Best way to scan books at home?
April 5, 2020 4:48 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a way to scan books to PDFs at home, now that (in the time of coronavirus) I don't have access to book scanners that I otherwise would. I have an iPhone XR; is there an app for this? I've tried several, and haven't found anything that does a great job.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles to Technology (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My wife (a PhD student who has scanned many books) was using scannable (which was her favorite) and scanner pro (which created large files) with her iPad. (We got a CZUR scanner in January, they are really nice.) They were pretty good, although after too many pages she says they got confused and she had a stand to hold her iPad while scanning, I don't know how'd it be with holding it in your hand. Her major requirement was being able to have the software automatically take the photos so she could just hold the book open and turn pages, if the software didn't have that feature, she didn't use it.
posted by Hactar at 5:24 AM on April 5, 2020

I like FasterScan. It allows you to crop and get the contrast right quickly.
posted by umbĂș at 6:42 AM on April 5, 2020

Have you considered building a rig to hold & light the books? I've found that this is more important than the software for getting readable (and OCRable) results. There are maaaaany DIY plans on; I made the Book Shooter with corrugated cardboard and pieces of a picture frame (I used the glass and the hardboard backing). If you clamp it onto the side of a desk you can use a desk lamp on the floor for illumination. Obviously you can spend a lot for something much fancier (like a better mechanism for turning pages, an anti-glare platen, more robust parts for heavier books, etc) but this one can truly be made from scraps.
posted by bcwinters at 6:46 AM on April 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

I created a workflow for scanning materials in archives in libraries for researchers that uses Adobe Scan. It's free and if you pair with a few options for a scanning rig, it can knock out a book pretty quick.
posted by teleri025 at 11:27 AM on April 6, 2020

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