If you wish to digitize a book, or even several of them, and you do not wish to do it yourself , then a book scanning service is the perfect solution. For this article we gathered a list of book scanning services operating in the US that you can send your books to and get them back as a PDF.
What are book scanning services?
Book scanning services are places where you can send over your books and they will send you back a digital copy of your book usually in the form of a PDF.
These services use professional types of book scanners (and in some cases automatic) to scan old or new books with software, speed, and camera quality that home book scanners can’t compare with.
Before you send your books for a scan you might want to consider a few other methods for book scanning in our article: How to scan a book.
Book scanning services available in the USA
The 1dollarscan book scanning service can scan and digitize your books from as little as one dollar. This makes it one of the most affordable book scanning services around.
They can convert the scanned book into a format of your choice, including PDFs, EPUBs, and MOBI, which is for Kindle apps and devices.
What’s more, 1dollarscan uses the OCR process, which means that the digitized book will be searchable.
2. Blue Leaf
BlueLeaf is one of the most popular and talked about book scanning services around. When this article was written, their prices started at just under $15 per book, making them quite low cost.
They can scan your books and digitize them into PDFs or e-books, including those for the Kindle or Nook, and they use the OCR process to make them searchable.
But the star feature of the Blue Leaf book scanning service is how they can also convert your book into an audio-book.
3. Bound Book Scanning
The star feature of Bound Book Scanning meanwhile, is that they promise that once you have sent your book in for scanning, it will be posted back to fully intact, in the same condition it was sent. This is called non-destructive scanning, and is perfect for those who wish to preserve original old or rare books.
You can opt to receive your digitized book in a choice of formats, including e-book formats, MP3, or on a CD.
The USP of this service is that they will scan 10 pages of the book free of charge, and only once you have confirmed satisfaction via email are you given the option to pay for the whole book to be scanned.
4. Book Baby
Book Baby on the other hand offers destructive book scanning. You simply send your book in to them, and they will unbind it and remove the pages to ensure a very precise scan of every single page.
You will then receive a high resolution PDF copy, which you can then use to republish your book for the digital age. They are based in Philadelphia and the PDFs are backed by a satisfaction money-back guarantee.
5. Datamation Book Scanning
Datamation is a high-volume document scanning company that works primarily with large collections and archives. Their service covers a wide range of media, including newspapers, yearbooks, and rare and fragile books.
They offer OCR scanning to make the digitized documents searchable. And when complete, the digital files can be sent to you either via DVD, USB, cloud drive, or email.
6. Modern Image USA
Modern Image USA is based in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia, and their star feature is that they use a contact-less scanner to create mirror image copies of any photos or books sent in to them.
And the advantage of this is that contact with the book is kept to a minimum, and your physical book will be returned to you in the same conditions as it was when received.
You choose your preferred format, and they also offer OCR processing.
eRecords USA is based in San Francisco, California, and their star feature is how they can scan any bound book, regardless of its size, shape, style, or condition.
They offer non destructive book scanning, which means that your printed book will be returned to you in the same condition as it was received.
What’s more, it features OCR processing, so that the PDF e-book you receive will be searchable. They can also offer Word or Excel file formats.
Smooth Solutions offers both non-destructive and semi-destructive book scanning.
They use OCR processing for searchability, and produce formats TIFF, JPEG, or PDF.
How to scan a book by yourself?
It may interest you to know that you can scan books yourself at home using a book scanner, there are a few things to consider before buying a book scanner like the types of scanners and different brands you can buy.
A more simple solution can be to go to your nearest public library and ask if they have a book scanner.
Another option a lot of people turn to is scanning a book on your phone using a phone app for scanning books.
How to scan an old book without hurting it?
If you do decide to scan a book yourself, you need to be particularly careful with older books because they are more easily damaged. To learn about how to scan an old book without hurting it, please check out our article titled “How to scan old books” which is available on this link.
What are automatic book scanning machines?
With automatic book scanners you only have to place the book in the right spot and the scanner does the rest of the work for you. These kinds of scanners have an automatic page turner so they are almost entirely hands free. Since they are expensive and big machines they are mostly used in industrial businesses or state of the art libraries.
Some book scanning services use automatic scanners to scan books fast with great quality.
When is it best to send a book for a scanning service?
I suggest you go ahead and read our article: How to scan a book where we describe all the possible methods for scanning a book by yourself.
If after reading about all the methods you still feel like sending your books to a special book scanning service, or if you simply do not have the time to scan your books yourself, then sending the book/s for scanning services is your best solution.
What Kind of quality can I expect?
When you send books for scanning services, you can expect excellent quality. They are professionals, after all, and they know how to scan books for the best possible results.
How long does it take to scan a book?
According to gutenberg.org, a reasonable modern book scanner can scan two typical pages in approximately 30 seconds, which works out at about 240 pages an hour. This means that most books can be scanned in as little as an hour and half. This depends a lot on the different specifications of the book scanner. You may read more about it in our article about how book scanners work.
Do book scanning services also do OCR scanning?
Most book scanning services use a process called OCR, which stands for Optical Character Recognition. Using OCR means that when a digital PDF file is created through scanning, the file can be made searchable, allowing you to find specific words anywhere they appear in the text.
All of the services we mentioned in our list above provide OCR scanning.
What else should I consider before sending my books to be scanned?
There are a few general considerations to take into account before scanning a book. But you should definitely consider the legality of book scanning according to the copyright law in your state.