In this article we test 5 best book scanners and tell you which one you should buy in 2023. We have chosen 5 separate devices, which should cover a wide range of applications and customer budget. From Our experience, using these devices should cover all your current book scanning needs and most likely all the sizes.
Doing proper book scanning requires overhead scanners that are really suited to the demands of this process. By this we mean that they have to be highly reliable, provide good resolution and also be optimized for book mechanics. We will talk about all of these in the following paragraphs, but also offer you a small table where you can briefly check everything about them.
Most importantly, it has to be an overhead scanner, to be able to qualify as the best book scanner. Unfortunately, book scanning is impossible to do with the book facing down, so I guess this article might as well be called the best overhead scanner that you can buy in 2023.
|Brand and Model
|Manual with special book cradle and flattening glass
|300 x 432mm
|Check the price
|Consumer / Hobby
|297 x 420mm
|Check the price on Amazon
|Fujitsu Scansnap SV600
|Consumer / Hobby
|300 x 432mm
|Check the price on Amazon
|SMA ScanMaster 2
|Semi Automatic and Full Automatic
|450 x 635mm
|SMA RoboScan 2
|460 x 640mm
|Check the price
What are the parameters of our tests
We have developed some particular tests to evaluate book scanners. So we will list them all in the following paragraph, and then see which of the devices can match them and which can’t.
- A softcover book of around 400 pages – To test the mechanics of the book cradle and how the glass plate fits on it
- A hardcover of around 800 pages which will test how easy it is to adjust the cradle during the scanning process
- A book that is not in a good condition, pages flying out and some are torn
- The testchart for resolution and overall image quality and how even the light is
Klip Snap – Book Cradle with Fujitsu SV600
As you already may know, the Klip Snap is a special book cradle designed for the SV600. This device helps the Ricoh scanner achieve better image quality and also improves the overall productivity by reducing the number of rescans.
So, to start out test, we placed the softcover book on the cradle. The first thing that struck us is the fact that you have to hold the glass plate with your shoulder to adjust the book on the cradle. Still, the process is quite easy, and once you have the book in place, you can put the glass plate down and then readjust the cradle. So all in all, a stopper for the glass would help, but still, not very difficult.
So, to scan a softcover is not that difficult. It would probably be easier on a vshaped book scanner, but it will work just well on this cradle as well. A few things that could go wrong is when the writing goes further into the binding, but for the average book you should be safe. So I would give it a 7/10 on this one.
The hardcover is a different animal. The cradle fits perfectly around it and the glass plate evens out the book very well. I can give it a 10/10 and almost every scan is near perfect. You will see the margin of the other pages on the edges, but this will happen with most book scanners out there. For the book in not so good condition, it works flawlessly, practically you can’t go wrong with it.
The resolution testchart showed a resolution of around 300dpi, which is not the best but it’s perfect for most scanning jobs. Considering this bundle is around 1500 EURO, I think the device si definitely worth your interest. All in all, considering the price, the device will be at 9.5/10, given that it does what it should and costs way less than all the other devices.
Ricoh Fujitsu SV600 vs Czur ET16
Both these devices are not full on book scanners, rather they are document cameras. One, the Ricoh, is more like a book scanner, given that it does linear scanning. The Czur is an actual document camera, with a matrix scanning system, which is more or less like a mirrorless camera. So let’s see how they perform.
For the softcover book, you will likely need to stretch it while scanning. The Fujitsu should in theory follow the shape of the pages to adjust for the book curvature automatically. Then it enters this into a software algorithm and calculates the geometric correction. On the Czur the process is done only by image processing, so it tries to estimate based on the scan. Both do a terrible job with this book. But we actually expected this, there is a reason we chose this book. To get better results, you can buy the Klip Snap and put either of the two on it to scan. For the czur, the only caveat is you have to play with the light to eliminate reflections.
The hardcover book is somewhat different. Both do a decent job, even without using the Klip SNap. Actually, the hardcover is more of a test for how thick a book can be that the scanner is able to process. They would get a 7/10 for this book in my opinion. Still, you have to stretch the book a little during the scanning process, otherwise there might be issues with the scans. Regarding the book in bad condition, I guess without a proper book cradle, the results will be mixed. SOme pages were scanned well, some weren’t, so I guess it all depends on the actual condition of the book, and less on these 2 devices.
Last but not least is the resolution test. I actually think the Fujitsu has a smaller sensor than the Czur, but somehow, the Fujitsu scanning results are better every time. It has to do with the lighting system. Being linear, it just has a perfectly even light, all across the surface of the image. With the CZUR, sometimes the edges will not be as sharp. And that also affects the resolution, especially in the corners of the image. So 8/10 for the Ricoh Fujitsu, it’s near 300dpi and 6/10 for the CZUR, just because of the matrix camera system, which physically is almost impossible to setup for even lighting.
SMA ScanMaster 2
I always loved the ScanMaster 2. It’s in my opinion the book scanner with the highest quality currently on the market. The capturing unit is linear and the light is perfectly vertical on the scanned material permanently. Each line is captured and then stitched together, creating the near perfect scan. Still, it does have to go through the mechanics of book scanning, so let’s just see how it stacks up.
The softcover book is easily placed on the book cradle. These can be adjusted up and down and left and right. It’s a feature that also the Klip Snap offers on its cradle. Then you start the scanning process and the results are ok. Not the best, as softcovers are usually more suited to V shaped book scanners. But in all fairness the results are pretty good. Mechanically it’s no different to the Klip Snap when scanning softcovers. But of course the scanning size and resolution is far greater. So for softcovers I guess an 8/10, just because you can go to 600dpi optical resolution.
