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Old 08-01-2010, 06:25 AM   #1
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good scanner for books ?

Hello. I am thinking about buying a new scanner.

So far I used 2 scanners to scan my books. My father has a scanner with an adf feeder. That one is good when it comes to cheap paperback books where I can rip the pages out.

Also I have a scanner of my own: a Canon Scanner 670. Overall it is pretty good, considering the fact that it is about 8-9 years old. I use this one for hardcover books.

However as you may know, when it comes to very thick books, laying the book flat on the scanner ain't so easy because of its spine. So I thought about getting a new flat-bed scanner that is specialized on books.

I know there is the Plustek Optibook 3600plus. So far I have only seen pictures of it, but it seems this scanner has no frame on one side so the book can be layed flat on the scanner up to the spine. But it costs 265€ (about $350) - that is much more then I wanted to spend.

Recently, I was in a store and I saw the Canon LiDE 700F. I noticed that it also has one side without a frame. The glass plate goes right to the edge, so it should be possible to scan a book right up to the spine. But so far I haven't read anything about scanning books with this scanner. However the price is pretty good: 100€ (about $135)

So is this scanner good for scanning hardcover books ? Or what else cheap scanner would you suggest ?
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:04 AM   #2
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I know the Plustek is expensive, but I like the job it does.

HOWEVER, I have found that some paperbacks print so close to the spine that the Plustek cannot quite reach it. Sometimes it misses one or two characters.

Having said that, I am quite happy with my Plustek. I've managed to scan ten books so far, with reasonable results. The "Scan this page" button on the Plustek is a huge help. You can just punch the button on the scanner, instead of having to reach over to your computer to manipulate the mouse.
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:37 AM   #3
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From the pictures I found, it looks like the Canon has about a 12 mm wide frame at its narrowest. The OpticBook frame, on the other hand, has a width of about 4 mm, so it can scan much closer to the spine than the Canon LiDE 700F.

I have the OpticBook 3600, and I have been quite happy with it, except for having to boot Windows to use it...
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:01 PM   #4
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From the pictures I found, it looks like the Canon has about a 12 mm wide frame at its narrowest. The OpticBook frame, on the other hand, has a width of about 4 mm, so it can scan much closer to the spine than the Canon LiDE 700F.

I have the OpticBook 3600, and I have been quite happy with it, except for having to boot Windows to use it...
Well, I can go to a store and measure the frame on the Canon, to see if it is really so much more then on the Plustek.

I just took a random hardcover book, opened it and measured how much empty space there is between the spine and the text. I measured about 16 mm. So if the Canon really has a 12 mm frame, it would be very close ...

So maybe I should save some money and go for the Plustek.

However - are there other scanners that are good for books ?
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:33 AM   #5
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As I've posted before, I would advise everyone to stay away from the OpticBook. They have lamp issues. It's a known problem, and if you google with the right keywords you can find a number of reports. If you have basic tools and a little bit of time, I would advise building a camera-based scanning system. There's a forum for help/ideas/moral support: http://www.diybookscanner.org. My system is at least an order of magnitude faster for scanning than the OpticBook.

Although, as anyone with any experience scanning should be able to tell you, the vast majority of time involved will be in proof-reading the OCRed text and not scanning.
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Old 08-03-2010, 01:04 PM   #6
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just to keep you updated: yesterday I got back to the store and took another look at the Canon Scanner. I think the narrowest part of frame is even bigger then 12mm. It was like 14mm ... Pretty big, compared to the 4mm of the Optibook.

However, I also have a good digital camera (a Canon SLR) and a tripod, so maybe I should try and take photos instead of scanning. Maybe I will have some time on the weekend to give it a try.
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Old 08-03-2010, 06:33 PM   #7
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As I've posted before, I would advise everyone to stay away from the OpticBook. They have lamp issues. It's a known problem, and if you google with the right keywords you can find a number of reports.
Yeah, I read those as well. I cringe every time I turn on my Opticbook, fearing a lamp burn out. So far I have not hit the wall. I was hoping the problem had been fixed, since I could not find a report more recent than 2008.

But when I started using it, I did start with the books I wanted to scan the most, and worked my way down to lesser desired books.
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Old 08-03-2010, 06:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NASCARaddicted View Post
Recently, I was in a store and I saw the Canon LiDE 700F. I noticed that it also has one side without a frame. The glass plate goes right to the edge, so it should be possible to scan a book right up to the spine. But so far I haven't read anything about scanning books with this scanner. However the price is pretty good: 100€ (about $135)

So is this scanner good for scanning hardcover books ? Or what else cheap scanner would you suggest ?
Unless you are willing to cut your books apart, stay away from the Canon LiDE series scanners. They are USB powered scanners that have a very limited depth of field. Anything not dead flat against the glass will be blurry. They are probably good scanners for smooth paper and being USB powered makes them somewhat portable, but they would be useless on intact books.

