TechCrunch reports that 1DollarScan, a US subsidiary of Japanese jisui (third-party book-to-e-book scanning) company Bookscan, has introduced an improved formatting service called Fine Tune. Fine Tune promises to custom-format its scans so that they work better and load faster on all different platforms. For example, Fine Tuning for the iPhone, Android devices, or e-readers offers compression, margin removal (to make the PDF fit the screen shape better and waste less space on already-small screens), and optimization for the different resolutions or display technologies.
CEO Hiroshi Nakano says this approach is particularly important for making inroads in the U.S. — saving physical space is less important here than in Japan, so the main advantage of digitization is mobility. And with Fine Tune, 1DollarScan can deliver a better mobile experience.
1DollerScan launched last August, and for $1 per hundred book or ten document pages, will destructively scan any books you want to send to them into PDF e-books. (Books have their spines removed to scan, and the printed pages will be recycled after scanning.) This is the same thing that jisui companies in Japan have been doing for space-conscious Japanese consumers who wanted electronic copies of their books so they could save space and didn’t want to wait for the Japanese publishing industry to standardize on an e-book format.
Of course, the Japanese companies have been sued for their trouble, and I honestly have no idea why the same thing hasn’t happened to 1DollarScan over here yet. Authors and publishers weren’t too thrilled by Google Books’s library digitization project scanning their works without authorization at the behest of the owners of the physical copies of those books, and 1DollarScan is basically the same thing on a smaller scale. Perhaps they just haven’t noticed yet?
At any rate, people who have large libraries they’d like to get rid of in exchange for e-book versions could find this service more compelling than ever, especially if they use the sorts of mobile devices Fine Tune can optimize for. It might be a good idea for them to get it done before publishers shut it down, however.