Eye Scan

Book Scanning: Step 3, Use ABBYY for OCR to produce an eBook

In a previous post, I walked through how to pre-process the captured content to maximize successful optical character recognition (OCR) . In this post, we’ll use ABBYY FineReader for optical character recognition (OCR) to produce an eBook.

Getting a physical book onto your Kindle requires 3 basic steps:

  1. Capture the book content using a camera.
  2. Pre-process the captured content using Scan Tailor.
  3. Use ABBYY FineReader for optical character recognition (OCR) to produce an eBook.

In this post, I’ll be covering step 3.

Materials

3 items are needed to produce an eBook  using the *.tiff files from step 2.

  1. ABBYY FineReader 11. ABBYY FineReader is “an optical character recognition (OCR) application developed by the Russian software company ABBYY.” We will be using it to process the *.tiff files and generate an ePub eBook.
  2. TIFF Image Files. You will need the *.tiff image files from step 2. These image files should all be residing in a single directory.
  3. Calibre. Calibre is a “free and open source e-book computer software that organizes, saves and manages e-books, supporting a variety of formats.” We will be using it to convert the ePub file to a .mobi file. Then we will use Calibre to sync the .mobi file to your Kindle.

Opening the generated *.tiff files

  1. Launch ABBYY FineReader.
  2. In ABBYY FineReader, click the Open button.
  3. Navigate to the directory containing the generated *.tiff files.
  4. Select all of them.
  5. Open them in ABBYY FineReader.

The Hard Part

  1. Verify that the text generated by the OCR process is what you want in your eBook.
  2. Depending on the quality of the *.tiff files, this may involve a lot of manual work.

Generating the ePub

  1. I’ve found the best FineReader format for getting onto the Kindle is ePub.
  2. By default, FineReader is configured to generate an MS Word file.
  3. Look for a Word icon in the toolbar labelled Save.
  4. Change this to ePub, but don’t generate just yet (click Cancel).
  5. Look for a wrench icon in the toolbar.
  6. Click on it, and configure the title and author of your book.
  7. Now, click on the ePub Save button.
  8. Voila, you’ve generated an ePub file!

Getting it onto your Kindle

  1. I’m a heavy user of Calibre.
  2. Import the newly genereted ePub.
  3. Convert it to the *.mobi format.
  4. Then sync it to your Kindle.

Enjoy reading your newly created eBook on your Kindle! 🙂

Disclaimer:  Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links (e.g. Amazon), and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.


About the Author

Ray Li

Ray is a software engineer and data enthusiast who has been blogging for over a decade. He loves to learn, teach and grow. You’ll usually find him wrangling data, programming and lifehacking.

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