Top 10 Best Book Scanner (Automatic Overhead & Flatbed)
With the new technology advancements, affordable book scanning options are now available.
A dedicated book scanner is not like your ordinary document scanner. Why? Because books do not have a flat surface and are difficult to scan on a flatbed scanner.
Obviously, Johannes Gutenberg did not have this in mind when he invented the folding book form 600 years ago.
Most MPFs or Multifunction printers have all the things you may be looking for—built-in scanners, sheet feeders, flatbeds and ADFs.
However, if you want to be really efficient at scanning books, you’d want a special scanner. It’s a good thing there are several good options in the market, and we rounded up the 10 of the best below.
Table of Contents
- 1 Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 Book scanner – Touch-free, Multi-purpose Revolutionary Scanner
- 2 Innovative A shaped Scanner – Quick, Precise, Portable Budget-Friendly Scanning
- 3 CZUR ET16 Plus CZUR Book & Document Scanner – Smart and Easy to Use Scanner
- 4 Aibecy Portable Document Camera Scanner – Practical and Straightforward Scanner for Low-level Needs
- 5 Plustek OpticBook 3900 Scanner – Mac Compatible Feature-packed Flatbed Scanner
- 6 Plustek OpticSlim 2610 Color – Easy to Use Scanner with a Specialized Lid for Thick Book Scans
- 7 Plustek A3 Flatbed Scanner – The Artist’s Dream Large Format Scanner
- 8 IPEVO V4K Ultra High Definition USB Document Camera – High Resolution Scans and Multi-functionalities
- 9 IRIScan Book 5 Mobile Handheld Scanner – Portable, Handy and Fast
- 10 IPEVO Ziggi-HD High-Definition USB Document Camera – Excellent Document Scanner for Educators
- 11 Buyer’s Guide & Frequently Asked Questions
- 12 Conclusion
Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 Book scanner – Touch-free, Multi-purpose Revolutionary Scanner
Don’t let its seemingly flimsy looks fool you, this machine packs a whole slew of features that makes this book scanner worth every single penny.
This overhead scanner can digitize books up to 30mms thick and can take on oversized documents because of its design. That’s just the peak of the iceberg though.
After unboxing the SV600, you can have it up and running in just a few minutes. Just install the Fujitsu ScanSnap software into your computer, then place the base of the scanner on the black mat that came with the package, then connect it to your computer’s USB.
Because of its design, you can scan books large books even with heavy binding.
Just place the book flat on the black mat, and use the text mark on the scanner to center the book. Press the large button to start scanning.
In seconds, the rotating head will produce a white light that will pass from the top to the bottom of the book. When you turn the page, the scanner will work on the next two pages immediately.
The SV600 can scan items up to 17in x 11.8in, so you won’t have to worry about cutting or folding your original materials. Finally, a librarian’s dream machine—no more damaged book bindings!
Innovative A shaped Scanner – Quick, Precise, Portable Budget-Friendly Scanning
The unique shape is designed so that the user can cleanly scan books face down without shadows and distortion.
The scan results are precise and clear thanks to its 5.0m pixel resolution, and no loading time is required because the digital content is displayed on its electronic board.
When you place the book on the scanner, the contents will be automatically captured and saved on your computer.
This scanner is a perfect choice for students, presenters and teachers who need a budget-friendly scanner for projects and presentations.
Another great thing about this scanner is its ability to search the Internet if information is needed. It also allows immediate search for information on the text scanned.
The embedded OCR function allows for quick extraction and conversion of text to text file, MS Word or PDF.
CZUR ET16 Plus CZUR Book & Document Scanner – Smart and Easy to Use Scanner
Its scan time is under 1.5 seconds for materials such as magazines, books and documents with great results thanks to its automatic image enhancement, curve distortion flattening and OCR.
The device features a top-mount 16mp first-rate Sony CMOS camera sensor which makes it ideal for scanning artwork and small 3D objects.
It comes with a black mat that helps in the detection of document edges.
The overhead scanner enables to user to capture both book pages at the same time. The maximum width is A3, so you wouldn’t need to remove pages from a bound book or un-staple document pages.
Aibecy Portable Document Camera Scanner – Practical and Straightforward Scanner for Low-level Needs
Photo capturing is also supported as well as PDF creation. Its CMOS camera is 10megapixel and scanning is high speed at 1 second per scan.
