Amazon is in the business of selling books printed on paper and eBooks that you can read on a Kindle. Now the company’s also offering a new tool that you can use to convert your physical books into eBooks.

Kindle Convert is a Windows application that lets you take scans of your books and convert them into digital files you can read on a Kindle device or using the Kindle app on your phone, tablet, or PC.

Sound too good to be true? Well, it kind of is… because Kindle Convert is really just a tool for making sure your books are formatted properly. You still have to do just about everything manually.

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That means you’ll need to physically scan every page of the book you want to convert — and that can take a really long time if you have a typical flatbed scanner.

Once the pages are scanned, Kindle Convert can use optical image recognition technology to change the scanned images to words… but you’ll need to highlight the text on each page so the software knows where to look.

When you’re done converting eBooks you can send them to your Kindle.

All told, you could easily spend as much time scanning and converting a book as it would take to just read the thing.

Still, if you’ve got a lot of free time on your hands, or books that you really want to preserve digitally and which might not otherwise be available in eBook form, Kindle Convert for PC is available from Amazon for $19 and supports Windows 7 and later.

On the other hand if you just want digital copies of books you already own and don’t have a big collection of rare titles, you can check out Bitlit. It’s a service that lets you get free eBooks of titles you already own, but Bitlit only has a catalog of about 75,000 books.

Amazon’s Kindle MatchBook service also lets you buy eBook versions of thousands of different titles for $2.99 or less if you’ve purchased a physical copy from Amazon.

via The Digital Reader

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