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Bookscan (have Japanese books OCR'd cheap! Anyone used this?)

#1
Has anyone used it? (http://www.bookscan.co.jp/)

I just put in my first order with them, but I'm concerned they'll miss the control number on the package since I'm having it shipped from amazon and I had it put on the label in the company field (with 管理番号, so it's labelled, but...)

If you're not familiar with the service, check it out! They'll scan you a pdf of a book you have sent to them for 100yen, add OCR for another 100yen. It's... Pretty awesome. If it works. Here's hoping. If not, hey, cheap experiment! The book I ordered was 1yen + 200 for shipping on amazon, so all told like 5$.

Big Grin

Edit: Nevermind Bookscan (which doesn't accept direct orders sent from amazon), I placed my order with Scan Honpo! (http://hbk.s1.bindsite.jp/)
Edited: 2010-10-03, 10:36 am
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#2
Please post on how it works out.
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#3
Update: Does not seem like it's going to work out. Apparently they only allow amazon-direct-shipped books for premium members (9,980yen/mo). Screw that. Still waiting on another reply from support about whether I can cancel my reservation.
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See this thread for Holiday Countdown Deals (until Dec 15th)
JapanesePod101
#4
Update 2: There are other services that DO do what I want, seemingly, though, at essentially the same price! http://www.bookfire.net/ . Man, Japan is awesome.
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#5
From what I understand, they 裁断 your books, スキャン individual pages and then 廃棄処分 them. Eeeeeh! So I lose my book and instead get a shiny little pdf? What gives!!! This isn't 等価交換.
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#6
atreya:

Then clearly you want something different in a book than I do, since every time I buy a japanese book I only *wish* that someone would OCR scan it for me, and every time I order something from Japan I die a little inside from the shipping charges.

With OCR'd PDFs I can copy/paste to/from dictionary/other programs, and view (and mark up) PDFs on my ipod and then easily transfer that markup to anki.

Certainly the novels I'm buying are hardly priceless works of art to be physically cherished forever. and this way I can get the books I actually want instead of whatever happens to be available at bookoff NYC.
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#7
ttenani Wrote:Update: Does not seem like it's going to work out. Apparently they only allow amazon-direct-shipped books for premium members (9,980yen/mo). Screw that. Still waiting on another reply from support about whether I can cancel my reservation.
What exactly are you trying to do?
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#8
Kapalama:

I want to have books from Amazon Japan delivered directly to a scanning service, have them OCR scan the books and provide me with a PDF. I don't need (or particularly, want) a hardcopy - but I do want an OCR'd copy, so I can copy/paste text from the pdf. Bookscan doesn't do this with books direct-shipped from Amazon, but Scan Honpo (http://hbk.s1.bindsite.jp/) does, so I'm using it.
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#9
100Yen doesn't sound like a viable business. They claim not to keep the data for redistribution. Something doesn't add up.

I love the incongruity between their main page photo (street DVD seller) and their blurb about copyright.
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#10
That's what I thought... But when I looked into it I was able to find 6+ companies offering different permutations of the same service at the same price point. Apparently it's a viable business model and/or that's just what the market is willing to pay... Probably because the actual scanning is automated.

And yeah, the copyright disclaimer is hilarious... But then, this is the same country where tsutaya sells cdrs *at the cd rental counter*, something I at least have always found hilarious.
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#11
I guess if you were curious you could burn a couple of hundred yen on getting them to do the same book twice, and see whether you got bit-for-bit identical PDFs out of it or not...
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#12
Yeah, they must be: (1) selling your books to Book Off; (2) sending you pirated PDFs filled with viruses; (3) selling your credit card information to third parties; (4) selling your email address to spammers; (5) selling your reading habits to advertisers; (6) kicking dogs; and (7) making huge profits out of this. Big Grin
Edited: 2010-10-03, 8:58 pm
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#13
I wonder if they can do manga. If the service produces a pdf file with selectable text for a manga, that would be very interesting to me. I also have to wonder what happens to kanji that has furigana next to it.

Give us an update when you get some books done.
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#14
Wow, it seems very interesting. Finally I can get all those 1yen books on Amazon.co.jp directly to my email box instead of having to wait for a friend to come back to Europe.
I do believe it can be a viable business.
It can be done with most recent office grade xerox machines and it takes only a few minutes per 100 pages (depending on DPI quality).
I guess they don't give the book back because they cut the book spine off so that they can feed the pages easily to the scanner.
I do fast scanning myself as well: I usually scan all the photocopies I make at the library (individual articles etc.) so that I have pdf files for them. Actually I scan to multipage Tiff and then run the file in e.typist (a fairly good OCR software), so I have the OCRed pdf in the end.
Anyhow I never tried ripping a book apart, but I guess it should work well if the cut is clean (no paper jams).
Has anyone found a service that also sends the book back "intact"?
In that case I suppose they would need a book scanner like those of ATIZ, but it would also take much more time and labour (higher prices).