Plustek OpticBook 3900 Scanner – Mac Compatible Feature-packed Flatbed Scanner
The optical resolution is 1200 dots per inch and the color depth is 48-bit, resulting to more vivid images and accurate colors. Its scan speed is 7 seconds for a 300 dpi scan.
The flatbed glass measures 8.5 inches by 11.7 inches, which is ideal for scanning A4 and letter sized documents.
This flatbed scanner is great for budget-conscious users and ideal for libraries, home use, teachers, law offices, universities and students who want to convert magazines, books and other bound materials into digital form.
Plustek OpticSlim 2610 Color – Easy to Use Scanner with a Specialized Lid for Thick Book Scans
It is also capable of 1200 dpi scanning of A4-sized documents with vivid and sharp results. Because it is compact at 3.3cm, it is highly portable and can easily fit your laptop bag.
Plustek A3 Flatbed Scanner – The Artist’s Dream Large Format Scanner
The scanner features a bundled software that includes document management, image processing, PDF creation, OCR and TWAIN driver.
IPEVO V4K Ultra High Definition USB Document Camera – High Resolution Scans and Multi-functionalities
This means that even the tiniest detail of your original document can be scanned flawlessly and without any pixilation.
It is great for live presentations, scanning different types of documents, magazines, OCR text, photos, books and even QR codes.
IRIScan Book 5 Mobile Handheld Scanner – Portable, Handy and Fast
It is handy and small enough that you just need to roll it across the document you need to scan.
Lightning fast at 1 second per scan, you will instantly get 1200dpi high resolution results.
This scanner features a high quality optical sensor and rollers under the scanner so scanning books and other documents is very easy.
IPEVO Ziggi-HD High-Definition USB Document Camera – Excellent Document Scanner for Educators
This is an ideal choice for presenters, teachers and businesspeople.
It is very versatile—the Ziggi HD can capture small text in brochures, fine artwork details and intricate science diagrams in different sizes up to A3 sheets.
The multi-jointed stand allows the user to position the camera where it is needed. The swiveling head is highly adjustable so that the right angle and orientation you require is achieved.
Buyer’s Guide & Frequently Asked Questions
Flat Bed VS Overhead?
All book scanners use high resolution line cameras and use a moving light bar from powerful LEDs. Take note that there are “scanners” that are just using a one-shot camera, which in essence is just a digital camera mounted on a frame.
This is not a scanner and you might end up wasting your money on it. Keep in mind that a digital camera is designed to take photos of objects, and is not designed to replace a book scanner.
Although you can use a flatbed scanner to scan a book by pressing it flat out against the scanner’s glass plate, the risk of damaging the book’s spine is higher and the results may not be as perfect as you require.
There are scanners that scan the book from above, just like when you are reading it.
Is previously mentioned, traditional flatbed scanners are not the best option if you are strictly going to scan books. Flatbed scanners are specifically designed for documents, so the page curve near the book binding will cause issues.
The edge text will be shadowed and distorted because of the uneven surface, making the results difficult to read. If you convert the scanned version using some programs such as OCR, this will also pose a difficulty.
Pressing the book against the glass plate will also damage the book spine, and this is a big problem especially if you intend to scan antique, first edition and precious hardbound books.
Why in the world should you scan books?
Scanning a 200-page novel or book can sound like a lot of work, so why do you think anyone would bother to do so?
There are many out-of-print publications and books that people may still want to access regularly. For example, a student on 17th century history wouldn’t want to lug around heavy books on the subject.
The ideal choice would be to have a digitized version of the subject ready at their disposal.
A scanned book also allows a reader to quickly scan the contents for a particular text or phrase. This way, you wouldn’t have to flip through numerous pages to find the reference you are looking for.
Scanning books into digital versions also lets you read the book anytime, anywhere, especially for those who like reading when traveling.
Another advantage of scanning books is the freedom it affords to have hundreds of books in your digital device, at your disposal. You don’t need book shelves, or to have your own library at home.
Even mobile phones can store thousands of PDFs and other digitized book formats that can be easily accessed with an e-book reading app.
Converting your physical books and documents into a digital form will also help you clear out important space at home. Not only that, you would also be able to protect your important documents, treasured books, valuable journals, family photos and even receipts.
