In case you don’t have access to a professional book scanner or a library book scanner you can digitize documents using your smartphone and a book scanning phone app. In this article, I will cover 10 book scanning apps, to make scanning old books or new books with your phone a simpler process.
Depending on your budget, there are a variety of free and paid-for apps to help you digitize your books.
10 Apps for scanning books on your phone
1. Office Lens By Microsoft
OfficeLens is one of the most popular free book scanning apps for Android devices. It is available on both Android and iOS, allowing users to scan paper documents and save them as PDFs or JPEG images. The app also lets users edit scanned documents using Microsoft Word Online.
OfficeLens conveniently has four scanning modes: Document, Business Card, Whiteboard, and Photo for when you’re taking photos of anything other than text, such as to scan your passport.
A potential downside is that the OCR processing happens outside of the app. As a result, you have to save the image as a .docx file to OneDrive, before you can open it in Word and access the text this way. However, considering it’s free, you might overlook this!
2. Scanner For Me
If you’re looking for a super speedy book scanning and OCR app, then Scanner For Me might be the app for you.
When using this app, you can conveniently switch between viewing your scan and the OCR rendering by clicking the tabs at the top of your screen.
Retailed at $6.99, you can save your scanned documents as either an image or text to email, Apple Message, iCloud, or any other supported app on your phone provided that you grant permission to do so.
A downside to this app is that it’s unfortunately only compatible with iOS devices, which isolates those with Android devices.
3. Scanner Pro
If you want an all-in-one scanning app for your iOS device that doesn’t break the bank, at $3.99 you can’t really go wrong with Scanner Pro.
A huge plus about the Scanner Pro app is that it corrects distortion automatically, providing you with a neat scan.
The Scanner Pro app also has OCR capabilities, although it is very basic. The mediocre results of the OCR alongside the fact that this app is only available on iOS devices are significant drawbacks to consider.
4. SwiftScan Pro
SwiftScan Pro is another scanning app for digitizing books that is available on both Android and iOs devices.
It offers a similar setup to the aforementioned Scanner Pro app, however, it comes at a price tag of $6.99.
A great thing about the SwiftScan Pro app is that it allows you to share a pdf or jpg file through any supported app, including Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox to name a few.
This app does its best to provide accurate scans, but it’s not perfect every single time.
The OCR processing happens automatically and is moderately accurate. However, given the reasonable price, this might be something that you can look past.
5. FineReader Pro
The FineReader Pro app is one of the best applications for scanning on the market today!
This app allows you to digitize books simply by pointing your smartphone camera at it, automatically detecting the page’s edges.
It’s incredibly quick, and on average can scan three pages in around 1 minute.
However, with a price point of $59.99, this app is on the more expensive side.
That being said, if you frequently scan documents, the FineReader Pro app could be a worthwhile investment.
CamScanner is a free application that works well for most people. It’s easy to use and provides a decent quality scan.
You can even upload images directly from your photo library. While it does have OCR, it is fairly basic, as you can expect from a free app. Another downside is that because it’s free, you can be bombarded with ads.
That being said, this app is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.
7. Open Note Scanner
Open Note Scanner is another free app that works well for most users.
While it doesn’t offer much in terms of features, it does allow you to easily add notes to scanned documents.
Unfortunately, Open Note Scanner is an app that is only compatible with Android devices.
8. Evernote Scannable
Evernote Scannable is another free application that works well for iOs devices.
The app allows you to scan important documents, receipts, and even book excerpts. In addition to allowing you to scan documents, you can also annotate them using the app. Alongside this, Evernote OCR makes images and scanned PDFs searchable.
It’s worth noting that there are some downsides to this app. The main one is that it’s not available on Android.
9. Adobe Scan
Adobe Scan is a free app powered by Adobe Sensei that is suitable for both Android and iOS users.
It allows you to quickly scan documents and save them into PDF format. You can then edit these files or send them via email.
Adobe Scan automatically detects borders, digitizes printed text, and removes shadows.
A great thing about Adobe Scan is that you can preview scans, as well as touch them up by adjusting the color. However, a downside is that the OCR has pretty basic results.
10. Apple Note App
Apple Note App is another free app that is exclusive to iOS and has a built-in scanner.
The OCR capability is done automatically as part of the document scanning feature.
A significant drawback to the Apple Note App is that it excludes Android users.
What is OCR scanning and which apps have it?
OCR is a feature in the software of the app that allows it to recognize characters, letters and symbols. It’s really great because it allows you to later make a search in the scanned document. Many apps have OCR scanning built into them but not all of them.
Examples for apps that have OCR are Scanner For Me and FineReader Pro.
Read more about it in our guide: What is OCR scanning?
How else can you scan your books?
A good place to start will be our article on how to scan any book where we discuss the different methods to scan books alongside the following methods.
You should also learn about the different types of book scanners, and the different brands.
And if you’re getting a book scanner, consider reading about book scanning software, and about how book scanners actually work.
If you want to get fast results with high quality scanning you might also want to consider a book scanning service to do the digitization for you.
Traditional at-home scanners are can scan any book just fine. But if you plan to scan more than one book and wish to get good results you should read our article about the different types of book scanners.
Whether you opt for a flatbed or sheet-fed scanner, they are a worthwhile investment for saving you time and energy in return for high-quality.
Alternatively, you could opt for a professional book scanning service. This is a great option if you intend to scan more than one book and you don’t have the time to do it yourself. In our article about book scanning services we discuss different services you can contact online.
These services usually use a professional automatic book scanner that has a high-quality camera and speed.
How to scan old books?
If we’re talking about very old books that you want to keep intact, then the best way to scan them is with non-destructive scanning through a book scanning service.
Non-destructive means that you get a digital copy of your deteriorating book, but also get to keep your book perfectly intact should it hold sentimental value to you.
If it’s just a regular old book that is rather old you can use a simple and affordable book scanner.
You could also find use in our guide: How to scan old books?
Hopefully, after reading this article you have a better understanding of the scanning apps that are out there. Other than phone apps there are a few more aspects to consider before you start scanning books; like the legality of book scanning.