If you cut off the spine of a book to digitize it, keep your legs out of the way

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us,
as we grasp them by the blade or the handle.
James Russell Lowell

Personally, I could not imagine reading books on paper anymore. I love that the iPad allows me to read books in the dark. That I can use a monitor/tablet arm to read books effortlessly while lying in my bed (see also this update). That I can highlight interesting passage and have the exported per eMail — no matter the length. That I can digitize any book within 10 to 20 minutes (see here and here) and let file size reduction and OCR run in the background.

However, be very careful to keep your leg out of the way when you use a cutter to remove the spine.

An hour or two ago, I digitized a book. It might have been book number 300 or 500, I don’t know. But it was the first time that drawing the cutter over the spine did not end with the cutter up in air. It ended with the cutter in my thigh.

While the blade buried itself in, it was only a superficial cut. Missed the veins or anything of importance. Some spilled blood, spread through the apartment when I started looking for some disinfectant and a band-aid, but nothing serious.

Still, a nice warning shot to be careful when you digitize books. If you run the blade across the spine, be sure that the legs are out of the way.