What benefits does book scanning have for libraries?

How can book scanning benefit libraries?

In the three years from 2010 to 2013, the ebook market in the UK increased in value from practically nothing to more than £300 million, ­ an astounding leap that has sustained itself over the following few years, showing that ebooks are here to stay. 

With reader habits changing dramatically and reports even arising suggesting that the print book could die out for good ­ bookshop numbers have begun to decline in some parts of the country­ libraries need to make sure they are keeping up with the changing trends.

Most libraries now stock ebooks for their customers to download onto their Kindles or other ereader devices, but when it comes to their existing collection of books, what should be done?

Books have gone digital ­and there's no escaping it 

Like it or not, there's no escaping from the fact that ebooks have completely overtaken the reading market in the past few years.

Millions are now sold around the world each year, with many readers preferring to just carry a lightweight ereader in their bag than a heavy book or two, making ebooks particularly popular among students and academics. Many ebooks are also free to download, even from major retailers such as Amazon, meaning they are accessible to all.

Although some controversy surrounds this practice ­ not all authors receive a fair price for their books if they are distributed in this way,­ it is believed that it will encourage a greater number of people to read in the long run, particularly as many classic literature titles are available for free.

Ereaders also tend to come with a backlight, meaning it doesn't matter how dull it is where a person is reading, they'll still be able to see the words on their screen. Titles can be downloaded immediately onto ereaders as well, so customers don't need to wait several days or weeks for delivery and can begin getting stuck into a new read straight away.

What's more, for those always losing their bookmarks, ebooks take away that worry too, simply telling the reader what percentage of the way through a book they are instead. 

And of course, the paperless nature of ebooks brings with it benefits for the environment, suggesting that you can indeed change the world through the power of reading ­ but only if you do it in the right way.

Preserving history

On the other hand, many people believe that there are few scents better in life than the smell of a musty old book ­ or indeed the fresh fragrance of new paper and ink. But such titles cannot necessarily be sustained and preserved forever, particularly in today's increasingly digital age.

Yet by using book scanning to preserve historic titles, librarians and archivists can make sure their customers can continue to enjoy and learn from these books for generations to come.

Having a variety of ebook titles on offer at the library can significantly improve the borrowing experience for customers too. It allows them to access the latest titles straight away, alongside enabling several readers to enjoy the same book at the same time, so there's no risk of customers becoming disgruntled due to long waits to access a coveted title.

Due to government cuts, many libraries have either had to close or downsize in recent years, with some areas relying on a mobile library van that visits their local area only every couple of weeks or so. This means space is a significant issue, but by scanning books, local authorities can make sure their resources can still be accessed by customers in ebook form, meaning more titles can be available in total.

And, arguably more importantly, book scanning allows books to be preserved for the future. In today's digital age, it can be harder to interest young children in books, so if ebooks and scanned documents get them reading, that can only be a good thing.

Contact Storetec today to find out how our book scanning services could help your library.

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