We are testing the best cheap book scanner currently on the market, which is the Klip Snap. We like the following things about it which definitely makes it number 1 in our opinion:
- The cost of the book cradle is definitely impressive. Also, you don’t have to order the SV600 from Klip directly, and you can source it locally. This is great to know.
- We also think the scanning quality is pretty much on par with more expensive book scanners, especially if you are looking to scan at no more than 300 dpi.
- The book cradle is quite versatile, it will move up and down independently, but it also features a sideways movement, to allow for books with thicker gutters to be scanned.
|432 x 300 mm
|~3 sec per Scan
|up to 285dpi vertically
|Check the price
|594 x 420 mm A2+
|~1 sec per Scan
|up to 600dpi for A4
|Check the price
How we test a cheap book scanner
First of all we want to know the price of the device. Things are relative when it comes to cheap book scanners. It all depends on what you do with the device and what is generally possible with that scanner. So in our case, we are looking for the cheapest device and then reverse engineer from there, what it can do, if it’s versatile enough and if there is real return on investment, even with a cheap scanner.
Versatility of use is another aspect we look at. First of all the scanning size should be large enough to accomodate a decent amount of books. Considering that 99% of the books are not larger than double A4, an A3 book scanner should be enough. Of course, if it is larger, than your gain.
Second thing is the type of books it can scan. We usually take a hardback, a softback and a mixed book, that is either damaged or can’t be opened properly. This will give enough information about the variety of materials that can be scanned.
Last but not least we look at the construction of the scanner and how easy it is to use. We prefer a robust device as working in the scanning business will always result in quite a mess and the durability will be tested to its limits. The ease of us comes down to how quickly you can swap operators and what is the learning curve for them.
How the Klip Snap works
So, we have got our hands on one of these. This is basically a book scanning cradle on top of which you will put a Scansnap SV600. I think you can also use other document cameras such as the CZUR, but you should play with the lighting module a bit just to make sure you avoid reflections.
Price wise, the cradle is around 950 EURO, which is not that much, when you compare to book scanners that usually start from 6-7000 EURO. And trust us, there isn’t much going on for those when compared to the Klip Snap. So at least price wise, the Klip Snap fares quite well, and we like this aspect.
In our tests, we ran the softcover book on it and the results were mixed. On some pages it did well, on others not so good. But this is a problem with all book cradles that scan at 180 degrees opening. So whether you are spending 20k on a book scanner or you are getting the Klip, the results for softcovers will be just as good. This is usually corrected with a vshape book scanner, where the glass enters the book in a different fashion and results seem to improve.
The hardback and the damaged book worked perfectly. We saw that the elevators provide height adjustment and the glass then flattens the book perfectly. Scans are very good each time, and very predictable. This is the key term with a book cradle, predictability, the fact that you can estimate production volumes per hour and per day, and you know you will be matching them. It’s the rescans that are a big pain and with the Klip Snap there aren’t that many.
What about ease of use? Well we took the one person from our office, a female colleague of mine working in office administration. She has no clue how a book scanner works or really what a book scanner is. After showing her a few things and trying for a couple of minutes, she quickly got the hang of it. So I would assume the Klip Snap is very easy to use, given that she was able to learn book scanning so quickly.
Klip Cam A2+ book scanner
The Klip Cam is still a prototype for A2+ bookscanning on the cheap side. It will feature a mirrorless camera to help users achieve 300dpi for an A2 surface.
We have seen the prototype first hand, and we have the following things to say about it. Just like the Klip Snap it has a 180 degree book cradle. So you can expect to have the same issues with softcover books. With the hardcovers, it should work perfectly fine. COmpared to the Klip Snap, you will be able to scan larger books, such as A2 opened registers, which were quite popular with archives 20 30 years ago.
Construction wise, it is sturdy and built like a tank. I don’t think much can happen with it. Maybe you will have to replace the light systems, although those are high grade LED’s and I don’t think they will crash very soon. One thing you might replace is the camera, because the system is using a mirrorless camera. As they evolve, changing the camera will be a good idea to improve on features and also resolution, as the megapixel race is fully on.
I think it will be very interesting to have a cheaper A1 model, so as cameras evolve, hopefully the Klip Cam will also increase in size to A1. We think that is where the real opportunities are, given that bookscanners for A1 are really expensive.
Should you buy the Klip Snap or the Klip Cam
Both of these devices are interesting but they serve different purposes. We would buy the Klip Snap on the following conditions:
- First of all the book spread has to be up to A3, maybe a bit higher it should still be ok. This is the maximum scanning size for the Klip Snap. If you need a larger size, then the Klip Cam should be your choice.
- Second thing to know is the scanning resolution. From what we have seen in our tests, Klip maximizes scanning size and tries to achieve 300dpi for it. So the emphasis is less on going above 300dpi and more of having the largest scanning area while maintaining a decent resolution.
- The scanning speed of the Fujitsu SV600 is good enough for you and your project. While the Klip Cam offers 300dpi just like the SV600, the scanning speed is much quicker, given the construction of the mirrorless camera, compared to the linear sensor on the SV600.