Scan your own books to save money

Frugal money saving tip

Scan your own books!?

Ok, this is going to sound a little extreme to most people, but sometimes I have a hard time letting stuff go.

As part of my very frugal nature, I don’t like to re-purchase the same thing I’ve paid for in the past.  Something that I paid for, should be mine forever.

Because I’m an “old-head”, I have quite a few physical books still.  In addition, I review a lot of hard copy books for Amazon. I usually get a new small crop each year.

After taking a couple years off, part of that time has been on seriously downsizing our physical possessions. I just like to have less stuff, and my wife appreciates my efforts.  Between us, I’d be considered the “hoarder”.

Marrying two goals of being frugal and purging physical things makes me happy.

My process requires a high speed scanner, which I picked up for free in exchange for my review on the Amazon Vine program. I love this thing.

Here’s a little video of how I use it, and what the software looks like during the process.

In general, I just like the portability of having my books scanned.  I can easily store everything I own, on one of these portable media drives, that I previously reviewed in one of my “Frugal tips” of the week.

Reduce clutter and save money

My math is simple on the cost saving.  For general books that I have on my shelf, I’m saving the replacement cost.  For new books that I can get cheaper than the Kindle version, I go with what is the least expensive.  I recently found a book on Link building, and the Amazon price was $12, the Kindle version was $10 and I found a “Make me an offer” deal on Ebay that was accepted at $7.

In broad terms, that example is a bit extreme just to save such a small dollar amount, but the title I purchased is something I might want to share in the future.

For the most part, I’m just doing my own books on my two large bookcases. In my tiny Brooklyn apartment, it has made a difference.  I feel like it’s the closest I will get to Austin Powers’ description of the future of “flying cars, and entire meals are in pill form…”  Groovy baby!

In searching this topic before I started writing this, I found out that Amazon actually offers software that will allow you to scan a book and convert it directly to a kindle book. That would allow you to keep your Kindle library in a single place and backed up.  I’m not worried about that for now and I developed my own little interface in Microsoft Access database. (Pictured below)

Scanned books

Simply clicking any title, launches the PDF in a 2 page, open book format.  Most are in a searchable PDF format, so I can do most of the stuff that I can do within Kindle, right in the PDF itself.   I actually love this, and it’s truly starting to free up some space in my apartment.

It’s already offered by Amazon

Here is the original article by TechCrunch on Amazon’s Kindle convert program.  Based on the reviews of the software and the limitations, I might just stick with my method.  However, it’s nice to know that this is an option.

Do you have something that you feel like you’re “double paying” for that you wish there was an alternative? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to save a buck?


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