My first test of Kindle Convert
I wanted to do a quick test of
I should mention first that I have experience digitizing books…I did it with public domain books when I was working with a non-profit.
It was quite laborious…the scanning itself can take some time, and then there is the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) part, where the software reads the scan and tries to convert it to searchable text.
I say “tries” because even the best software I used was imperfect.
So, I think I can judge the quality of the work reasonably well.
I used my
which is a pretty sophisticated and not outrageously expensive scanner.
I just wanted to do a simple test, so I scanned about ten pages of a hardback book.
I was anxious to test a couple of things, and I wanted to try to do it with as little work as possible. 🙂
I scanned the book into jpgs (a type of image file) and started the “project” in the Kindle Convert software.
I basically just clicked through the options. There were a lot of choices to crop images, change orientation, check the content, all that sort of thing.
I would say that I took about five minutes (after creating the scans), just clicking through the tabs and then uploading it to Amazon.
That last part is important…the Kindle friendly file is available to me through my Kindle account, like a book would be that I bought through the Kindle store.
It would not be easy for me to use this software to create a file and distribute it to people not on the account.
So, how did it do?
It took about ten minutes for the scanned file to show up on my
That’s not too bad, although it does mean that a 200 page book might take 200 minutes…over three hours. That might not be the case…the ten minutes may not have all been page per page time. There may be some processes that come at the beginning and end of that.
How was the scan?
Well, first, I’d better not judge this book by its cover, because it really messed up the cover! It only took a tiny section of the image.
That’s something I’m sure I could have adjusted if I’d taken the time to do that…maybe next time.
Pages of the book were pretty much perfect, which is quite impressive.
On other pages, there might be small errors: “bcast” instead of “beast”, for example. Again, I could have corrected that if I’d taken the time…I didn’t even run a spellcheck. Testing the spellcheck afterwards (you can go back in and edit the project in the software) it would have taken that long to adjust.
One page had a really failed section, with weird large characters that didn’t make words. I checked the page in the original hardback, and couldn’t see anything that caused it.
My guess? A bad scan…I may not have had the page flat enough or it might have moved.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the OCR! When it worked, it worked as well as any I’ve used. When it didn’t…well, my guess it that was more of an “operator error”, something I did (again, I did it with a minimal amount of care, to test it). The error rate, outside of the completely failed page, was quite low…certainly, I’d guess under 1%.
Here was the best part:
It worked with text-to-speech!
I expected that it would, but it was great to have the confirmation.
Text-to-speech is software which will read a book out loud to you. It can be blocked by a publisher (some big publishers do that with some of their books), and the software can’t pick words out of an image (which can be the case with graphic novels and some PDFs). This was just like any other book I would have gotten from the Kindle store…same controls, including speed.
I could also do lookup. That included Wikipedia and the dictionary…again, just like purchased books.
I could add notes and bookmarks, and had many of the same text setting options (size, color, spacing…even translation). What I didn’t have was the ability to choose a different font.
I would say that the software more than met my expectations.
I’m going to test it further (including taking pictures with my phone, rather than using the scanner), and will report back. I also have some magazines I want to try, and some personal items. For example, I have a scrapbook of pictures and newspaper articles which might make a nice book. 🙂
If you have any specific questions about Kindle Convert, feel free to let me know by commenting on this post.
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