How To Make A $20 Book Scanner

How To Make A $20 Book Scanner

diybookscannerIn most cases I recommend scanners with an automatic document feeder, but one big case where they don’t work out so well is when scanning a book.

The most logical solution is to cut the book and then feed the pages through your scanner, but what if you don’t want to do that?

Over on Instructables, they’ve posted a Portable, Paperless, Digital Copy Machine with instructions on how you can build it yourself.

As the author says:

Your materials should cost less than $20, maybe less than $10, and the labor time should be only a few hours. I am assuming that you already have a digital camera and a computer for downloading pictures. Of course, your camera will do most of the work here, but you will provide it with a steady stand that has a press for getting those book pages flat.

As my wife will attest, I’m not the most handy person in the world (I’ve been known to get my fingers stuck to things with Crazy Glue), but I think I am going to give this one a try. If I succeed I’ll post a video of it in action.

If you paired this with something like an Eye-Fi card and some folder actions, you could have a pretty cool book scanning workflow.

If you have other tips for book scanning (or if you’ve rigged something like this), let us know in the comments.

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

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tjcarter - June 23, 2010 Reply

Much better than the one that was not portable and had like a dozen steps describing the fine art of dumpster diving. It had a v-shaped bookstand and used two cameras. Something between that and this would be perfect.

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