best app to scan textbooks and turn them into pdf files

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by Qbiinz, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. Qbiinz, Apr 26, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012

    Qbiinz macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2010
    so... im a college student and have a new ipad and want to scan my textbooks in order to digitize them and turn them into pdf documents. I've found a few textbooks online, already in pdf format, and this has been working so well i want to scan and convert all my textbook now.

    There are 4 apps that im looking at right now

    1 pdf reader pro - $5.99
    2 pdf reader ipad edition -$4.99
    3 pdf reader pro ipad edition - $9.99
    4 scanner pro - $6.99

    im leaning toward pdf reader ipad edition the most. I read in a review scanner pro only does black and white scans and im not even sure if that app can even convert an image to pdf. The 2 functions that seem like they would be the most useful in this instance are 1: the ability to import images straight from my photo library. 2: convert those images into a single pdf file, which all 3 pdf reader apps claim they do.

    It also seems that the pdf reader ipad edition is vastly superior to its pro counterpart. Firstly it looks to have more features, and at 36 MB compared to 13.2 MB for the pro version, seems to reinforce that notion. Also the regular version is only $4.99 where as the pro version is $9.99. The pro version was just released last week but the 5 star to 1 star review % worries me a bit.

    If you have any suggestions, comments, recommendations, or advice please respond below.

    EDIT: it seems pdf reader ipad edition and pdf reader pro ipad edition are actually made by 2 separate companies and don't appear to to be related to each other.
  2. jdcell100 macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2010
  3. qCzar macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2011
    SFBA, CA
    I don't know about your textbooks but mine are all 400, 500 pages if not more. If you want to hold your iPad over a text book for hours on end, go for it. Also, unless those programs have OCR you'll be storing each page as an image, even if each page is 500kilobytes you'll have at least 200MB's a book that won't render right when you zoom in for detail.

    Now, if you OCR the pages most of the book will be text which the iPad will render as text and it'll zoom. You can double tap columns to fit in screen. And, the size would come down. The only images you'd have are possibly headers, graphics and other things the OCR can't read.

    It's a great idea but I think you need to think it through.
  4. Qbiinz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2010
    yeah it might take an hour or two to scan all the pages but then i can just return the book to the book store and get my money back. So is an hour or two worth $100-$180 yeah for me it is. Not to mention if I do that 4-5 time the ipad will have paid for itself. also i have a 64GB ipad so 200MB worth of images per book isn't really a concern. plus when they are converted hopefully the file size should shrink a bit.
  5. MiniMoke, Apr 26, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012

    MiniMoke macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2009
    OK, first I hope your statement to return the books after scanning is just a joke...... this is not very honest behavior and you should not advertise it this way!

    As for your question, I have a HP Officejet 6500 wireless printer/scanner and a HP app lets me scan wirelessly to pdf straight from my iPad. No need holding the thing steady for hours,just load the scanner tray and go.

    Hope this helps
  6. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    Frankly, I wouldn't bother - desktop scanning is so much better and precise. Ask a friend to loan an even semi-modern notebook with an OCR app on it.
  7. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    You'll never get a good scan of a text book and you will give up pretty quickly.

    But if you do manage it...I would also sell copies to your classmates :eek:
  8. Markdek macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2012
  9. JesseW6889 macrumors 6502

    Dec 12, 2010
    I'm also a student, and the pdf's of books I found on the internet saved me enough to pay for my iPad. I won't tell you what you're doing is wrong, because the college book industry is a joke, and the fact that they try to justify their expenses to upgrading an algebra book is just as funny... anyways, if you REALLY want to use your iPad for all your books, you will NOT be happy with the size, quality or render speed of any pdf's you could make on your iPad.

    If you are serious about using your iPad to store your iPads, your BEST bet is to get a ScanSnap (SnapScan?) from Fujitsu, cut off the binders and scan the pages like that. Staples will cut off the binders for $2, and some of them even have the machines to scan the stuff (i think, I've never done it that way). ScanSnap's automatically feed the documents through, scanning each, ocr's it, and turns it into a pdf and keeps going... even with this being such an automated process, I couldn't get through doing it on a 500 page math book, unless it was one chapter at a time.

    I'd suggest you invest in some more equipment ($449 for ScanSnap + Books), it'll be worth it in the long run when you can SEARCH through your entire book for any keywords! Believe me, its worth the cost just for that.

    Plus, you can sell the pages to your rightfully bought text book to someone else who needs to buy the book on a budget and who won't mind rifling through the pages.

