One of the specialised services at our London bureau is book scanning, the process of converting physical books into digital media as images or electronic text (e-books). Whether it is a single book or several hundred books Technofile can help you.
With the introduction of e-books, which can be read on tablets such as Amazon Kindles or Apple ipads the requirement to scan books published on paper has grown enormously. Being able to scan your book, which, may, for instance not be published in paper format any more, gives you a low cost option to sell or produce your book digitally for worldwide distribution. Of course its just not writers that need book scanning, libraries need complete collections scanned, archivists need precious documents to be scanned so they can keep the originals in tact. Students may need a thesis scanned so they can post copies on the web.
The book scanning service
As with all our scanning, the process is carried out at our Essex based bureau and is therefore central for anybody in London and the south East, with collection available.
There are two types of scanning required by our customers:
This is always going to be the best method if you do not mind damaging your original books by having the spine removed. By removing the spine carefully, pages will be able to go through a rotary scanner flat. Sometimes pages can be removed without the need for guillotining, but other times, perhaps because of the way the books are glued, the books are better guillotined. The individual pages are then scanned flat. Book scanning will normally be scanned at 300 dpi (dots per inch) to ensure good OCR, though they may have to be scanned at a higher dpi if the text is very small. If the text is faint we can also enhance the images.
As the pages are going through the scanner at a reasonable speed, this is also the lowest cost method. One of the rare cases, perhaps, where better quality costs less. That said, there are many situations where books cannot be damaged in any way and they will need to be scanned bound.
Books that need to be scanned bound because they cannot be damaged in anyway cannot go through standard rotary or planetary scanners. They need to be scanned on overhead scanners. Overhead scanners are specialised scanners that, in effect, use digital cameras from above to scan their images. The sensors in modern day cameras have enough megapixels to scan A3, or even larger, at 300 dpi and not require the excessive light that was once needed. The books are placed carefully on a stand using a cradle to hold it if necessary. A glass plate is gently placed over the pages as they are scanned to keep them as flat as possible.
Normally the scans are of a very good quality as the pages are still when the scan is captured, however there can be difficulties if the typed words of the books go close to the binding, particularly, on large books. This is because of the curvature. Whilst specialist software does a lot to correct this and OCR has now improved to the extent that the words can be recognised, even if they are not perfect, there can occasionally be problems. We will always work with you and test each book first to identify any possible concerns before proceeding with the scanning of the book.
Converting to an e-book
Converting a scanned book to one of the e-book formats does need more work than scanning and converting to digital text using OCR. Depending on the book some reformatting will be inevitable and proof reading the entire book is advisable if you want to be sure of getting a perfect digital book. We offer a number of services to help you with this. We always produce a searchable PDF of the book and then offer various formats in word and text formats so you can change or correct your book as necessary. We can also re-format and proof read the document for you.