Monday, August 29, 2011

Scan and Digitize Your Books for $1 Each

Sometimes we find something from another website or blog that is just too good to not share with everyone. Here is an article that applies precisely. This could be a major benefit for anyone who is planning to downsize books, photos, etc. My thanks to Dick Eastman for allowing me to pass his article on to you.

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

1DollarScan Newsletter reader "Stony" Stonebraker wrote to tell of a new scanning service that is available. I read about the new service and became enthused. I write about a lot of services and products in this newsletter, but this is one I think I will use frequently!

I have been scanning genealogy books in preparation for "downsizing" someday. As I move closer to retirement, I realize that I will someday move to smaller living quarters without room for all the books and magazines I have accumulated. I won't have room for the required bookshelves. The answer seems obvious: digitize them! Thousands of books can be stored in a very small computer or in a tablet computer or even a flash drive.

The problem is that my progress to date has been slow. Scanning a book is a tedious process, and I haven't completed the scanning of very many books. Now a new online service promises to do the job for me at a modest price: one dollar per 100-page book. The same service will also scan documents, photographs, business cards, and even the old greeting cards from relatives I have been saving all these years.

1DollarScan is the U.S. division of a company called Bookscan that has been in business for a few years and now does several million dollars of business per year in Japan.

Anyone can use 1DollarScan by filling out an online order form and then shipping the books or other materials to 1DollarScan's offices in San Jose, California. The company scans them and converts them into PDF files and also performs OCR (optical character recognition) to create a text layer behind the images to make the text searchable and selectable. The PDF files and text files can be sent to the customer by download or on DVD disks. The PDF files can be read on:

Any Windows, Macintosh, or Linux computer
Apple iPad, iPad2, iPhone3G, iPhone3GS, iPhone4, iPod touch
HTC Desire, HTC DesireHD, Xperia
Amazon Kindle3 (coming soon)
SONY Reader PRS-650 (coming soon)
Barnes & Noble Nook (coming soon)
All Android phones, All Android Tabs
And probably all future computers and ebook readers as well

PDF is a standard that probably will be around for many years. When a better format becomes widely available, conversion programs undoubtedly will be available to easily convert the PDF files to whatever format becomes popular in the future.

After the materials are scanned and the electronic images are returned to the customer, the original paper documents may either be returned (the customer pays the shipping charges) or sent to a recycling service to be shredded and reborn as recycled paper. Obviously, none of us will be sending family heirloom photos to be recycled! However, this is a great method of recycling all the less-valuable books and magazines I have accumulated over the years. I bet I have 200 pounds of them and I certainly can't keep them all when I "downsize my living space."

Once the materials have been scanned and the electronic files sent, the customer manages all future storage as he or she sees fit. In my case, I will make multiple backups and will make sure the backups are stored in several different locations for safe keeping. I will use the L.O.C.K.S.S. method (Lots Of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe.) Luckily, this is easy to do and the online storage expenses are far cheaper than paying for a larger home to store all the physical books.

Prices for the scanning service seem reasonable:

Books: $1 for 100 pages (so scanning a 300-page book will cost $3)
Documents: $1 for 10 pages
Business cards: $1 for 10 cards
Photographs: $1 for 10 photos
Greeting cards: $1 per card

1DollarScan promises that future services will include saving all scanned materials directly to a shared Dropbox folder with no CD or DVD disks required. 1DollarScan will scan the books, perform the OCR text conversion, and the customer will receive electronic copies within minutes.

The company is also promising a future service of shipments directly from You will be able to buy a book on and specify it be shipped directly to 1DollarScan. The company will then scan the book, send the electronic version to you, and dispose of the paper copy as you specify.

I'd suggest this is a great service for genealogists and for many others as well. I won't use it for scanning everything I plan to digitize, but I do hope to send most of the "tedious" scanning to 1DollarScan. I still plan to scan my fragile materials and valuable items myself.

You can learn more about 1DollarScan's services at

My thanks to newsletter reader "Stony" Stonebraker for telling me about 1DollarScan.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Never Too Old to Learn

This is my guest post on 08/10/11 from Check them out for more great ideas.

School is for everyone!

Kids are starting to gear up for a new school year. Stores have special sales on school supplies, book bags, clothing, shoes, and everything else students need.

This is also the time of year to start planning your own education. Regardless of your age, learning something new keeps your mind active, which goes a long way to keep you from growing old. Never subscribe to that old adage – you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

Easier to Learn
In fact, getting older makes it easier in some ways to discover new activities. For example, retirees have several advantages over younger students. They have more time available, more interest in learning for the sake of learning, and have less pressure to get good grades. They can actually learn just for the fun of it. Have you always had an interest in geology or astronomy? Then this may be your chance to finally study it.

Financial Breaks
Another benefit older students may find is financial. Senior citizens can often audit classes for free, or qualify for reduced fees and tuition, at some four-year universities and community colleges. More than twenty states offer senior discounts, so check out the opportunities in your state at

Government Assistance
Students of any age may be able to claim one of these three benefits: 1) the Lifetime Learning tax credit for up to $2,000 a year, 2) the American Opportunity credit for up to $2,500 a year, or 3) deductions for up to $4,000 a year. Make sure you check out the requirements first. You can learn more at, which is the IRS’s Tax Benefits for Education Information Center.

For anyone needing more assistance with tuition, there are scholarships aimed at returning adults and non-traditional students. In addition to the Fastweb site above, check your local institutions, as well as

Are you interested in whale watching, archeology, or the Galapagos Islands? Two organizations support some 500 Lifelong Learning Institutes (LLI) nationwide for short-term intensive study. Check out Elderhostel (renamed as and Osher ( They offer something for almost everyone.

Those Who Can, Teach
Another possibility to study economically is to trade your expertise for what you want to learn. For example, if you excelled in the trades, such as electrical wiring, investigate teaching a class on it in exchange for a class in photography. Many schools have limited budgets to hire instructors, but may be more than willing to work out an arrangement. Be creative in your suggestions and you just might find the ideal arrangement.

Many organizations open their conferences to the public, in addition to their members. For example, the Association of Personal Historians (APH) is holding their annual conference in Las Vegas in October, details at It is a wonderful way for anyone to learn more about preserving their family stories. Check out other offerings on the internet, at your local library, or in trade magazines.

Ask Others
When you notice someone doing something out of the ordinary, either in person or in the newspaper, ask them how they learned it or discovered it. People enjoy talking about their hobbies and you may find both a new activity and a new friend with whom to share it. You can also find information at your library, bookstore, craft or hobby stores, and on the internet. There is a wealth of knowledge available when you start researching an area.

Other Opportunities to Learn
Many Senior Centers schedule group events for people to play cards, games, chess, crafts, book clubs, etc. Find one or two you like and participate. If you don’t find a group that shares your passion for cribbage, start your own. You can post a notice on a bulletin board, local newspaper, or community calendar.

Watch for the new catalogs arriving from your community college, continuing education provider, park district, and neighborhood associations. If you don’t find anything of interest, call them to ask for future classes on topics of your choice. You’ll never know how they’ll respond if you don’t ask.

What have you always wanted to learn, but never tackled? Discover a whole new world of exciting things to learn, both in school and out. But the important thing is to start today!

Never Too Old to Learn is a post from: Simple Marriage