Book Scanning Methods – Kinds of Book Scanning Explained

Home 9 Blogs 9 Book Scanning Methods – Kinds of Book Scanning Explained

Book Scanning Methods

Welcome to our guide on the different types of book scanning! Throughout history, books have served as a form of communication and a reminder of cultural traditions. Whether they contain fiction, history, how-to guides, or clerical information and whether they are kept in a library, archive, records room, or other repository, books are a vital resource containing a vast array of knowledge.

 In today’s digital age, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to want to access their favorite books in electronic format. Whether you want to save space on your bookshelf, reduce clutter, or simply have the convenience of reading your books on a device, book scanning can be an excellent solution.

However, not all book scanning methods are created equal. In this guide, we’ll explore the various options available for converting physical books into digital files, including their pros and cons. After reading this post, you’ll have a better understanding of different kinds of book scanning.

Book Scanning – Introduction

Book scanning is the process of converting physical books into digital files, such as a PDF or an image file. This can be done using a variety of methods, including using a flatbed scanner or a digital camera.

The digital copies of the books are easy to index and make searchable. The online book archives contain a collection of books on a topic that a common reader can read. This is quite helpful when it comes to referring to research work or historical book collections.

Book Scanning Methods

Choosing the Right Book Scanning Method

There are various book scanning methods such as Outsourcing vs. In-house book Scanning, Destructive vs. Non-destructive book Scanning. Depending on the needs of the project and the characteristics of the book being scanned, here are the details of both the book scanning methods – 

Destructive Book Scanning

Destructive book scanning is a method of digitizing books in which the physical book is physically destroyed in the process. This method involves cutting the book’s spine, flattening the pages, and then scanning each page individually. The pages are then reassembled into a digital format, such as a PDF or ebook.

See also  What Are the Simplest Ways to Digitize Paper Documents

This method is generally not recommended as it can cause damage to the physical book. It also makes it difficult to preserve the book in its original condition.

However, destructive book scanning produces a higher level of image quality than non-destructive scanning. You should consider this option if you don’t wish to retain your original books. This method is quite useful if you have smaller size books to preserve.

Also read – How to Avoid Destructive Book Scanning

Non Destructive Book Scanning

Non destructive book scanning is a method of digitizing books without causing damage to the original physical book. This method is becoming increasingly popular as more libraries, archives, and individuals seek to preserve and share their collections digitally.

One popular non-destructive book scanning method is the use of a book cradle or book scanner. This type of scanner is specially designed to hold the book open while scanning, preventing the need to physically flip pages. This method is often used for larger books or books with fragile bindings.

There are a few different methods for non-destructive book scanning, including the use of overhead scanners, cameras mounted on robotic arms. Scanners with cameras and artificial intelligence to automatically turn the pages of the book are also used to scan the books. 

Non-destructive book scanning aims to preserve the physical books for future use while creating a digital version as close as possible to the original in terms of content and layout.

Flatbed Book Scanning

This method involves placing the book on a flatbed scanner, similar to the one you would use to scan documents. The book is placed face-down on the glass and scanned page by page. This method is suitable for small to medium-sized books and works well for books that are not too thick or fragile.

One of the main advantages of flatbed book scanning is that it is a relatively simple and inexpensive way to digitize books. Many modern flatbed scanners are capable of producing high-quality images of text and images, making it an ideal option for preserving and sharing rare or fragile books.

See also  Large Format Scanning & Plan Scanning Services

Overhead Book Scanning

This method involves using a camera mounted above the book to capture images of each page. The book is placed on a stand and the camera is positioned above it. This method is suitable for larger or thicker books that would not fit on a flatbed scanner.

There are many benefits of overhead book scanning, such as –

  • Firstly, it allows for fast, efficient scanning of large numbers of pages of a book, which can save time and money.
  • Secondly, it ensures that the images of book are captured in high-quality, with minimal distortion
  • Thirdly, overhead book scanning allows for the capture of both sides of each page in a single book scan, which can save time and improve the accuracy of the digital images of books.

Drum Book Scanning

This method involves using a drum scanner, which is a specialized scanner that uses a rotating drum to capture High-quality images of each page of the book. The book is placed on the drum and the book scanner scans each page as the drum rotates.

This method is suitable for high-quality scans of photographs, illustrations, and other graphics-heavy books. Both sides of the page in a single scan can be done using drum scanner. This method is commonly used to digitize large quantities of books and documents, such as those found in libraries, archives, and museums.

Handheld Book Scanning

This method involves using a handheld scanner to capture images of each page. The book is held open and the scanner is passed over each page. This method is suitable for small books and can be used in situations where the book cannot be removed from its location.

Handheld scanners are typically small and lightweight, making them ideal for use in a variety of settings, such as in libraries and museums. Handheld book scanning is an ideal option for those who need to digitize books and documents on-the-go, such as for field research or for personal use. It is also a cost-effective solution for digitizing small quantities of books and documents.

See also  Old Newspaper Digitization

3D Book Scanning

This book scanning method is used to capture a 3D model of the book. The process involves using a 3D scanner to capture images of each page, which are then used to create a 3D model of the book.

