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Old 10-11-2008, 10:10 AM   #1
Bob Russell
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OpticBook 3600 for $229.99 at TigerDirect

If you are looking for a very nice book scanner, and you have a compatible version of Windows, now might be a good time to buy. The Plustek OpticBook 3600 is available at TigerDirect for $229.99 after instant savings.

For those of you who are not familiar with the device, it stands out because it is a flat bed scanner with excellent edge scanning capabilities, so you can scan a book easily without having problems with the scan in the binding area. It also makes the process less destructive on the book being scanned (you don't have to force it flat on the glass to scan it). And it comes with a great suite of software to finish the job.

TigerDirect lists compatible versions of Windows as Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows ME. Don't know if it can work on Vista or not.

It's a little smaller than a multifunction printer, but it's not small. So you'll also need a place to put it near your computer. To be honest, if I had a nice place in my office to tuck it, I'd buy one myself. It's a great product!

I don't know if they have an updated version of the product or not, but I would like to see them on the market. Regular flatbed scanners are a pain to use. Auto sheet feeder scanners are nice if you can cut apart and destroy a book. And overhead camera systems are probably going to be the best answer in the future, but for some reason I haven't seen any cheap options yet so that will probably taka a while, and binding issues will still remain.

Hey, you bargain hunters might even find a used one out there for more savings.

Links...
Plustek Product Page
Tiger Direct Product Page
Previous MR review
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:56 AM   #2
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We have one in my company for 3 years now and it rocks!
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:32 PM   #3
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I've had that scanner for about two years now, and I scanned/OCRed 119 magazine stories on it for the 5-book Carl & Jerry series that I published in 2007. The device got a great deal of action and never misbehaved in any way. It comes with FineReader Sprint 5.0, which probably has the lowest OCR error rate of anything I've tried. This has been true even for material printed on badly yellowed 120-year-old paper printed with archaic fonts and scattered with pen scribbles in the margins, with the bonus that the old books and journals I've scanned tend to survive the process intact.

It doesn't do quite as good a job scanning photographs as my HP flatbed, but for extracting text from old books that can't be spreadeagled on a conventional scanner there is absolutely nothing like it. I have quibbles about the language-free UI on the control software, but with a little study and an hour to practice you'll pick it up. Highly recommended.
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Old 10-11-2008, 03:37 PM   #4
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I bought one and recieved it 2 days ago (not from tigerdirect but from a european reseller for a total of 225€ including shipment what was the cheapest I could find in Europe).

I am totaly amazed with what I tried so far, scanned 2 books with a trialversion of Finereader 9 and it worked like a charm.

The only downside is that the "Action Express"-software that should allow to map the scanners buttons to start specific applications does not detect finereader 9 as an ocr-software (only the included fr5) and I could not find a way to make it work.
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Old 10-11-2008, 05:33 PM   #5
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I've had mine for years... love it for books and such. Use another scanner for anything else.

It's important to note this scanner is NOT Mac compatible. I have to use it with Windows under virtualization.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:08 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info. It'd be nice to have one of these in the future.

What's the maximum page size that will fit the scanner?
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:05 AM   #7
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I've had mine for several years and love it. No problems with the software working on a Vista laptop I have, though of course I'd rather have it be able to work on a Mac.
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:09 AM   #8
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What's the maximum page size that will fit the scanner?
A4. About 12 in by 8.5 in.
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:49 AM   #9
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A4. About 12 in by 8.5 in.
Thanks, jljones.
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:38 AM   #10
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Here you have the specs:
http://www.plustek.com/product/book3600_spec.asp
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Old 10-12-2008, 12:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pulp View Post

I am totaly amazed with what I tried so far, scanned 2 books with a trialversion of Finereader 9 and it worked like a charm.
How much time do you approximately invest in the scanning of a typical book.. lets say 150 pages?
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:33 PM   #12
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Hour, hour and a half? It really depends on getting into the "flow" of it. I usually sit down with a movie, get it going, and then just enjoy the movie. By the time it's over I almost always have 200-250 pgs done.
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:08 PM   #13
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I checked at Newegg and Amazon. Both are selling the 3600 Plus for a bit more. The reviews also complain about software stability and say to factor in the cost of good OCR software.
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:46 PM   #14
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There is no need to go for the plus version - basically you get PDF creation, and loose TIFF image creation, the de facto standard for matrix images in digitizing projects.

The OCR that comes with scanners is always almost useless, or at least a curiosity, for any serious work.
Normally you get versions of known packages - in this case Finereader 5.
The actual latest version is Finereader Pro 9, and it’s zillion years ahead from version 5 in accuracy and quality.
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:08 PM   #15
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I generally use Adobe Acrobat (full version). It works pretty well.

And generally, in a pinch, the OCR software with it isn't that bad.
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