A prototype device uses a high-speed camera to record the pages that are revealed when you flip through a book, and then uses special software to digitize the book's contents.
(High speed camera scans, OCRs books )
By using a high-speed camera that shoots at 500 frames per second, lab workers Takashi Nakashima and Yoshihiro Watanabe can scan a 200-page book in under a minute. You just hold the book under the camera and flip through the pages as if shuffling a deck of cards. The camera records the images and uses processing power to turn the odd-shaped pictures into flat, rectangular pages on which regular OCR (optical character recognition) can be performed.
If this device could be commercialized, it would let you 'rip' a book in the same sense as you can rip a CD, digitizing its contents for easy storage on your computer.
We're getting closer to the science-fictional Navicloud Custom Debinder book scanner, described with book-torturing glee by Vernor Vinge in his excellent 2006 novel Rainbows End:
And now the ripping buzz of the saw was still louder, and there was also the sound of a giant vacuum cleaner...
The air was a fog of floating paper dust. In the fourth aisle, the space between the bookcases was filled with a pulsing fabric tube. The monster worm was brightly lit from within. At the other end, almost twenty feet away, was the worm's maw - the source of the noise... The raging maw was a "Navicloud custom debinder." The fabric tunnel that stretched out behind it was a "camera tunnel..." The shredded fragments of books and magazines flew down the tunnel like leaves in a tornado, twisting and tumbling. The inside of the fabric was stiched with thousands of tiny cameras. The shreds were being photographed again and again, from every angle and orientation...
(Read more about Vinge's Navicloud Custom Debinder)