When the books are received by 1DollarScan, the workers cut the spines off of them. This ensures that the pages of the book lay flat on the scanner, and makes it impossible to resell the hard copy of the book after it's been scanned. When the scanning's complete, the pages are shredded and recycled, ensuring that the owner only has access to one copy of their book: the freshly minted digital version, which can be downloaded as a PDF from the company's website via the user's password-protected account.
Prior art in Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End:
But this was like no stacks he had ever seen. The floor was draped in white tarpaulin. The air was hazy with drifting debris. He took a breath, smelled pine pitch and burnt wood -- and for a moment he couldn't stop coughing.
Brap, painfully loud now, coming from four aisles to his right. There were empty shelves here, a littering of paper scraps and deep dust.
Brrap. Against logic, sometimes recognition comes hard. But finally, Robert remembered the exact sound which that abrupt roar must be. He had heard it occasionally throughout his life, but always the machine had been outdoors.
Brrrap! A tree shredder!
Ahead of him, everything was empty bookcases, skeletons. Robert went to the end of the aisle and walked toward the noise. 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. Indistinct in the swirling haze, Robert could see two white-suited figures, their jackets labeled "Huertas Data Rescue". The two wore filter masks and head protectors. They might have been construction workers. In fact, this business was the ultimate in deconstruction: first one and then the other would pull books off the racks and toss them into the shredder's maw. The maintenance labels made calm phrases of the horror: The raging maw was a "NaviCloud custom debinder". The fabric tunnel that stretched out behind it was a "camera tunnel". Robert flinched from the sight -- and Epiphany randomly rewarded his gesture with imagery from within the monster: The shredded fragments of books and magazines flew down the tunnel like leaves in tornado, twisting and tumbling. The inside of the fabric was stitched with thousands of tiny cameras. The shreds were being photographed again and again, from every angle and orientation, till finally the torn leaves dropped into a bin just in front of Robert. Rescued data.
BRRRRRAP! The monster advanced another foot into the stacks, leaving another foot of empty shelves behind it. Almost empty. Robert stepped into the aisle and his hand caught on something lying on a shelf. It wasn't dust. It was half a page, a remnant of all the thousands of books that had already been sucked into the "data rescue" equipment. He waved it at the white-suited workers and screamed words that were lost in the noise of their shredder and the worm tunnel fans.