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Save space by scanning books

A book shelf with plenty of space in it
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Free up space on your bookshelves by going digital

Some people yearn for that nostalgic feeling of holding a book in their hands and the musty smell of a favourite read. They have dreamed of their own private library, with shelves lining the walls from top to bottom. But in reality how many of us actually have the space for this indulgence? Modern houses are more likely to have a minimalist study area with a desk for a laptop and a wireless printer.

Let’s get digital

There are so many good reasons now to store printed material digitally; not least the fact that one whole tree is felled to provide the paper for just 60 books.

It is now possible to have your favourite tomes scanned and stored digitally. At the moment this is only legal if the book is out of copyright – that’s 70 years after the author’s death in the UK. But it’s still worthwhile getting something special and collectable scanned before you store it away. Take a look at sites like Digitise My Books .

If you already have too many books, next time you are choosing something to read consider downloading it instead – either onto your computer, mobile device or eBook reader. If you are stuck for space, take your old books to the charity shop (once they are open again) or put some of your original collection into storage – safe in the knowledge that you can download anything you feel the urge to revisit.

You can store thousands of books on one eBook reader and many downloads are cheaper than buying the bookshop copy – some are even free. You turn the pages digitally and if you adjust the brightness on your device you can read in the dark!

Looking online for a book opens a cavern of unexplored material. Project Gutenberg offers a library of more than 60,000 free eBooks. They are mostly US works published more than 95 years ago, to avoid copyright issues, but there are some real old favourites such as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Of course books are not the only written material to clog up our shelves and home offices. We accumulate all sorts of personal and household paperwork – everything from bank statements to important identification documents like passports.

Scanning services offer optical character recognition (OCR), which extracts printed material from documents and scanned images. This is converted into machine-readable text data which can be used and edited, in Word or Google Docs for instance.

If you decide to think more digitally in the future, make sure your original copies are kept safe and well preserved. If you put them into a storage facility, Keep an inventory of what you have packed away, and make sure you are fully insured – to cover the replacement value not the selling value of your goods.

How much is self-storage per month?

To discover how to work out the cost of your storage each month, see our blogpost. When you cost up your storage, don’t forget to factor in your storage insurance. Maybe you already have self-storage but are keen to find a better insurance deal. Often the insurance offerings recommended by storage facilities are not the most competitively priced, and you are not obliged to use them. Get an online quote from Store and Insure . And if you are already insured with us, don’t forget to let us know if you make any changes to what you have stored.