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Best scanner for books and magazines?

by emkj / April 8, 2011 11:48 AM PDT

I'm looking for a good scanner to convert my library of certain books and magazines into OCR'd PDFs, so something that can run b&w or grayscale text images quickly, has a frame that's flush to glass plate, a lid that's easy to get out of the way for thick books, and maybe an bigger than 8.5"x11" scan area would be ideal.

Up until now I've been using an Epson Perfection 1240U, which has a 8.75"x12" scan area, but is slow and noisy to run continuously. Plus the underside of the glass is in pretty bad shape. (I don't want to risk taking it apart to clean it until I have another scanner to take it's place.)

So, if anyone here has had good experiences with a particular scanner doing this kind of work, I'd love to hear your recommendations!

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Sorry but this area is full of road stops.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 8, 2011 3:37 PM PDT
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I have the same issue, and have decided on the camera method
by ParrotSlave / May 18, 2011 5:34 AM PDT

To avoid damage to the spine of books, as well as ease in getting overly large books scanned, using a camera makes the most sense. One good website devoted to that method is at I have an old Canoscan 8400F, which still works, and, contrary to Microsoft's occasion notifications that it is incompatible with Vista, actually works with Vista. But it is extremely awkward to use for any large projects. I have decided to go with the camera method, and am looking for the perfect camera to use to scan some 50+ year old fragile paperbacks. I would prefer a camera that is tethered, but I have been informed that I cannot control the focus via the tether, so I am hoping to get info on a camera that has a remote that can control the focus if necessary, and can be tethered, so I can see a preview on the pc screen and record directly to my pc. Then I could either make pdfs out of the images, or run ocr on the images. I doubt that the ocr route would work, since I would have to re-read every one of the books to correct the typos.

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Destructive, but effective and faster
by Lamed_Vavnik / August 5, 2012 4:49 AM PDT


The best way I have devised to scan a book was born out of necessity, but is destructive of the hard copy, although not obliterative.

1. Use grips to hold a book to a piece of wood or a workbench with at least a third of an inch of the binding extending out beyond the cutting surface lined up straight with the edge of the board or workbench.

2. Use a jigsaw with a sufficiently long blade or a circular saw and saw through the book along the straight line.

3. Remove the grips and separate the covers from the rest of the pages.

4. Make sure the pages are even towards where the binding was cut.

5. Scan the cover on a flatbed scanner and save into a common directory.

6. Utilize the OCR / PDF scanning software of your choice that is most compatible with your scanner and operating system.

7. Load the book into the autoloader on the scanner (obviously, this assumes you have access to one). Most autoloaders will not accommodate an entire book. So, I suggest scanning the book by chapters.

8. Compile the book into a single unified .pdf with OCR text behind the image as well as chapter specific .pdf files with OCR text behind the image.

9. Duct Tape binding on the hard copy! It fixes book boo-boos.

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