Last week I watched papertygre upload most of her books as she prepared to move out.
Seeing the process aroused a transhumanist sentiment in me, a glimmer of a future in which our world is gradually transformed into digital information. It creates a sense of raw possibility and freedom, albeit tinged with a bit of emptiness.
The ability to liberate objects from reality is something I'm passionately working towards in my new startup; it's exciting to see another form of this process.
In the case of book scanning, it's a two-step process involving cutting off the binding and then putting the pages through a bulk scanner 100 at a time. Hard-core book lovers might want to look away at this point... :-)
(In case you're wondering, there are many reasons why she didn't choose to buy e-books and then donate the original books to the library, not the least of which is the annoyance of DRM.)
Here are some surgically mutilated books, post-scan.