Scanning these will help you preserve them for a long time.
Important Factors to Consider Before You Buy a Scanner
Using the right book scanner will make your preservation and conversion to digitized version tasks easier, for a long time. But if you buy the wrong one, then you’d end up wasting your money on an expensive paperweight.
Here are key factors to ask yourself and answer before buying a book scanner.
What documents or media am I planning to scan?
Determining your requirements is the primary factor here. Do you need to just scan unbound pages, photos and/or documents only? Or do you need to scan bound books, film, magazines, or business cards? Do you need to scan both pages?
If you need to scan unique items such as artwork, passports or tachographs, there are specific book scanners for these.
Do you intend to scan 100 pages or more each day, with different sized documents (A3 or A4)? Then you should be prepared to spend a bit more on a book scanner that features the “folio-mode” which enables the user to fold the A3 sheet. The scanner software will piece the two images together into one document.
What kind of scanning output do I see in the coming months?
It is usually better to buy a high-quality and durable machine that is capable of scanning a huge amount of magazines and booklets right at the onset, because you will surely likely find more and more books and documents to scan.
However, gauge your projected needs within the next 6 months so you won’t have to spend more than necessary.
Do I need a sheet feeder?
If you plan to scan documents longer than two pages on a regular basis, like in a home-office type of situations, then YES, you need a sheet feeder.
This way, you won’t have to open the scanner lid every single time. Just imagine having to repeat the process 20 times for a 20 page document!
Choose a manual sheet feeder if you will be scanning just 1 or 2 pages at a time. For longer documents that you need to do on a regular basis, you need an ADF or an automatic document feeder that can scan a whole stack of pages even without supervision.
Be on the lookout for the ADF Capacity of the machine. This should be based on the number of documents or pages you expect to scan on a regular basis.
Should I care about Duplexing?
If you need to scan both sides of a page simultaneously, you would need a Duplex scanner. This is your typical book scanner installed with a driver that allows you to use the manual and duplex feature.
If you have a few dollars to spare, it is better to spend a bit more on a duplex scanner than having to need it in the future and not having it.
There are high-end scanners that have two scan elements, which are a lot faster compared to a simple Duplexing ADF.
How are they different? The regular duplexing ADF will scan one side; turn over the page, then scans the other page.
The high end two-scan scanners will scan one side of an entire stack, will then prompt you to flip the stack over and scan the other side after re-feeding it. You won’t have to worry about interfiling the pages because the machine will do it for you.
What resolution do I need?
For most books and documents, you won’t need to worry about resolution. But for important papers like tax documents, a 200ppi (pixel-per-inch) scanner just won’t cut it.
The best way to go is to choose ones that have 600ppi, which is great for fine prints and blowing up photos.
If your original document is, for example, a 35mm negative, you would need to print them at a larger size than its original.
This means you will need a high resolution to get a decent result. For scanning stamps with fine details, you also have to scan them at a high resolution as well, so you’ll need a scanner that has not less than 4800ppi.
What software will I need?
Most of the newer hardcover book scanner models already come with scan-related software so you won’t have to pay extra.
It all boils down to what you plan to scan because there are features such as OCR or optical character recognition, photo editing, text indexing, PDF document search and business-card archiving that are not built into the installed scanner software.
Do I need a scanner that serves a special purpose?
Lastly, you have to consider whether you will have need for special-purpose scanning such as business cards, slides, stamps, tax documents, and of course books.
For business cards, you’d need a small and portable scanner.
For slides, there are scanners that are smaller than flatbeds that are highly recommended for this particular requirement.
And of course there are top-view scanners for books that cannot lie flat on a flatbed.
The other types are portable scanners which are small enough to fit in a laptop bag. There are also pen scanners that allows you to hold and trace over the text that you need to scan.
There are newer models that are stand-alone and can be operated even without a computer, and some that can scan from information fed by a smartphone.
With so many choices and models in the market, choosing the best book scanner may seem like a daunting task. The goal is to NOT waste money on a scanner that you’ll end up using as a dust collector.
It is best to assess your needs—both immediate and future—as well as doing your research so that you can make an informed decision.
Which book scanner from the list above do you think is your top choice? Tell us about it!