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Christmas Gift Guide
Software

Meet BookSnap, the semi-automatic 'book ripper'

Put down that flask of despair and come take a swig from the bottle of technological progress: a consumer-friendly book ripper can be yours for under a thousand quid

Technology has made archiving CDs on a PC a breeze. Even encoding vinyl can be automated with the right equipment. But what about the humble book? How are we supposed to effectively archive our literarature? Heaven knows, the short stories I wrote as a kid -- around 30 short tales about a cat and a dog who build gadgets and fly into space, then return home for cups of tea -- are just begging to be digitised for humanity's benefit.

Well, put down that flask of despair and come take a swig from the bottle of technological progress: a consumer-friendly book ripper can be yours for under a thousand quid.


BookSnap: it's like being Google

The $1,595 (£780) BookSnap from Atiz is essentially a large frame complete with a pair of digital cameras. That said, the cameras aren't included. Providing your arm is up to the task (there's no automatic page-turner) the BookSnap can photograph up to 500 pages an hour and will output each tome as a handy PDF file.

Now, I'll be frank. When I mentioned this contraption to the CNET posse, I was brutally rebuffed (yes, that's a Clueless reference). "Nate, are you high?" they said, "You could rip books using a desktop scanner for less than £100!"

But I stand by my opinion that to the people who support Google's book-scanning project, not to mention those who contribute to the modern Alexandrian library that is Wikipedia, this is an affordable and speedy way to not only backup and share rare works, but also to preserve them into infinity. Coupled with the provided 'ripping' software -- which is most of the cost, if you were thinking £800 for a camera stand was rather steep -- the BookSnap is a semi-automated way to contribute to the worthy cause of digital literary preservation.