I interviewed Ryan Brusuelas of 1DollarScan, a service that's making it easier than ever to get rid of the paper in your life.
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Ari: Hi, welcome to the podcast. Today we are talking with Ryan Brusuelas from 1dollarscan.com. Hi Ryan.
Ryan: Hey, how’s it going Ari?
Ari: Good, thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us. Why don’t you start off by telling everybody what 1dollarscan is.
Ryan: So, one dollar scan is a service that digitizes paper content. People mail in books. Our specialty is books but we will do photos and documents and other things like that. The book is mailed in and we actually cut the book and then the book is fed into a scanner and it’s done pretty quickly. People can pick and archive their books and then we add an OCR on top of it so the contents are now searchable. Then they could store all of their books and access them at any time. And it frees up space and those types of things. That’s a very brief summary of what 1dollarscan is.
Ari: Okay, so is 1dollarscan just a great marketing name or is it actually $1 to scan a book?
Ryan: So, the way it works is $1 for 100 pages. It’s still pretty cheap but I believe honestly, and not just saying that because I work here. The one thing about 1dollarscan and this whole thing of book scanning, the history started in Japan. Book scanning became really popular there and . . . . how can I say this . . . the infrastructure and the process for it was developed there. There’s a company book scan that became very popular in Japan and people were familiar with scanning their own books already. Some of these guys from Japan decided that the US seems like a big market to try this out and it seems like a service people might want. So, it’s been interesting though. A lot of people aren’t used to having their books cut. So that’s one thing. We don’t want to cut every book but if you have lots of copies or it’s only for content then this will probably be something you’d want to try out.
Ari: So, this obviously isn’t for somebody who has like a rare book collection and wants to keep archives of that. This is somebody maybe has their own book or maybe they have some old textbooks that you don’t necessarily need the physical copy any more. That kind of thing?
Ryan: Exactly, yeah. And we get a lot of people, a lot of graduate students who have collected tons of books over the years and they don’t want to keep it in their apartment or their house and then sometimes we have people drop off hundreds of books at a time. We have people that have scanned like small libraries, some law offices that have scanned their law books and all sorts of things. Sometimes people use the service if they can’t find something that’s available in like a kindle format, something like that, and they will order the book on Amazon or an online book store and send it to us directly. So it comes directly from the online book store then we cut it and scan it and then we deliver them the file.
Ari: So you’re not giving books back because they’ve been cut so do you guys recycle them or what?
Ryan: Yeah, we do recycle them. We technically feel that we could give them back but it’s kind of . . . it’s not good because we don’t want multiple copies floating around and it’s not good for anyone. Everyone kind of, it’s kind of lose, lose for us publishers and we don’t want to upset anybody. We were trying to make or run a legitimate business. We don’t want to get on the bad side of anybody, so.
Ari: Yeah, that totally makes sense. And then you are delivering them in pdf format and they have ocr on them so you can actually….they become searchable, right?
Ryan: You can choose not to have ocr and then there’s memberships and things like that that have extra options. It’ll be done quicker. It’ll be put ahead higher priority than other orders and things like that. So, there’s a lot of options to look at. We also do high quality scanning like if somebody really wants 600dpi on a book. I think most of the time it’s 300dpi, it’s pretty good but certain things if you really want it scanned nice, we have options like that.
Ari: And obviously it’s not just…..you said that you do photos too but somebody could send in a 70 page document or something if they wanted, right? That would be fine?
Ryan: Yeah, yeah we do that. We do all kinds of business documents. Sometimes, in the future, we might focus more on that if we feel like it or right now all the experience has been mostly with books. We've been really focused on that. It’s a huge market and we’ve only been around for about a little more than a year in the US. I came to the company in March but it was around the end of 2011 that the company was started in the US.
Ari: What is the process of getting this updated? Does someone have to box things up or organize them in a proper way for you? What’s that process like?
Ryan: Oh, when somebody sends a book to us?
Ryan: We usually ask people to send it by media mail, that’s usually the cheapest way to send it. That’s USPS, they offer this service. It’s really cheap. It’s use media mail. It’s for any educational content and book count has that. So that’s one option. As far as actually packaging, we don’t really care. We don’t like ……because it makes the office really messy but it’s fine if that’s all someone has. We’ll take it, it doesn’t really matter. We just ask that people package them securely because sometimes they do get tossed around a lot. But books are pretty tough, so. I’ve seen some pretty messed up packages from . . . we get stuff from Africa and China, all over the world. I’ve seen some pretty messed up packages. I’ve never really seen a book that got really damaged from the shipping. So I guess I would just tell somebody to package securely, but it should be okay.
Ryan: Everything is done out of San Jose. We have only about 20 employees right now and some of these employees are actually, we call the checks, they are checking everything. Kind of a quality check through all the files to make sure that everything is scanned properly. So there are other services that do scanning but we honestly believe that we are the most affordable one and we do have that quality check. We don’t just like send it out without checking it.
Ari: Yeah, I can say from personal experience that my book that was published on green building materials. I had sent that in to be scanned by you guys; it came back absolutely perfect. It was a totally fine experience for me. Going paperless is a huge aspect as far as this is concerned that could push people to do that. I thank you for help bring in a service like this to us. As someone who works for a company that I believe is about productivity, what are your top 3 productivity tips that you use to keep sort of efficient and effective?
Ryan: Well, I wish I would take some of your seminars and read some more of your stuff before I answer this question because I need to read your blog to get better tips. Of course the main thing I think is writing everything down, for me. Somehow, like Google, like excel sheet on Google or spreadsheet, something like that. Being very realistic on time. That’s another big one for me because I always try to cram too much at once and then it just ends up failing on everything. So I think being realistic on time is kind of like the key is not to cram too much stuff in at once. You actually get more things done I believe. Just in general setting up realistic goals throughout your day; instead of trying to do 30 things, maybe only try to just do a few . I think pacing and timing, it’s like running a race or something, you don’t just run fast the whole time. So, I believe those three things really helped me with being productive.
Ari: Those are great examples, so thank you for that. So, for people to sign up or try out the service they go to where?
Ryan: Yeah, so the url is 1dollarscan.com and it’s just the number one and then dollarscan is spelled out. It’s pretty easy to sign up. It doesn’t cost you anything to sign up; you don’t have to become a member. You don’t have to sign up for a membership or anything. You can sign up for free and then check out whatever you want to do. Please email us with any questions. If anybody out there has any questions, I’ll be glad to help them.
Ari: Great. Well, thank you so much Ryan for your time and telling us about a great service that I have used myself. Thank you.
Ryan: Thanks a lot for having me on the show. I appreciate it.