Cheers

Quick addition, I suppose that furigana or ruby in general won't come out well, since I have yet to find a piece of OCR software that handles them decently.
Edited: 2010-10-06, 10:53 am
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#15
I ordered some books and manga from Amazon and had them sent to to スキャン本舗. I got the pdf files a couple of days after Amazon told me the books had been shipped. My reaction is pretty mixed.

First off, I'm don't really like the pdf quality. Without zoom, the pages are the same size on my monitor as the actual book would be. The pixelation at 400% isn't really, really terrible but I'm not sure if it's work the price of the book plus scanning fees. I haven't gotten my Kindle yet, but it looks like reading the actual books on will be fine, albeit a slightly smaller text than I'd like. As for the manga, we'll see. It might be sort of alright if I turn the ereader sideways and scroll down as I read. When I get it, I'll post an update if no one else has.

As for the OCR, I found it to be a waste of money. The OCR text in both the manga and books is wrong much more than it's right, and pretty much all of the different fonts and sizes used in most manga doesn't work at all. Being able to highlight in the books is nice, but I don't see it as being worth the extra fee.

I went ahead and ordered early to see if I the quality was even worth considering. Since I was mostly planning on using this with my Kindle, I'm still kind of "wait and see" with this until I can test it out. It looks like I'll probably keep using this service for books, but manga probably won't be worth it.
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#16
I've always wanted searchable e-book versions of The Japan Times grammar dictionaries that I could put on my iPod. It doesn't sound much like the service would be useful for this though (especially since they're expensive books to gamble with).
Edited: 2010-11-29, 2:13 pm
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#17
Wow - what a good idea. It sounds like a great way to get cheap Japanese reading material, without having to pay all the shipping costs (I'd rather pay $5 for a pdf than $50 for the real version of the same book). I wouldn't trust it for manga, but I imagine it's OK for just novels and the like. I wonder if anyone else has tried it.
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#18
@Tefhel -- It wouldn't be $5 for a pdf version of a $50 book. It'd be you pay $55 for a pdf version of a physical book that you paid for, but never actually get.
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#19
Asriel Wrote:@Tefhel -- It wouldn't be $5 for a pdf version of a $50 book. It'd be you pay $55 for a pdf version of a physical book that you paid for, but never actually get.
I think he meant the cost after shipping.
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#20
overture2112 Wrote:
Asriel Wrote:@Tefhel -- It wouldn't be $5 for a pdf version of a $50 book. It'd be you pay $55 for a pdf version of a physical book that you paid for, but never actually get.
I think he meant the cost after shipping.
He might've meant just the shipping cost. Amazon's shipping costs are ridongulous.
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#21
I might like to try it. I got a few books laying around that I put down cause they were about my level. If I could read them with a dic, that would be kinda cool.
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#22
Tefhel Wrote:without having to pay all the shipping costs (I'd rather pay $5 for a pdf than $50 for the real version of the same book).
Aahaha, yep the people before me were right... it was the shipping costs, lol

I just didnt want you to go get a book, and think you were only paying for $5 for shipping, as opposed to $5 shipping and $50 for the price of the book... my bad
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#23
This is really cool!

I tried "Re本" http://www.fba-works.com . Picked that because their website looked a bit more professional than others.

I ordered scan + OCR and had a novel shipped direct to them from Amazon Japan with regular shipping. The very next day I got the PDF. The scan quality looks good to me, and it's all there, covers and all. The OCR looks accurate so far.

Thumbs up from me.
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#24
Asriel Wrote:
Tefhel Wrote:without having to pay all the shipping costs (I'd rather pay $5 for a pdf than $50 for the real version of the same book).
Aahaha, yep the people before me were right... it was the shipping costs, lol

I just didnt want you to go get a book, and think you were only paying for $5 for shipping, as opposed to $5 shipping and $50 for the price of the book... my bad
Yeah, I meant with the ridiculous Amazon shipping costs I'd rather just pay for the book to be cut up and turned into pdf!
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#25
You have to destroy your book to scan it properly. I mean you need to destroy the binding. It's possible to have it re-bound when done scanning. It's probably just easier to order two copies and send one to the scanner.
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