The big digital news these days is Google's ambitious plan to digitize the collections of five top libraries: Stanford, Harvard, Oxford, the University of Michigan, and the New York Public Library. The project eventually will allow any Internet user anywhere in the world to search inside millions of volumes, seeing the pages exactly as they appeared in the originals, complete with illustrations, charts and photos. Now, I myself much prefer the actual feel of a book when reading and I doubt I will ever give in to reading digitized versions of books ~ I stare at a computer screen all day at work, why do it when I want to relax and read? But, the searchable aspect of the project is a big-deal and I can see the advantage to searching books online.
Anyway, Stanford has 8 million volumes, Michigan has 7 million, the other three libraries will participate only with a limited part of their collections. The job of scanning the books, for now, will remain low-tech: human operators will stand at the scanner, turning the pages of each book. An operator can get through about 50 books in a workday. At that rate, with, say, 20 people working every single day of the year, digitizing 7 million volumes would take 19 years!