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Book Scanners

Overhead book scanners are ideal for digitizing bound materials – including books, ledgers, yearbooks, photo albums and more. Books require special scanning technology because they do not have a flat surface. Although it is possible to scan a book on a flatbed scanner by pressing it flat against the glass, this method can be damaging to the spine and is not the proper way to scan a book. Book cradles and other supports have been developed to protect rare, fragile books during the scan operation. These book cradles can also be used in flat mode to scan flat materials such as photographs, letters, and other documents. Please submit a Product Interest Form or Contact Us for equipment recommendations and pricing!

Learn More About Book Scanners

How does a book scanner work?

A book scanner is a specialized device designed to digitize the content of books and other bound materials without causing damage to the original. There are different types of book scanners, but the most common design is the overhead scanner.

Here’s how a typical book scanner works:

  1. The open book is placed face-up on the scanning bed, with the spine in the middle.
  2. Book scanners often have a V-shaped book cradle that gently holds the book open at an angle to protect the spine. Some also have a compensating cradle, which helps keep thick books level as you turn pages.
  3. Some book scanners also have a V-shaped or flat glass plate to gently press against the book. This design minimizes stress on the book spine and ensures that the pages lie flat for scanning.
  4. The scanning process involves capturing an image of each page. While some lower-quality book scanners use lens-based technology, our scanners use line sensors. There is a single overhead camera that moves across the book as it captures each page—one line at a time (versus taking a picture, which causes distortion at the edges of your images).
  5. Book scanners use non-destructive lighting to illuminate the pages evenly—this is important for producing clear and consistent images.
  6. Our book scanners are equipped with laser technology to detect the curvature of the book’s pages. This ensures that the entire content of each page is accurately captured, including text or images that may be close to the binding.
  7. Some advanced book scanners include automated page-turning mechanisms, allowing for more efficient and hands-free scanning.
  8. The captured images undergo digital processing to correct color, enhance contrast and optimize the quality of the scans. Optical character recognition (OCR) technology may also be applied to convert the scanned images into searchable and editable text.
  9. The final digital image is saved in a file format (such as JPEG, TIFF or PDF) and can be stored on a computer or other storage devices.

Book scanners are particularly useful in libraries, archives and for digitization projects where preserving the content of books and other bound materials in a digital format is essential for accessibility and long-term preservation.

What is the difference between a book cradle and a compensation cradle?

Both serve distinct purposes in the scanning process, in order to protect the book and enhance the quality of the scanned images.

A book cradle is a structure that holds a book open during the scanning process; it is designed to support the book without causing damage to the spine or pages. The book cradle typically has a V-shaped design, allowing the book to rest in a gently opened position. Both sides of the cradle can also be laid flat to scan in flat mode.

A compensation cradle, on the other hand, is a mechanism in the book cradle that helps keep books level as you turn pages during the scanning process. This design helps compensate for the curvature near the spine of a bound book and ensures that pages lie flat for optimal scanning.

What are the different scan bed modes on Bookeye scanners?

Auto Mode: the scanner attempts to recognize the position of the cradles in V-mode or in flat mode.

Flat Mode: both cradles are down and a single document lies flat on the scanning bed.

V-Mode: both cradles are up so that the book lies in the natural reading position in the cradle. This position is the most gentle for old, fragile books.

Book Mode: the cradles are either down or up, but the source material on the scanning bed is handled as an open book and the book fold will be flattened. The source document should be placed as near to the center as possible.

What are other features of book scanners?

  • Laser-assisted book fold correction
  • Real time display and correction of scanned images
  • Automatic finger and thumb removal
  • Book fan, punch hole and black border removal
  • Anti-reflection
  • Automatic crop & deskew
  • Touchscreen user interface
  • Foot switch
  • Background OCR