Automatic book scanners are built specifically for scanning a lot of books with minimum human interference. While these machines are super useful, they might not be what you need if you simply want to scan a few books at home.
What are automatic book scanners?
Automatic book scanners are machines that scan and digitize paper-based materials such as books, magazines, newspapers, etc very fast and with minimum human involvement.
When using automatic book scanners all you have to do is lay the book in the cradle and the machine does all the rest; Flipping pages, taking pictures, adjusting focus, aligning the corners, and finally, saving it as a readable file on the computer.
Automatic book scanners are amazing machines for digitizing books efficiently and effortlessly, but they are still not suitable for home-use. They are big and expensive machines that require technical knowledge to operate.
If you’re starting a book scanning business, or you have a library with hundreds of books to scan, you should definitely consider getting an automatic book scanner from one of the brands we listed below.
In any other case, we suggest you look into getting a regular non-automatic book scanner for home or office use. You can read more about how regular book scanners work here.
What are non-automatic book scanners?
There are a few different types of regular non-Automatic book scanners for home use. The most common ones, overhead scanners, have an overhanging scanning camera on top and a flat surface to place the book on at the bottom.
These book scanners do require human involvement in the process, mainly flipping the pages and adjusting the settings to get a high quality scan. But they are also much smaller, less expensive, and very easy to operate so they are more suitable for offices or private home use compared to fully automatic book scanners.
Some brands of home book scanners do have some automation in their models like page-turning-detection, OCR, auto light and focus adjustment. You can read more about it in our article about book scanners specifications and features.
How do automatic book scanners work?
The process of scanning a book or other material with an automatic book scanner is rather simple. The user simply places the book on top of the machine’s glass plate. Then, the machine flips and scans all the pages until it’s done.
It usually works by detecting the edges of the pages when placed flat on the scanner bed. Then it will move along the edge until it reaches the next page. Once it has scanned the first page, it flips the page and starts again.
They typically offer an image resolution of between 300 and 400 dots per inch, but you can get some that offer a whopping 600 dots per inch. And they scan books and documents of various sizes, from 2 A4 up to A0 books.
Do they turn the pages automatically?
Automatic book scanners do turn pages automatically. Turning the pages is most of the work and these machines usually do so with a special robotic harm that detects and flips the pages automatically after each page is scanned. That is the most important part of the automation.
Examples of automatic book scanners
Here are three brands leading the industry of fully automatic book scanners. Each of these brands and models is regarded reliable and can produce high quality book scans.
The ScanRobot 2.0 is a brilliant machine made in Austria and sold in over 60 countries. It’s designed specially for digitizing a lot of books fast and with high quality.
The ROBOSCAN V2 is a fully automatic book scanner made in Germany by SMA, a company specializing in scanning machines. The semi automatic option is great for case you need to scan old vulnerable books.
- Automatic page turning
- Option of manual scanning for sensitive books
- Resolution 600 ppi
- 48 bit color dept
- IP device
- Kiosk Solution software included (Batch Scan Wizard also available)
- Click here for the full specifications
These ‘Book Scan 4.0’ by Qidenus Technologies offers three modes: manual, semi-automated and full-automated.
Are there scanning services that can do it for me?
There are more than a few book scanning services within the US where you can send your books and get back a digital copy. Many of these services use automatic book scanners.
The advantages of using a service is that you don’t need to hold a scanner and you know you will get back a high quality scanned document.
You can view our list of book scanning services here.
Is an automated book scanner good for libraries?
Automated book scanner can be a great contribution to any library. The library needs to consider how often the scanner will be used, who will use it, and what is the budget.
If the scanner is going to service students and visitors, it might make more sense to get a few regular book scanners other than one automatic book scanner.
In case it’s a library digitization project for all the books, it makes more sense to get a fully automatic book scanner. Just keep in mind that it will need a special place, a budget and someone who can calibrate and operate it.
How much do automatic book scanners cost?
Fully automatic book scanners cost anywhere between 10-20k USD and up. The brands we listed above do not present their price, but we assume this is the price range for these automatic book digitization machines.
How long does a scanner take to scan a book?
An automatic book scanner can scan a 500 pages book within 15 minutes. The scanners we mentioned above can scan books in a speed of up to 2500 pph (pages per hour).
Should you get an automatic book scanner?
In cases where you need to scan a big amount of books, for example if you have a book scanning business or a library, an automatic book scanner can definitely be a smart investment. Keep in mind that books, as any other creation are protected by copy rights laws. and you can read more about it in our article about book scanning legality.
If you only have a few books to scan, or you will need to scan once in an often, consider getting a regular book scanner or using a book scanning service. You can also scan books on your phone, using special phone apps for scanning books.
Happy book scanning!