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This Home-Made Book Scanner Uses an iPhone, Scans 24 Pages Per Minute

Book scanners can cost thousands of dollars, but with a little ingenuity you can build one at home relatively cheaply.

Lone Wolf Librarian brought one such rig to our attention. A member of the DIY book scanner forum made this video to show off their project:


As you can see in the video, the camera on the iPhone 4 is triggered by a Bluetooth fob mounted on the PVC pipe frame.

Aside from the cost of the phone (and a license for ABBYY software), I’d estimate that the total cost for the listed hardware parts and app is somewhere under a hundred dollars.

That’s not bad for a rig which can be disassembled into a handful of components.

You can find more info in the relevant forum thread.

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William D. O’Neil April 6, 2017 um 1:41 am

Very neat concept, but it can only scan recto or verso but not both in sequence. So you would need to scan all the recto pages first and then all the verso, then merge. While Finereader can do the merge, if you have inadvertently skipped a page you have a mess on your hands.

Mohib April 6, 2017 um 9:47 am

@William D. O’Neil, thanks for the feedback, and let me first thank The Digital Reader for featuring my scanner.

With regarding the potential problem with page sequencing you raise, it’s actually not as big a problem as it appears to be.

In this post on the forum (copied below without the screen shots):

I set out the exact procedure I use, which doesn’t involve Finereader for exactly the reason you mentioned.

Instead, after doing some a simple math check against the printed page numbers to determine if any pages are missing, I use free software do bulk rename and renumber first the right hand pages and then the left hand pages. It takes just a few minutes and solves the problem completely. Hope it helps you out:

With respect to renaming, here’s the process I use to scan and rename.

1) First I scan **all** right hand pages from cover to inside back cover (both included). The **only** pages I skip are ones that are blank on both sides.

2) Then I turn the book up-side down scanning all **left** hand pages (now appearing on the right, but upside down), except those blank on both sides, from the back cover to the inside front cover (both included).

3) I copy the files from my iPhone to two directories to keep the left and right pages separate. BTW although you can’t do much with an iPhone attached to your computer without iTunes, plugging the charger cord into a USB socket **does** let you access photos on the iPhone without iTunes and the iPhone photos show up as a regular drive on your computer.

4) Using the book’s printed page numbers and the iPhone generated image numbers (i.e. the filenames) I double check I have the correct quantity of left and right scans as there are numbered pages in the book.

5) I then check I have all left and right un-numbered pages typically found at the start and end of books (copyright pages, title pages, dedications, etc.)

6) If any pages are missing I scan them, copy them to the correct directory (left or right) and rename the image so the missing page drops into sequence. So if the iPhone’s image file names are:


and I missed one page after 1417 and missed another after 1418 then, after scanning the missing pages, I rename them as follows so they drop into sequence:


7) Finally I can now then rename all the scanned pages to get left and right interleaved properly. I use Bulk Rename Utility which is free from here:

It can look very intimidating at first, but is very simple once you get it (screen shots below show what to do for right and then left pages). Important note: You **must select** every file in the list to rename them, else nothing will happen. Once you select a page it shows you a preview of the new name it will get.

I do the right pages first, and then the left.

For the right pages, I set the numbering options to use a suffix, starting at 1 and increment by 2 with a padding of 000.

For the left pages I do the same, but this time I set the numbering options to start at 1 **past** the last right page and then **decrement** by 2 (i.e. increment = -2).

8) Finally I copy all the files to new directory where they should be in order. I remove blank pages using ScanTailor once I’ve loaded them up there.

Mohib April 20, 2017 um 8:27 pm

I have replaced the original video of the scanner mentioned in this post with a more comprehensive one, in HD, on YouTube here:

Nate Hoffelder April 25, 2017 um 8:39 am

Thanks! I updated the post.

Batuhan March 31, 2018 um 1:44 am

Hi, I like the concept and will try later but I have a question. You used abbyy software to change photos searchable text but when I try this software, it makes messy text (no paragraph or titles, not in same page layout) What should I do?

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