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How to Use a Book Scanner

Use digital imaging technology to move your book from page to screen.


  • Step 1: Scan the individual pages one by one on a flatbed scanner, or put them through the scanner's automatic document feeder.
  • Step 2: Use a state-of-the-art scanner to avoid having to cut bindings. Technology has allowed for the development of scanners that use a vacuum, air, and static charges to turn book pages while imaging is taking place, making the need to cut bindings obsolete and allowing for non-destructive scanning of rare or delicate books.
  • FACT: Adobe Systems cofounder John Warnock invented the portable document format, or PDF.
  • Step 3: Go through the pages of magazines and journals after you cut the binding and discard non-uniform pages, such as subscription and registration cards and fold-out pages, or scan them separately.
  • TIP: ADF rollers require frequent cleaning to remove paper residue so they can properly grip and feed paper.
  • Step 4: Cut away ornamental, riffled edges or edges that are curved as a result of curved bindings to avoid a misfeed or jam in an automatic document feeder.
  • TIP: An automatic document feeder, or ADF, is made to feed pages of regular shape and size. The outside edges of the paper should be smooth and flat in order to feed properly.
  • Step 5: Beware of glossy paper. The glossy pages used in magazines and textbooks present a problem for the rollers in an ADF. Glossy pages can cause ADFs that use a group of rollers to turn the paper over to become jammed or misfeed.
  • Step 6: Scan a book or journal with a flatbed scanner by cutting the binding from the pages. You can cut 500 to 1,000 pages with a guillotine cutter, which uses a grip that screws down onto the paper to secure it while a metal blade moves straight down and slices through the pages, separating them from the binding. This way, you can get pages to lay flat on the flatbed scanner.

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