I use a Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500 to scan my books. It's a bit pricey but it is fast since it's a duplex ADF. It's intended for office paperwork reduction so scanning quality is not photo quality but for books it works well. Output can be individual .JPGs or PDFs or one can have the PDFs concatenated into a single PDF. It comes with Adobe Acrobat Standard

Last edited by Lady Fitzgerald; 08-03-2010 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 08-04-2010, 01:45 PM   #9
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Yeah, I read those as well. I cringe every time I turn on my Opticbook, fearing a lamp burn out. So far I have not hit the wall. I was hoping the problem had been fixed, since I could not find a report more recent than 2008.

But when I started using it, I did start with the books I wanted to scan the most, and worked my way down to lesser desired books.
I don't know if they've improved quality since I purchased my lemon of a scanner (circa 2006-7?). I tend to rate gadgets on whether I would purchase them again. In that respect the OpticBook definitely fails, particularly since there is a much better way for about the same monetary investment (diybookscanner).
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:07 PM   #10
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In that respect the OpticBook definitely fails, particularly since there is a much better way for about the same monetary investment (diybookscanner).
Ah, but it is only the same monetary investment if you consider your time to be worthless. If have limited spare time, the time you spend building a diy scanner is subtracted from time you could be spending on something else.
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:36 PM   #11
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Lady Fitzgerald or anyone else who has the Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500--how does the documnet feeder on that scanner handle mass market paperback size pages? I'm shopping for a scanner now and want to be able to scan a number of old paperbacks quickly, if possible.
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:49 PM   #12
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Lady Fitzgerald or anyone else who has the Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500--how does the documnet feeder on that scanner handle mass market paperback size pages? I'm shopping for a scanner now and want to be able to scan a number of old paperbacks quickly, if possible.
Surprisingly well, depending on how you "liberate" the pages from the book. I had some trouble with double feeds and misfeeds when running though pages from books that had the spines cut off with a saw. Dust was also a huge problem.

Since I quit sawing off the spines and started using a guillotine type paper cutter, the scanner does very well. There is less dust and double feeds have been almost eliminated. It takes about a minute to do 20 pages in color but it's faster with black & white. It is rated to hold 100 pages (50 sheets) but some of the really long books use really thin pages and I have loaded up to 150 pages at a time with problems.

I thoroughly clan the scanner with a brush designed for LCD TV screens, a small vacuum cleaner and a solvent moistened microfiber cloth after each book. That may sound excessive until you consider the volume of paper you run through with each book, roughly only what the average small office may run through in a day. I only takes about a minute to clean the machine. Also, every few books, I have to use a solvent dampened cloth to clean the ink from the print from the feed roller. This takes only a minute.

The books most likely to have double feeds are ones that have a very rough surface on the pages. Cleaning the feed roller will usually correct that. Double feeds and misfeeds are easy to fix when they do happen.

I first scan both sides of the front and back covers in color as individual files, either .jpg or .pdf, then scan the body of the book in B&W. Even very yellowed pages will come out white with crisp, black text that way. Then I use Adobe Acrobat Standard 9 to add the covers to the rest of the book and check to make sure I fed each batch of pages in correctly (human error happens). For a 500 page book, the whole process takes 15-20 minutes, including cleaning the machine and depending on how focused I am.

The number of jams will depend on how well you cut the pages apart. If you don't cut enough of the spine off, some of the pages will be stuck together with a thin line of glue which may separate easily when you pull them apart but will jam in the machine. The rough cut of a saw blade can cause pages to "key" together at the cut edge so a knife cut is much better. Since switching to the guillotine, I've pretty much eliminated jams.

For a more complete review of the Snapscan s1500, check out my review on Amazon under Jeannie, Tempe (you may have to scroll through more than one page to find it; they like to juggle them around). If you are still interrested in the machine and can wait awhile, they usually go on sale toward the end of the year. If you do get it, I can help you with settings.
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Old 08-07-2010, 04:00 AM   #13
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Have a look at this thread: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=71902 if you want some more info on the opticbook 3600.
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Old 08-07-2010, 03:32 PM   #14
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Thanks for the info.
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Old 10-05-2010, 04:09 PM   #15
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Does anybody on the forum own a Fujitsu ScanSnap s1300? It seems to be a simpler version of the s1500 and takes only 10 pages at a time in the feeder. If the quality of the scans and the time taken is similar, it might be worth saving the 200 euros difference in price.
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