question at the mobileread forums, where there are open source software packages and people dedicated to format conversion, or the forum I run, which is dedicated to book scanning of all kinds.
posted by fake at 3:21 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


You'd be a fool not to start with bittorrent.
posted by mhoye at 5:13 PM on May 22, 2011


Might be easier and faster to use digital cameras. Here is a reference to an ultra-low cost approach. Also some useful links.

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/12/diy-book-scanner/.
posted by PickeringPete at 5:16 PM on May 22, 2011


I'm not sure if you could use Ghostscript to help with making PDFs, but you can convert PDFs to the epub format with Calibre.

Not sure how fancy the final product would be, but I like Calibre for personal use.
posted by dragonplayer at 5:40 PM on May 22, 2011


+ Scanning software: what came with the scanner? Vuescan is amazingly good scanning software (and I believe has some OCR functionality built in), but costs $40.
+ OCR: Maybe tesseract or gocr
+ Epub editor: Sigil

Bonus: if you have PDF scans from which you need to trim the header/footer before OCR, use briss.
posted by hades at 2:07 AM on May 23, 2011


Metafilter's Own fake won a contest by making a DIY book scanner. You may want to see if he has suggestions on the software side of things, since you can just run your stack of paper through the duplex scanner already, while his project is for non-destructive scanning of bound books.
posted by odinsdream at 5:24 AM on May 23, 2011


Sorry - didn't see he was the first answer!
posted by odinsdream at 5:24 AM on May 23, 2011


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