[tt] [FoRK] Book guillotining - spine removal for amateurs

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Tue Oct 16 09:07:41 PDT 2007

Thanks for your comments everyone.

For a couple books, Kinkos or another print shop is the way to go.  For 
a sizable library (>2000 books, >3000 periodicals, conservatively) and 
the desire to be doing this indefinitely, I'd much rather be able to 
handle it in house if feasible.  Rationale wise, if I'm able to convert 
even 20 books to electronic form that I would have had to give away but 
could use, I've paid for a moderately expensive cutter (assuming $435, 
$200-$240 at minimum).  40 books covers the cutter, scanner, and 
software (cutter plus scanner http://tinyurl.com/ywrt3l ).  The result 
is that I can carry them with me, search them, reference them, and make 
fair use of content much easier.

After some research, I found that what is probably used by print shops 
most of the time is a "stack cutter" / "ream cutter".  The latter 
implies that it can cut at least 500 sheets of 20# (and 800 for some 
units), while the former is usually a little more than 1/2 of a ream, 
about 1.5" or 280-300 20# sheets.  These cut about 1000 times before the 
blade needs to sharpened.  They have a rotatable cutting stick; I'm not 
sure how long they last.  There seem to be several traditional companies 
in this space, Martin Yale (the 7000E was the first product in this 
space that I noticed), Dahle, and others, who have manual and electric 
cutters that cost $1000 and up generally.  The Martin Yale 7000E 
12"x1.5" can be had for about $600 on eBay at the moment.

I then found the second tier companies and the import / knockoffs.  The 
two respectable second tier players appear to be QCM ( 
http://qcmcorp.com ) and COME ( http://comemachines.com ).  At least one 
seller says that QCM designed and manufactured their cutters for 
Kinkos.  All public reviews are glowing.  Both companies have good 12" 
and 17" units for something approaching a reasonable price.  The best 
source for both, probably a front for the factory in the case of QCM or 
at least someone drop shipping from the factory, is on eBay.  Yesterday, 
you could get a refurbished 12" x 1.5" cutting QCM-1200E for $200.  17" 
x 1.5" with free shipping and a lifetime warranty for $436.  Far east 
knockoffs start at $159.

While you can cut through just about anything with these, I'm planning 
to slice off the covers and scan those separately to limit blade wear.  
For larger books, I'll just slice through the binding in the middle and 
debind each half separately.  At first I worried a bit about the binding 
pulling lower pages, however the angle on these blades is 18.5 deg., the 
paper is clamped, and these are apparently what print shops use, so it 
shouldn't be an issue.

After testing this, I'll then have to think about what my minimum 
responsibility is for manual DRM.  By the rights clarified in Universal 
City Studios v. Sony ( summarized nicely at: 
http://w2.eff.org/IP/P2P/MGM_v_Grokster/betamax_20th.php ), I feel that 
I am entirely within my rights to "time shift" a book to bits.  What is 
the minimum standard of care that I have to exercise for: backups, 
archives, sharing with the family, loaning, etc.?  Will I need to create 
or adopt DRM just to make sure that I can fulfill my obligations with 
minimum effort?  If I adopt some kind of DRM, does that mean that I can 
create my own loaning library on the Internet for family, friends, or 
even the public?  Is there a fundamental legal reason that trusting 
people who agree to abide by a trust-based DRM system isn't enough 
"reasonable care" to avoid liability?  After all, a physical library has 
to trust that borrowers won't abuse copyright by photocopying, etc. and 
they incur no liability to take any measures to avoid this.

Should I keep the spines, like old crusty skeletons, to prove that I 
disposed of the physical source?  Photograph myself with the books?  
Keep my archive of receipts and make the other party prove that the 
receipt is not present?  Simply point out that people give me books?  
Should I include a certificate in the scan that it is part of my library 
and based on a book I own?

Interestingly, I could easily print the book on demand and use one of 
the self-publishing binding methods.  Again, if I track that book's 
existence and avoid simultaneous use outside of fair use, then I should 
be within my rights legally.  An anthology or compiled reference might 
be nice.

