Scan a Bed Time Story for Me, Daddy

By | February 17, 2009


This is up there among the lamest products of the year: a scanner that will convert a book to speech.

Well actually, it sounds quite good. I’d imagined a device that could flip the pages over while you sit back nursing a Scotch. When everything’s done the scanner converts the text to “high quality speech with a lifelike voice” and you’re off, listening to The Little Prince while you’re driving/power walking/sleeping/making out/performing keyhole surgery.

Only you’re not: The Plustek BookReader does use only one button, and it does include a patented feature that means you don’t have those weird edges when you scan a book. But you still have to do it manually. A single page at a time.

I’m all for cutting steps out, and this cuts out a lot, but it sounds to me like this is for a very specialized market. Other than the visually impaired, how many people are going to scan a whole book? At a page every 15 seconds, by my calculations, it would still take more than an hour to scan a 300-page book.

Wouldn’t it be quicker to, er, just read it?

And yet Plustek reckon that

[t]he BookReader’s printed words into MP3 capability is designed for every age; parents who want to give their children the option to listen to books instead of just music, adults who wish to enjoy reading while driving or multi-tasking, and busy executives or medical professionals who find it easier to listen to their books and documents when they don’t have the time to read.

If they’re that busy I’m not sure they’re going to have the time to sit around scanning. If their lives are so full I’m not sure an extra device that requires them to turn a book around and flip pages is going to find a slot.

Plustek BookReader, a text to speech peripheral device with book edge scanning design!

6 thoughts on “Scan a Bed Time Story for Me, Daddy

  1. Luke Slomka

    maybe rich people will pay someone to scan their books for them, it could even be a business opportunity for someone

  2. Stuart

    Not just the visually impaired.
    – What about the poorly educated?
    – What about the dyslexics?
    – and I’m sure there are other valid uses.

    I once shared a flat with a dyslexic and frequently read his books on to dictaphone type tapes. Long, slow and boring process. Now all he’d need to do is turn pages and wait.

  3. Simran

    Hi jeremy!

    I totally agree with you regarding the device.

    There’s always a great pleasure in reading itself. And it definitely would be quicker to read.

    It would be a waste of time especially for people who are too busy. And as Luke said rich people would pay someone to scan the book for them.

    I would also like to highlight apart from this blog that I read ur posts in our daily newspaper Jakarta Post and i find them very useful and informative. thank you for keeping us posted!! 🙂

  4. warcraft gold

    I couldn’t imagine myself scanning those pages, that’s a waste of time. You can do more if you’d just buy a kindle for your kids.

  5. Cheese pizza

    Looking for a flat bed scanner that will scan and save super fast. Please give me some info!! Thank you all believe that the mechanical process of scanning takes


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