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Over the years I've built up a collection of several reference books, from O'Reilly, Cisco Press, and others. I really like the idea of using an e-book reader, however I'm loathe to repurchase all of the content I already own.

Has anyone managed to successfully move from dead trees to ebooks? Do any publishers/companies offer a trade-in scheme?


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Tear out every page, run it through a scanner (hopefully one with an auto feeder!), and PDF the result ;) – Mark Henderson Sep 1 '09 at 0:01
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can build a system documented in the open source Bkrpr project. It is time consuming but will produce DRM free digitized copies of your books.

I'm going to see if I can build this; looks like a fun little project. Thanks. – Murali Suriar Sep 4 '09 at 7:12

EDIT - I definitely should have checked before posting. Pragmatic Bookshelf sells both the ebook as well as the paper book. The catch is that you need to pay extra to own both types.

As far as I know, most publishers do not provide such a trade-in scheme. However, publishers such as the Pragmatic Bookshelf do give you right to own digital copies of the books you purchase from them. I'm not too sure if it only applies to all titles or those that you purchase directly from them online.


Safari Books Online: is a subscription to an online library including most new books from a host of publishers.

Depending on your subscription level you have immediate access online to a bookshelf (which, at the top end can be unlimited size) of books, with downloads of whole books or chapters as PDF.

Yes, I have a Safari subscription through work (only accessible at work, unfortunately). I've often been tempted by a Safari subscription; the thing that concerns me is that it's an ongoing fee. I'd prefer to be able to pay a one off charge for a copy of the book. Also, that doesn't really address the issue of all the paper books I have already... – Murali Suriar Aug 7 '09 at 15:21
Why is it only accessible at work? I had safari at work and used it at home just fine. As long as you are not sharing your login details with another user, it should not be a problem. – benPearce Sep 1 '09 at 0:57
The Safari login uses SSO - I log in to my company's intranet, who authenticate me to Safari. I don't actually know what my Safari password is. – Murali Suriar Sep 1 '09 at 8:27

Open the book somewhere, took a sentence, and google for it in quotes so it finds an exact match. Download. Enjoy :)

You do already have a paper version, so do it with a clear conscience :)


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