Isabelle Hakala wrote:
> Hi,
> I just take my books (that I need the binding removed from) to the 
> copy center at ucsc.  Any copy center that has the means to cut 
> massive amounts of paper can do it.  They usually charge me $1 a book, 
> as long as they aren't busy.  I do this with my incredibly large text 
> books and then have them re-bound into smaller parts so that I am not 
> carrying the entire tomb around all the time:)  -Isabelle
Tome I hope. ;-)

> On Oct 14, 2007, at 12:30 PM, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> ----- Forwarded message from Ken Meltsner <meltsner at alum.mit.edu> -----
> From: Ken Meltsner <meltsner at alum.mit.edu>
> Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2007 13:19:55 -0500
> To: Friends of Rohit Khare <fork at xent.com>
> Subject: Re: [FoRK] Book guillotining - spine removal for amateurs
> Reply-To: Friends of Rohit Khare <fork at xent.com>
> On 10/14/07, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>> I have only found two solutions: industrial print shop machines that are
>> too expensive and large or using a band saw.
>> Are there any other reasonable methods?
> I liked Vernor Vinge's book shredder/massive computation approach in
> Rainbow's End.  It's not practical yet, but he envisioned shredding
> entire libraries, and using lots of images of the shreds, along with
> appropriate software, to reconstruct the pages.
> In the real world, this operation is called "debinding."  I've sent
> out books to have this done (a place near DC, although I don't recall
> the name).  The giant industrial paper shear is probably the easiest
> method, and just about any printer should be able to do it for you,
> possibly for a few bucks per book (in bulk).  The shear's best since
> there's a massive clamp to hold the book in place, and there's
> essentially no kerf loss.
> A band saw with a medium blade might work -- the kerf's  (cut
> thickness) not too wide unless you get a big green wood resaw blade.
> I'd use two "cauls" (clamping bars), possibly 1x2" on edge or steel
> box beams*, along with appropriate fasteners to hold the book together
> while sawing.  Paper drilling experience leads me to think some sort
> of wax might be a good lubricant if you don't think it will cause
> problems when scanning.
> The other way to debind books uses appropriate chemical or thermal
> treatments to get rid of the glue (depends on the book's age and
> binding method).   Heat and steam will soften most modern glues.  I
> don't know whether anyone used hide glue for books in the old days,
> but pure alcohol will crystallize it (or heat should soften it).  Once
> the glue is gone, the pages will be loose or you'll have sewn
> signatures that can be dissassembled but cutting the threads.
> A quick Google search for book debinding found some interesting hits
> as well, including:
> http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byform/mailing-lists/bookarts/1999/11/msg00156.html 
> *The beams will tend to bow and won't hold the center very well.  If
> you're using wood, you could cut a slight arc or add a thin shim in
> the center to balance out the bowing.  If the book's binding margin is
> big enough, you could drill a hole in the center for another bolt.
> Ken Meltsner
> Your helpful book destroying handyman
>> Does anyone have experience using a band saw on books?  What type of
>> blade works best?  Besides possibly taping the book together, what other
>> clamping or similar measures might help?  Am I going to need a certain
>> horsepower?
>> I just need a reasonable edge to allow high volume ADF scanning.  That
>> part I have covered.
>> I'm also wondering about the feasibility of using an OPC laptop as a
>> book reader.  The advantage there over something like the Sony Reader is
>> search capability, possibly better bookmarking, site management, notes,
>> and maybe even collaboration at some point.  The advantage over a normal
>> or mini laptop should be toughness, low cost, and extended battery life.
>> I have a huge library that I need to drastically reduce, and much of it
>> I don't really want to just part with if I can help it.
>> sdw
>> Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>>> ...
>>> The idea of guillotining and scanning a book is interesting,
>>> especially since I have the perfect scanner and software.  I haven't
>>> found a reasonable way to guillotine a book yet.  Perhaps a local
>>> print shop will do it cheaply.  There are a bunch of old, marginal
>>> books that I could see myself converting that way.
>>> ...
>> -- 
>> swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
>> Stephen D. Williams 703-371-9362C 703-995-0407Fax 20147 AIM: sdw

swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-371-9362C 703-995-0407Fax 20147 AIM: sdw

More information about the FoRK mailing list