Then we get to the hardover. Scanning a hardcover book on the Scanmaster is really great. Mechanically the book touches the glass plate and aligns perfectly. And with the perfect lighting module and scanning unit, the results are superb. It’s a 10/10 on this, and it would be 11, because the light is even and the colors are near perfect. The damaged book works just as well, especially given that it has the sensors that don’t allow it to be pressed on the glass plate.
The resolution is where this device absolutely shines. Even compared to the Roboscan, this is way in front. Because of the special scanning unit with a vertical lighting module, each line captured has perfect illumination. In the end, when it is stitched together, the image is crisp and accurate in color and tones. One special mention is that it can go up to 1200dpi optical, which is unheard of in this business.
Sma Roboscan 2
The SMA Roboscan 2 is probably the best automatic book scanner currently available to the public. But in all honesty, it’s not the best because of the automatic scanning, it’s actually the most versatile scanner on the market. And you will see here why this is the case.
Let’s start with the softcover. The Roboscan 2 is an A2 v shape book scanner. What this means is that the book cradle and the glass are V shaped. Practically you don’t have to fully open the book to scan it. So on the softcover, this works perfectly because the glass plate enters all the way into the gutter of the book, capturing everything and without image distortions. It’s the only book scanner here that gets a 10/10 on the softcover book.
The hardcover is the same story, If it scan a softcover it will scan a hardcover. Again, the details are captured all the way into the gutter of the book and the quality of the image is great. Especially for thicker books, I really enjoy scanning them on a V shape book scanner, as the scans come out perfectly. On this, it gets a 10/10 as well. I don’t know how wide the scanner can go, but we tried with a 10cm thick book on our test and it seemed to work just fine. I would guess up to 14-15cm it should be no problem.
Damaged books again, the scanner works great at scanning them. What is interesting is the versatility. You can move the scanning glass either by hand or semi automatically, or if a part of the book is in good condition you can run the scanner in full automatic mode. There are a lot of choices when it comes to using this book scanner, and in every condition you will find a way. It gets 10/10 on this one as well.
In terms of resolution, it gets a 9, but only because the Scanmaster can do 1200dpi. But the Roboscan can do 600dpi optically, which is in my opinion more than enough for just about any book scanning project out there. To be honest it should be close to 9.5 as you don’t need more than 600dpi to scan books.
Treventus ScanRobot 2.0 MDS – High Speed Book Scanning
One scanner that we need to mention is the ScanRobot. What is interesting about it is that it was developed specifically for books, and less with bound documents in mind. So consider everything we say about it in terms of books. Also, consider that it can’t scanned damaged books and won’t work for most bound document scanning projects, it will work for books only
We know the models available on the market. This is by far the fastest, the most efficient and the most polished model out there. The Treventus Mechatronics product can capture book pages automatically, and works with a vshaped book cradle.
- Automatic page turning is managed by air flows and page suction. In most cases it should be gentle to the book and reduces the risk of damaging it. Still, it has a big downside, it can’t scan books that have torn pages. You will need a flatbed scanner next to it. That’s why in our test the Roboscan ended up the 1st.
- Scanning Resolution is 300 or 400dpi. You might not be happy that 600dpi is not available, but trust us, for most scanning jobs you will never need it. We usually scan at 300dpi and even in our test, the other devices we ran were scanning at 300dpi.
- Scanning Quality is very good. The camera has a scanning glass which when you are running it, the air suction sticks the page to the glass. This is near perfect as the page is scanned very flat. I think that in our test, in terms of image consistency this and the SMA Scanners were by far the best.
- The book scanning software is the most advanced software in the market. It features standard workflows and custom ones. You can post-process scans in the software. If you build a customized image processing workflow, it will all be done automatically.
- OCR is integrated into the software. After scanning, the files are taken automatically to the OCR module. No manual intervention. This leads to significant increases in productivity.
When you see the machine in real life, you’ll quickly understand why it’s the best one. Other automatic book scanners have an auto function, but it depends a lot on the book you are scanning.
And when they flip the pages automatically it takes a lot of time. The Treventus scanner just breezes through, at 2500 pages per hour.
Verdict on the best book scanners
Given our test and our ratings, the Sma Roboscan 2 is the best book scanner currently on the market. And we like the fact that it’s versatile and can scan up to A2, which covers 99% of the bound documents that are currently scanned. But the scanner is not cheap, so in case you don’t have the budget, you might get away with other devices.
- When you need a quick capture system for books and documents, then the Klip Snap with the SV600 is the cheapest book scanner on the market. It will scan up to 2xA4 and it has a decent book cradle for books up to 8cm. You can adjust it up and down and sideways, which makes it easy to adjust for the gutter of the book.
- If you scan books or bound documents professionally, then the Scanmaster 2 should be your choice. The scanning size is A2+ and the cradles help you manage even heavy and thick documents. A great choice for archives and archivists, as it captures the image in near perfect quality.
- When you need an automatic book scanner the Treventus Scanrobot should be your pick. It’s by far the most expensive one, but you should buy it only when you have to scan a lot of books. This means scanning providers, libraries or other companies that do a lot of book scanning. But it won’t work for most bound documents, such as archive documents, rather stick to books if you buy iy.
We hope that this guide will give you all the information you need. Buying your next book scanner should be an easier task now.