DIYBookscanner: We Can Build Our Own Stuff

(*I originally posted this on

Dan Reetz is something like a genius*. He built the DIYBookscanner from materials that he found in a dumpster in Fargo, N.D.

DIYBookscanner by Daniel Reetz and company.

As discussed in this NYT article, Innovation Far Removed From the Lab, consumer modification and innovation is developing at an accelerated rate.

Here are some choice nuggets from the article (after the break):

“This democratization of innovation has potentially critical implications for innovation policy.”


“The Internet is an obvious engine of consumer innovation in the digital realm. Twitter’s List and Retweet features, for example, were inspired by users. While consumers have always fiddled with products, the Web makes it so much easier for people with similar interests to come together and form online communities like DIYbookscanner.

The very study of collaborative user innovation is a relatively new phenomenon that began only in the mid-1990s when advocates for open-source software began to argue that computer code should be freely available for thousands of independent minds to play with and improve. “They overturned the widely held model,” Ms. Baldwin said.

The Western tradition of the isolated heroic genius toiling away in a lab or study is based on myth as much as fact, she added. That model has had a powerful impact, helping to discount the more collaborative aspects of innovation, but it is “completely dated,” Ms. Baldwin said”

So basically this natural creative tendency among normal people means that soon we’ll be building our own computers – many people already do this – and building our own ereader devices, phones, etc…

Innovation, collaborative creative research in online communities by people from around the world with the same interests.

Putting to bed the notion of proprietary IP. DRM, traditional notions of copyright, discarded and unnecessary barriers to normal people pursuing their consitutuionally protected desires.

Maybe? Maybe not. Maybe sometimes? Maybe always.

*ALSO: The first time that I came across Dan Reetz was via his mindblowingly transgressive You Are Not Dead project. Amazing book + amazing downtempo soundtrack. Check it out. It’s at or approaching the next level.

You Are Not Dead: Fake Corporation

Sean Cranbury is the Executive Editor of Books on the Radio. He's also Founder and Creative Director of the Real Vancouver Writers' Series. Sean is General Manager at the legendary Storm Crow Tavern and consults with literary arts organizations on digital communications strategies.

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