However, one day I realized that digital cameras nowadays are actually pretty decent scanners! You're not going to get super high quality scans like you would with a regular scanner, but you won't have to spend a day just to scan one book. In fact, I've scanned a 600+ page history book in under 2 hours!
In this instructable I will show you the methods I used to both capture every page of a book with a digital camera, and later process the images into a readable PDF file using cheap/free software.
This information is for educational purposes only. I am in no way responsible for anything illegal you do with this knowledge.
Step 1: Theory and Materials
Digital Camera - It doesn't need to have too many fancy features, but it does have to have some way of triggering it remotely. My camera has 6 megapixels and the images turned out pretty readable (I wouldn't recommend any lower than 6, though it never hurts to try).
Tripod - A basic tripod with adjustable legs.
Remote control / Cable release - You need some way of firing the camera without touching it. This is important because of two reasons. Firstly, you don't want shaky images. Second, and more importantly, you're going to want to move as little as possible between flipping the pages and firing the camera. You will to be making the same motion hundreds of times, and having to get up and fire your camera, or reach in awkward positions will definitely wear you out. If you don't have a remote control or shutter release cable, there are a bunch of instructables showing you how to make your own =).
A heavy weight - The tripod is going to be in an awkward position and will need extra support on the back leg to stop it from falling over.
Lighting - At least two lights are recommended. You also may need something to diffuse the lighting, like wax paper.
A PC - Preferably windows based (software will be described below).
These programs are required if you want to turn your book into an Adobe PDF file for easy reading.
Snapter - This is an EXTREMELY useful program I was very lucky to find. It makes cropping all of your images into separate pages very easy, and it's pretty cheap ($50 - about half the price of the average textbook). Sorry Linux and Mac people, this program only works on windows. If you don't want to use snapter, there are programs that can do batch processing, but these require little bit more effort.
Bullzip - This free program lets you compile all your pictures into a PDF file. Bullzip is also windows only but there are plenty of alternatives for Linux and Mac.