    Also, since morality doesn't seem to be an issue, you can sell the pdf's to class mates!

    After its all said and done, an ocr'ed 500 page book, ends up being 20-30mb with in EXCELENT quality.
  10. phpmaven macrumors 68040


    Jun 12, 2009
    San Clemente, CA USA
    An hour or two :p you've obviously never tried to scan pages out of a book, have you? With a 500+ page book, it will take many hours of tedious effort and the results will probably not be very good. Even if you had a good scanner and Adobe Acrobat, it would be really difficult to make a decent PDF from scanned pages. It can be done, and I've seen some shorter books that turned out decently, but I can't imagine trying to do it with a huge textbook. I wouldn't even think of doing it without cutting the binding of the book off so that I could just deal with one page at a time and not have to try and lay the book down on the scanner.
  11. markcres macrumors 6502


    Mar 30, 2006
    Have you thought about putting your hand in your pocket and buying the book instead of illegaly copying a decent civilised human being?
  12. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    destructive scans (tear book apart and run through feeder), regular scans (flatbed scanner), phoography (tripod and camera), and ebooks are all possibilities. using the ipad to scan is like commuting to
    campus by tricycle. you could, but why?

    as for the legality of you scanning the library copy (illegal to
    do more than about 30 percent -- people differ about this number), or you and three friends doing it (each doing 30 percent -- within the fair use amount), i won't comment. i am only saying that you ought to do it smart. i think i posted a thread somewhere about going digital last year. there is plenty online to help.
  13. CarlyHudson macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2012
    use a service of some kind

    I can't imagine scanning my textbooks by myself. I'd look into 1dollarscan or some other bookscanning services. Those guys are pretty cheap you can have OCR searchable functions too. I started scanning all my textbooks too and enjoy reading them on the Ipad it's worth it in my opinion I don't want to give up too many weekends scanning books.
  14. barnyard macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
    Overlooking the fact that what you are proposing is illegal...

    Have you thought about a textbook rental service like Chegg?

    They will certainly save you money versus buying books from your college bookstore. They are really pro-student and are working to make college less expensive!


    Here's a 5% coupon to get you started...
  15. -TYLER macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2012
    Even though it is illegal, the prices of text books are ridiculous now. I think it is a good idea and he should definitely do it.
  16. AppleDApp, Jun 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012

    AppleDApp macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2011
    Whether or not this is ethical is a debate on it's own.

    I would recommend doing all the scanning with a scanner and computer. I have an HP Officejet 6500A all-in-one printer that I use for scanning. It also does AirPrint.
    To scan I use PDFScanner pretty straight forward.
    Palpatine has writing an extensive thread on how to go paperless
  17. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Thanks for linking to that thread. This will take you to the beginning of it.

    I am planning to try some of those scanning services, but just haven't got around to it yet. It really doesn't take long to scan a book.

    If you are a student, Apple's Back to School sale starts soon, so you can get a new Macbook + iPad (for reading), convince your parents to spring for a year of Evernote premium, purchase your textbooks, tear them apart, digitize them (OCR everything yourself if possible -- academic discount on Adobe Acrobat Pro is nice), and put them into Evernote (remember, Evernote will not OCR PDFs with more than 100 pages).

    Why? Because you will have the content of every course searchable, accessible anytime, and anyplace. A few hours this summer will pay off big time when the new semester rolls around.
  18. Invincibilizer macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2011
    Are there any updates on this?

    OP has this worked for you?
  19. steveoc macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2007
    Adirondacks NY
    If I cannot buy a digital copy of a book, I usually digitize it myself by melting the glue with a hair dryer and putting them through a document scanner. I have a couple scanning apps on my iPad, but I cannot imagine taking the time to scan an entire book.

    My Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 with duplex scanning makes quick work of it. The integrated OCR makes it effortless to create a searchable PDF. After that I open it in Adobe Acrobate Pro to reduce the file size, save to Drop Box, and load onto my favorite iPad PDF reader/annotator.

    I just scanned a 120 page book in well under 5 minutes. No way could you do that with an iPad app. The document scanner makes it truly practical to digitize books. I have done this to scores of books.
  20. notesw macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2013
    You can afford a 64gb model but you need dishonesty to get another product, congrats sir..

    Do you have any scruples?


    But he can afford an expensive ipad?

    If you cant afford the books you need for your education then perhaps you need to rethink your plan. Also what you're doing is illegal and more importantly immoral.
  21. heyluckum macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2013
    Crestline, CA

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