This method is used primarily for preserving old and fragile books. This 3D model can be used to make exact copies of the book. This book scanning method captures not only the images of the pages but also the physical structure of the book.  It provides a more accurate representation of the original book. Additionally, 3D book scanning allows for the creation of interactive digital models, which can be explored and used in a variety of ways, such as for education or research purposes.

Photographic Book Scanning

This method involves taking a photograph of each page of the book with a digital camera. After that editing the images to create a digital copy of the book. This method is suitable for books with glossy or glossy pages, or for books that have illustrations, photographs, or other graphics that need to be preserved in high resolution.

This is particularly useful for books and documents that contain fine details, such as illustrations, maps, and diagrams, which can be difficult to capture accurately using other book scanning methods. Additionally, photographic book scanning allows for the capture of both sides of each page in a single scan, which can save time and improve the accuracy of the digital images.


Book scanning is a crucial process for preserving and digitizing important texts. Whether you choose to use a flatbed scanner, a specialized book scanner, or a professional book scanning services, it is important to consider factors such as cost, speed, and image quality.

Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice will depend on the specific needs of your project. By understanding the different book scanning methods available and carefully evaluating your options, you can ensure that your books are properly scanned and preserved for future generations.

Get Free Quote For Book Scanning

  Get a Quote

Request for Quick Quote

Please complete the form below and we will be in touch shortly. Thank you.

We respect your privacy and will never share your email address or phone number with any unauthorised third parties.

    What Our Client Says

    •   Mr. Sharma is very professional and friendly.  We had eRecords scan our books for archive purposes.  The quality of their service is amazing.  They are fast and timely.  I am very glad that we used eRecords to scan our books and wouldn't hesitate to contact eRecords if we need digitizing/imaging service in the future.

      thumb Esther L.
    •   eRecords has provided an amazing high quality scanning work for our books. Mr. Sharma is very detail oriented and the results are just excellent!

      thumb Eliana D.
    •   I contacted eRecords for a small-scale scanning job. Although they usually work on large projects, Pankaj was more than willing to help with what I was looking for! The scans that came back were high quality, and delivered in a timely matter. eRecords was also the business that quoted me the most competitive price. I would definitely recommend - Pankaj is knowledgable and a great collaborator to work with on meeting any scanning service you may need.

      thumb Nina P.
    •   ERecords USA has provided Fast, Timely, and Amazing quality service for scanning my books and magazines. Ritika, Pankaj, and their Staff are very friendly, flexible, and easy to work with. They go above and beyond in their service. I give them  A+++.

      thumb Rahul P.
    •   I have used eRecordsUSA on three separate occasions and each job was performed exceptionally. All files scanned at high resolution, organized, and returned in a timely manner. Pricing was also very reasonable for such time-intensive work. Management was also very good with their communication.

      I am a digital nomad that owns zero paper, so having all of my files in Google Drive is imperative. With Google's OCR (Optical Coherence Recognition) I can now find my files at lightning speed. ie - I search for [deed], [roof repair], [assessment], etc. and all relevant files "automagically" appear.

      thumb Cameron V.
    •   EXCELLENT quality work. VERY professional. I had some kids art work scanned high resolution that was too large for the scanners at copy shops. eRecordsUSA did a fantastic job and I highly recommend them.

      thumb Stephen M.
    •   ERecords USA provided a fast and accurate turnaround for a request to duplicate X-Rays.  They ensured that copies were accurate prior to payment and went out of their way to produce within a short time.

      thumb Beth S.
    •   Erecords scanned 56 bankers boxes of legal case files and other professional documents for me. This was a particularly difficult and complex job because, in naming files, they had to work from both a written file inventory and the file names on the folders themselves and use a consistent file naming protocol that Erecords and I agreed upon. They did an outstanding job of following this file naming protocol and organizing the documents in digital form to create the file structure that I intended. This job was also difficult because of the variety of page sizes and the age and condition of some of the documents; they managed to accurately capture everything. They also made the job easier for me by picking the documents up at my home. Pankaj at E records was invariably courteous and helpful and spent the time needed with me before the job to develop a digital file structure to make the documents most useful. I highly recommend Erecords for document scanning.

      thumb David L.
    •   I chose eRecords to scan over 2000 pages of yearbooks and several hundred photos from the early 90's to early 00's. I was not disappointed. They were one of the few locations in the Bay Area that I contacted that let me drop off and pickup the material in person. The JPG and PDF scans that they sent me were extremely high quality and OCR'd the yearbooks so I can search for text. They were able to repair one of my yearbook's bindings to the point where I couldn't even find the repair! This place is professional and good value for what I received. If something ever happened to my irreplaceable yearbooks and photos I know they're digitized now and backed up to multiple locations on my network and cloud! Highly recommended, Pankaj and eRecords!

      thumb David B.
    •   I found eRecordsUSA on an internet search and contacted them to inquire about scanning to PDFs a set of some six hundred old, faded, tattered pages of an underground/community newspaper I co-founded fifty years ago.  I lucked out on this first call, finding a most professional, efficient, accessible, top notch company to help me archive my newspaper despite these trying, pandemic times.

      thumb Ted R.