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5 Common Mistakes Made When Buying a Book Scanner


With book digitization projects becoming increasingly more popular, there is an influx of book scanners available online for a wide range of prices. 

Buying the right book scanner for your project is therefore becoming increasingly more complicated. You cannot rely on online reviews to tell you which book scanner is right for your business, because it all depends on the purpose of your digitization project. 

Scanner apps and smartphone software promise high-quality outputs for a low price. But for businesses, these cheap solutions often have many hidden costs that can be detrimental for the digitization project. 

In this blog, we’ll review the top 5 mistakes we see our customers make when buying a book scanner without our expertise input. We hope that this makes it possible for you to avoid these costly mistakes yourself and get it right the first time. 

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Digitization Projects That Require a Professional Book Scanner

As people are getting increasingly more used to reading documents on their smartphones, tablets, and computers, there has been a rise in digitization of printed materials. Both in the professional workplace and in the archiving of personal documents. 

Our industry-leading team at Steven Enterprises has helped over 30,000+ satisfied customers. In all those 30+ years, we’ve noted the following most common digitization projects that were better off with a professional book scanner solution:

  1. Scanning newspapers, periodicals, catalogs and magazines. Even though physical books still retain their charm, businesses are able to generate more revenue by also making these commercial products available for reading on our devices.  
  2. Preserving books and sensitive historical documents. Government programs are continuing to digitize our most important printed materials to future-proof them from possible damage, while saving big on on-going expensive preservation techniques.   
  3. Digitizing bound and stapled documents. More common in professional service businesses, digitizing things like contracts, accounts and documentation has become critical for making online accounting and book-keeping possible.  
  4. Digitizing files from file folders. With a remote workforce becoming increasingly more common, important files are often immediately scanned into the cloud (or other online platforms) so that they can be easily shared across organizations and accessed anywhere, anytime. 
  5. Archiving documents digitally. Real-estate is getting more expensive every year, so many national and local government agencies, registries and nonprofit organizations are digitizing their file rooms to free up space or cut fees for offsite storage. 

Costs From Buying the Wrong Book Scanner 

At first, it’s not always obvious how choosing the wrong book scanner can affect future costs. So what if the images are a little distorted or low-quality?  

Our customers who chose the wrong book scanner before talking to one of our experts, tell us that the hidden costs were detrimental for their staff and set them back significantly in their digitization project timelines. 

Low-quality book scanners are not built for digitizing at scale. Which means your staff will be far less productive when completing their scans. Hours lost to malfunctioning scanners, post-scan quality control, and troubleshooting are hard to quantify. 

To avoid this, it’s crucial to be educated on these common mistakes. Just by having the awareness will already set you miles ahead of others. 

Mistake #1 – Choosing Low Resolution Cameras 

The first mistake we commonly see is looking at the book scanner at face-value. 

Having your team use a free app on their phone seems like a good idea at first; but nothing is really free. 

It can be easy to choose what look like cost-effective alternatives available on Amazon. But don’t make the mistake of just buying a digicam mounted on an expensive frame

If your digitization project is for anything more advanced than just scanning a few personal documents, you need a true scanner solution. Look for a high-quality digital camera with light sources on both sides.  

Another signal of quality is if there is any mention about dark mode operation. These types of features will enhance the scan quality through less light reflection, saving you hours in re-scans and edits afterward. 

Mistake #2 – Buying the Wrong Book Cradle 

With so many models available, it can be challenging to know what the right cradle is for your project. But having the wrong cradle can leave you with low resolution scans that are not usable later on. 

To know what you need, take inventory of the maximum diameter and height of your books that will need to be scanned. This will help you identify the minimum size machine you will need and if the cradle should be flat or V-shaped. 

V-shaped cradles are also a better solution for documents that need to be handled with care. The reason is that the pages will not need to open 180 degrees to be scanned, making it less likely to cause damage to the books. 

Should you have thicker books, having the wrong cradle may also result in visible book fold lines. This can distort the reading experience and make your project much harder to digitize. Certain book cradles have book fold correction, with height adjustments built in for this exact project. 

Mistake #3 – Forgetting About the Book Scanner Operator

When buying a professional book scanner, it’s also important to keep the staff in mind that will be operating the device daily. 

Quality book scanners, like the WideTek Bookeye Scanners, are built with ergonomics in mind. 

This means they will have features like: 

    • Live Preview: A wide screen, on eye-level that will show the operator the preview of the scan so that they are straight and have the proper lighting.  
    • Automation: Saving the person using it from doing many strenuous, repetitive tasks required to get the job done.
    • Dark mode: An adjustable light fixture that reduces eye strain when using it for long periods of time. 

If your digitization project is going to be done at scale, these are critical features that will help you maximize productivity and also help you hit your timeline goals. 

Mistake #4 – Not Considering the Book Digitization Software

It is not uncommon for buyers to focus too much on the manual process of getting the scans, that they overlook the software capabilities that they require. 

When working with an expert from Steven Enterprises, we always begin with understanding the end goal of your digitization project. Once we understand what the scans will be ultimately used for, we can recommend a book scanner software that meets the taxonomy and indexing goals you have.  

For example, did you know some book scanners are capable of scanning braille and 3D items? This advanced feature is not commonly needed, but can make a big difference for the right project. 

Another important consideration is the ability to “scan to” some other digital format. Our wide-range of book scanners have tons of ways to share your scans: 

  1. Scan2USB: Walk up scanning to any USB device
  2. Scan2Print: Output to any connected printer or hot folder
  3. Scan2Network: Output to any network drive
  4. Scan2Pad: Scan and store images to mobile devices 

Not fully understanding the software your book scanner has and the potential additional hardware your book scanner will require to get the job done can be a costly mistake.

Mistake #5 – Not Considering the Maintenance Costs

The last mistake, and probably the most costly of all, is the maintenance costs. 

When you buy lower-quality book scanners, you often pay for it in the long-run. Sometimes it comes in the form of labor hours by your staff troubleshooting the scanner. Other times its actual expenses to have a technician come on-site and install new firmware or perform maintenance. 

Our customers rarely face this issue since we partnered up with WideTek Book Scanners, made in Germany. These scanners are known for their remote maintenance, troubleshooting and firmware updates. Just this feature alone has saved our customers significantly in their digitization project costs. 

Another mistake people make is that they buy a scanner that only works when it’s connected to a network. This outdated technology makes their books scanning software vulnerable to viruses and crashing when the network is unstable. 

All the book scanners we recommend don’t have this from this outdated technology. Our scanners have less downtime making it faster to get your documents scanned. 

How to Ensure a Painless Book Scanner Purchase

As you can tell, there’s lots to keep in mind when buying your book scanner for your digitization project. To avoid making these mistakes, it is always best to consult a professional. 

Our Equipment and Account Specialists have years of in-depth industry experience. Let us help you sell, lease, rent, and furnish supplies for all models of printing, copying and scanning equipment.  

Let us help you find the ideal book scanner for your digitization project. Contact us today by filling out this form, to have your scanner up and running in a matter of days.