Rip this book?

Just the title makes me cringe! In this case, the word “rip” is used in the same way we use it when we refer to copying CDs:

Could the publishing industry get Napsterized? That was my first thought when I saw the marketing materials for the Atiz BookSnap, the first consumer device that enables you to “release the content” of your books by transforming the printed words on the page into digital files that can be read on computers and handheld e-readers. “It’s not a scanner,” proclaims a banner on the Atiz Web site. “It’s a book ripper.” Though ripping (which means transferring content from an external medium to your computer) does not necessary imply an act of piracy, I couldn’t help but wonder whether this was a sign of impending apocalypse on Publishers’ Row, a scenario that could end up with people file-sharing John Grisham’s latest they way they do now with the newest Vampire Weekend tunes.

Steven Levy writes about how this machine is still way too cumbersome and pricey for the average book owner, but worries that its existence is a sign of what’s to come.

While I’d love to be able to digitally search my book collection … I think I’ll wait for the API that merges data from LibraryThing (which has my entire collection cataloged) and the Open Library (which aims to have scans of every book).

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