Recently, I have been attracted by a number of projects spinning around the idea of digitizing books. There are two aspects which to me deserve more attention: 1) first how to produce cheaply digitized version of traditional books, and 2) what to do once we have digital books.
(1) Concerning the first point, I like Google’s idea of digitizing all the biggest public libraries to give people access to this knowledge worldwide. However, this does not solve the issue of those billion of books which lie in people’s premises. To address this second point, a group of artists has put together a number of recommendations on how to build an home-made book scanner. See an example in the picture below.
(2) Digitizing the book might soon become the easy part. The next step would be to add interactivity to these book so that advanced reading features might become available. See the demo at this link. The idea is that an interactive book might offer translations on the fly, pronunciations of uncommon words, dictionary entries, support for the visually impaired, etc.