Book scanning for dummies, part four

09 Apr

Are you ready to scan some books? Here we go!

Phase 1: Scanning

You will need:

  1. A packet of single-sided razor blades from a hardware store.
  2. A sharp Stanley knife or equivalent. You can buy disposable ones cheaply, and just off the tip of the blades as you use them up.
  3. A cutting surface
  4. A steel ruler
  5. Two smooth sheets of stiff plastic — e.g. the front and back of a plastic folder.
  6. A handy rubbish bin

Take a paperback book and tear off the front and back covers. Open it between pages 50 and 51. If the first block of pages come away easily without tearing the paper, then just pull them apart. If not, lay the open book face down and use a razor blade to  separate the first 50 pages. Lay them aside with the highest page number upwards. Repeat with each block of fifty pages (i.e. 25 sheets) until you are left with some number of pages between 50 and 100. Split that last block down the middle. In other words, a 230-page book would split into six blocks: 50, 50, 50, 40 and 40. Lay each new section you split down on top of the others, highest page uppermost.

Take the uppermost block, turn it lowest-page-up on the cutting surface, and trim the binding edge off with your Stanley knife. Use a new blade for every fourth or fifth book. Cut to a width of about 3mm. Place the trimmed block aside and do the next one. Place it on top of the previous one at an angle of ninety degrees. Repeat for each block.

Take the topmost block and go through it counting the pages and separating each page from the one below it. Repeat for each block. Place the blocks lowest-page down on top of each other at ninety degrees, as before. Now invert the stack.

Rest one of the smooth plastic sheets on the input side of the scanner paper feed system, so the pages slide along it easily. Trim it to fit if necessary. Lay the other sheet on the output tray, so that you can lift all the scanned pages out at once without scrabbling for them.

Square the edges of your first block of pages and insert them in the scanner with the outer (non-binding) edge to feed first. (This means that odd-numbered pages will be upside down.) Adjust the page size sliders to fit. Set the scanner settings (as many of them as you have) to:

  • Resolution: 600 dpi
  • Quality: Text or B/W
  • Duplex scan
  • Recognise text OFF
  • Re-orient pages OFF
  • Skew or slant correction ON
  • Scan orientation — Portrait (long axis vertical)
  • Scan size — A4

Start the scanner. This may be done through the attached PC or via a button on the scanner itself. Wait for the pages to scan. Count the number scanned and check that it matches the number of pages in the block. If not, see Trouble-Shooting below.

Take the pile of pages from the output tray and turn them so the last even-numbered page is on top and the non-binding edge is inwards. Place them in the scanner input tray and start the scanner. It should interleave the new pages with the old ones.

Assuming the scan works correctly, repeat with the remaining blocks. Save the resulting scans as a PDF file if you have that option. Otherwise you can save them as images and assemble them into a PDF file in Acrobat later.


Problem: the number of pages in a first batch (odd pages) doesn’t match the number you counted.

Solution: Count again and make sure. If the numbers still don’t match then put one even-numbered page through, and see the solution below.

Problem: the number of pages in a second run-through (even pages) doesn’t match the number in the first batch.

Solution: Clear both the even and odd page scans (there should be a button for this). Divide the batch of pages in half and try again with the first half. Repeat as necessary.

Problem: Even small batches won’t go through correctly.

Solution: Stand or sit by the scanner with the batch in your hand. Put the first page to scan in the feeder and slide the second and third pages under it. Start the scanner. Keep feeding pages by hand until you complete the batch. Extract the scanned pages, turn them over and repeat.

Problem: The scanning speed slows to a crawl for no obvious reason.

Solution: Wait till the end of the batch, then turn the scanner off and on again. If it persists, turn off both the scanner and the PC and reboot. It probably won’t help, but who knows?

Problem: The scanner jams.

Solution: Remove any remaining pages from the feed tray, clear the output tray and open the scanner. Press the OK button when it is cleared.

<– Part three Part five –>

1 Comment

Posted by on April 9, 2011 in eBooks, Hardware


One response to “Book scanning for dummies, part four

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