Book Scanning (for cheap)


Building a Scanner

Image: My scanning rig

I built a book scanning rig over a weekend following this instructible:

Bargain-Price Book Scanner from a Cardboard Box

I used my sony NEX-5n camera (although any reasonable camera would work, even a phone) and tripod I already owned, with an IKEA desk lamp as a light source. I tried two cardboard boxes - my first one was bigger than the one in the guide, my second was smaller. The smaller box did a better job. You just need your boxes to be big enough to hold your book, or a bit bigger. Camera setup is trial and error until you get a good picture. For my platen I used a sheet of glass from the front of a photo frame. This was free for me, as I had all the parts lying around.

Tips for Scanning a Book

I'm not an expert on bookscanning, but here are some tips, so you can learn from my mistakes!


I used scantailor advance for post-processing, but I cannot comment any more on it because I'm pretty sure I did everything wrong. There are other people who actually know how to use it.

For making a pdf, I used img2pdf on the scantailor output, after compressing it to jpeg2000. This resulted in a shitty looking scan, but a smaller file. In the end I gave up on making a scan look good as long as the information was present.

I'm sorry that this page sucks, but I suck at book scanning. Resources from people who actually know what they're doing:

DIY Book Scanner