I have a bookshelf and I have enjoyed reading/studying books right from when I started to recognize alphabets. This is the case with most of us who are reading this article.

We have always thought and continue to think that reading books is our everyday right and duty because we belong to the lot that enjoys and treats books as their best friend.

Sometimes it so happens that there could be chances where the following conditions stop you from reading books on a continuous basis when you are:

  • a frequent traveler who is always on the go
  • don’t have a place to store all the books
  • can’t search for a particular topic from your collection to refer to a book
  • allergic to books that are old and full of dusty

In such cases, the best or the only option would be to get your books converted to a format that will make it easier for you to:

  • Carry on the go
  • Store all your books in a single gadget
  • have search options in-built
  • don’t have to fight hard towards your allergy
  • The good news is that you can get them digitized or scanned.
  • The better news is that if you can afford, you can buy a scanner that scans books, both cutting open the spine or by not cutting the spine.
  • The best news is, if you have time and patience, you can build one such scanner on your own.

Let us read in this article, what are the types of scanners that can scan books both the destructive and non-destructive ways. But wait a minute, what are these destructive and non-destructive ways.

Destructive Scanning Method (Damaged Book Scanning)

This is a quite common way of scanning in most places where bulk scanning is done and is treated as the conventional method of scanning books and documents.

In this way, the spine of the books, i.e. the bookbinding is removed. The removed pages from the books are now in the form of loose pages. They are now easier to handle than when they are stuck to the cover.

These pages are inserted into the scanner feeder, which sucks the pages and scans them against an optical light and throws the pages out from the output tray.

This type of scanner is called ADF Scanner expanded as Automated Document Feeder, meaning, the feeder present in the scanner automatically sucks the loose pages in the form of documents and scans them.

But let us not bother much about this type of scanning as we will be harming the books by cutting it open and there are other disadvantages like:

  • it becomes cumbersome if we screw up the order of the pages
  • the pages might get torn if we don’t carefully separate the unbound pages
  • we need to depend on a third-party book cutting service as we will not be able to cut them neatly on our own without book cutting machine
  • to bind back the books we again need the services of a book binder

Non-destructive Scanning Method (Intact Book Scanning)

In view of all the conditions from the previous section, the better way would be to go ahead scanning without damaging the book, in a non-destructive method, i.e. scanning without cutting open the spine of the book, i.e. scanning the books intact.

Under this there are two ways of doing this.

Purchasing a Non-destructive Scanner

Now that we know what non-destructive scanning is, let us go ahead and see how many non-destructive scanners are available in the world and how affordable they are.

If you ask us, the scanner that we have been using till now are all that of the brand Atiz. They are unique in their own ways, that comes in-between both in terms of price and quality.

Overhead Scanner

Atiz is a company that manufactures scanners that are only non-destructive scanners and are overhead scanners. The uniqueness of Atiz scanner is that it comes with two cameras, one on each side, capturing each page of the book.

The books are kept on a v-cradle exposing each page to the camera on the diagonally opposite side. Pages have to be turned manually, while the camera click can either be triggered after the page turn or set to a timer.

While the cameras capture each page of the book, the connectivity of the camera to the computer using a USB chord makes sure each page gets store in the hard disk in a sequential way one page after the other.

While this type of scanning is a little disadvantageous when it comes to photo scanning, as the photos have to be of high quality due to its glossy finish.

Now, in this case, since most of the pages will be black and white, and even if there are photos, they will be in small numbers, so this type of camera scanning is best suited for books.

Let us see the steps involved in scanning the books without damaging them using a purchased book scanner.

Scanning Books using Atiz Book Scanner without Damaging them
  • Run the software
  • Open the book to its center so that both sides of the book will be of about the same height
  • Keep it in the v-cradle
  • Enclose the book with the glass to make the book curvature straight
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  • Click on the button where it mentions detect cameras
  • Once the cameras are detected you will see the screen with two images each of the cameras that you just installed the drivers
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  • See to it that both the pages are located in the center of the captured screens, this way you can zoom the pages to the maximum extent
  • You can adjust the screen by clicking on the zoom and focus buttons that are available via the software
  • Now click the capture button again after the pages are rightly set
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  • If the scanning looks fine, you can go to the next screen by clicking on the button that says “The sample shots look OK. I’m now ready to scan“.
  • The pages are shown bigger in this screen
  • Go to the first page in the book and start capturing the pages
  • The capture button captures both pages separately
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  • Bring in the cursor and select only the page part cropping the black parts of both the captured images
  • Turn the page, don’t miss pages here, be careful about that
  • Now, press “Crop and Scan“, this crops the previous page that is shown in the software and scans the new page that you have just turned into
  • Repeat this procedure until you scan the complete book
  • Once the whole book is scanned, check the pages for the right sequence
  • If you have missed check the image page no. and insert the missed pages before you move on to the next book

Now you have got a sequence of pages in the same order as it is in the book. Let us talk about the post processing of the image in the next section as the post processing remains the same for any scanning.

DIY (Do It Yourself) Non-destructive Scanner

There are many types of scanners you can build using this. Let us build the simple most and use our mobile phones to capture the images on either side.

In the DIY Scanner, the most crucial parts that you have to consider are:

  • The skeletal structure of the scanner
  • Light has to be distributed equally throughout the page as far as possible
  • The position of the light should support the previous point
  • The camera should be parallel to the book page
  • The camera should be powerful enough to capture the content with good sharpness
  • If the cameras can be controlled from the computer, it is easier

Keeping the points from the previous section, we can build the scanner in many ways. There are some ideas for a scanner that is upside down too, like in the below image.

Or it can be an overhead camera based scanner just like the one below:

I can also be a completely automated scanner like the one show in the video below.

Similarly there is a book scanner that is completely automated and is also for sale. Here you have to overturn the book and keep it on the specific place. The scanner will oscillate and scans while it goes. While it comes back it turns the page of the book. This enables the system to continue scanning all the pages one by one.

Below is a very huge automatic scanner, that slowly scans any kind of book. It comes with accessories that assist setting up any kind of book, of any thickness, whether old or new.

If you want a book scanner that can scan as fast as 250 pages per min., you can check below the video. These scanners scan as fast as we turn the pages. They capture multiple images, and select one best images from them using AI engines. This will later be post processed and be delivered as output.

Let us now see how we can build a books scanner watching the below video.

Hope the above video and the article helps you with the right approach in selecting the right type of scanner for your books.

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