In Observer 13.10.13, James Bridle pointed to two ways of digitising your own manuscripts or old books.
One was to use a surprisingly cheap scanning service at
Another was to build your own scanning set-up, to one of various designs explained at

BOOKS * FINDING is a book-finding service, now taken over by amazon
also possibly useful (quotes taken fm 23/9/6):
* : “Amazon is all well and good, but abebooks is where you find the best stuff. Not so much a retailer as a marketplace, this site is a hotline to thousands of rare and second-hand bookshops all over the world. A brilliantly flexible advanced search engine means you can look for a signed first edition of the Four Quartets with the same ease you can seek out a three-dollar Jim Thompson paperback.”
* : “The original digital library. Since its foundation in 1971, Project Gutenberg has relied on volunteer labour to distribute – for free, in simple electronic form – as many out-of-copyright books as it possibly can.”
* : “The British Library’s website, invaluable for serious researchers, is handy for the general public too. You can search the Integrated Catalogue free of charge, which means you can lay your hands on details of pretty much anything published in English. If you don’t have a reader’s ticket, the ISBN will help you find it elsewhere. If you do, and you’re in striking distance of the BL, you’re in business. It also includes information about the library, events, digital online texts of many important works (Chaucer in facsimile, for example), and a bookshop full of goodies.”
* : “The Poetry Archive boasts of being ‘the world’s premier online collection of recordings of poets reading their work’. With the backing of Andrew Motion, and with Seamus Heaney as president, this not-for-profit site is building an impressive library of readings (many specially commissioned for the archive) to bear out Heaney’s view of poetry as ‘memorable voice’. A service not just for posterity, but for anyone who believes poetry enters through the ear.
* : “An unshowy resource for the book lover, the Complete Review lets you check and compare book reviews across the board. Contrary to what its name suggests, it’s far from complete, but it digests reviews from a range of publications around the world, with ratings and quotes. Its Literary Saloon sub-site is a lively books blog, and another sub-site, Complete Review Quarterly, offers a magazine-style complement to the review end of things.”
* : “One of the more impressive online poetry resources, is a production of the Academy of American Poets, and it’s full of good things – features, archives, essays and recordings of readings. One of its cute features is the ability to search – by author, remembered phrases, or even moods – for a range of poets and poems.
* : “Jessa Crispin’s site offers a weekly webzine and daily blog, with contributions and reviews from a number of enthusiastic contributors. Saddos will be drawn in by the naked drawing of Ms Crispin; the higher-minded will be intrigued by gems such as the link to a New York Times article on Hugo Chavez’s bedside reading. And gosh, she posts often.
* : “One of the smartest and best-read of the literary blogs. Frequently updated, bright and wide-ranging, this is the work of a New York-based former lawyer and writer called Maud Newton. Running since 2002, it cheerily sidetracks into politics or general whimsy, but its main focus is books. Hip, home-made, and fun.
* : “Plenty of authors now have websites, but the Scottish writer AL Kennedy’s is one of the best and most entertaining. What marks it out particularly is her pugnacity. In the Reviews section, she divides her critics into Good, Bad and Silly, quotes their remarks on her work, and Ð if the mood takes her Ð either thanks them or tears into them. Lazy or careless critics beware.


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