Question Posed by Library User:
Why didn't Google put scanners on-site to reduce shipping costs and the time that books are out of circulation?
Excellent question! The scanning centers have a very large number of machines and operators. Google feels that this is a more efficient and quality-controlled model, even taking into account shipping costs, than having smaller localized centers.
If someone needs a book while it's out for scanning, they can place a hold on the item and they'll be notified when it's returned. Another option is to request a copy of the book through Interlibrary Loan: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/services/getting-materials/interlibrary-loan