[FoRK] Book guillotining - spine removal for amateurs

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Thu Oct 18 13:02:21 PDT 2007

Nice so far.

Cleaned, tested, and aligned stack cutter with 970 page Staples catalog.

200 page (face, not sheet) magazine, high compression color:
15 seconds to cut the spine, 8 minutes to scan and produce PDF.  With 
this old, pre-Core 2 3Ghz CPU, color takes twice as long to scan / 
transfer / compress than B&W fax quality.

370 page pulp (cheap, rapidly degrading paperback scifi):
1 minute to scan full cover and spine in color,
2 minutes to rip off covers, split book into two halves,
1 minute to slice off spine,
~20 minutes to scan to medium resolution B&W, convert into PDFs.
The latter only required manual work to put in every 3/16ths chunk of 
pages periodically while I worked on something else.

Acrobat 7 allows you to paste together PDFs, however if you grab more 
than one, it doesn't combine them in a predictable order.  I need to 
install Acrobat 8 before I complain about that annoying bug.  Perhaps 
I'll find an open source tool that can simply combine a list of PDFs.

Cutting too many pages at once, like the thin but many pages in the 
Staple's catalog, causes exactly the issue I expected: the knife pushing 
against the already-cut spine pulls the pages below, resulting in 
narrower and narrower pages.  I didn't notice this at all with cuts less 
than about 1/2" or maybe close to 3/4".  Slice thick books between the 
pages into chunks with a utility knife and the problem is solved.  If 
you had enough margin on a particular book, you could just clamp the 
spine and cut the pages loose, which wouldn't have the problem at all.


> Keep us apprised:)  Thanks! -isabelle
> ...
> 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.

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

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