Best book scanner cradle | What it is and how it helps you

A book scanner cradle is what separates a normal scanner from a specialized book scanning device. It’s probably the main focal point in any device that we use to succesfully scan books.

The cradle is what we use to place the book on and to adjust and move according to the book physics. so we can achieve the best quality and highest productivity during the scanning process.

How a book cradle works

The book cradle usually works by allowing you to always maintain the flatness of the book, no matter how thick or at what page you are during the scanning process. By maintaining flatness we mean that it’s maintaining the best possible flatness that can be achieved with a certain book.

This in turn allows you to then place the book almost perfectly below the flattening glass, which is another layer of increasing the flatness. Using the flattening glass has always been recommended with a good book cradle. They complement each other quite well, therefore offering the chance to achieve optimal quality in scanning. Also, another thing you will achieve is less rescans, which in turn should increase overall productivity in the scanning process.

Things to consider are also the independent left and right cradles. These are purposely built such that the left and the right page of the book can be moved independently, therefore lining them up better on the glass plate. Remember, the thickness of the book on the right side and the left side will vary depending at which page you are in the scanning process.

Type of book cradles

There are 2 main types of book cradles, flat or 180 degree ones and v shaped book cradles. Of course, there are numerous little adjustments that you will see on different devices, but the main two options are the ones above.

Flat book cradles

These are the cradles that you see featured on most scanning devices. The principle is simple, you have 2 independent cradles that can be moved up and down independently, to allow for different thicknesses of books. As we specified in the first paragraph, these should allow you to allign the images perfectly to the pressing glass.

A second thing you will see on this cradle is the option to move the two cradles further apart or closer to one another. It’s an important feature to have given that books have various binding types. Increasing or decreasing the gap between the cradles will allow you to better adapt the cradle to the book you are scanning.

V shaped book cradle

These are newer types of book cradles and usually they allow you to scan softbacks better or books that don’t open all the way to 180 degrees. They are better suited to camera based book scanners, where you have one camera scanning the left page and the other the right page.

Further more, the v shaped book cradle should preferably have the posibility to spread the two cradles so you can fit thicker books. Also, the entire assembly has to be able to move left and right easily during the scanning process, given that while you are flipping pages, the thickness on both sides will increase and decrease with every page you are scanning.

What we think is important but is missing on some scanners is an adjustment for each flap of the book cradle. This will help you with micro adjustments to better allign the pages on the scanning glass. It’s a top tip and any manufacturer not considering this is definitely not understanding its value.

Which book cradle to buy

It might seem easier to say that v shaped book cradles are better, given that they offer more reliability in the scanning process and also more versatile. But I guess that it always depends on the projects you are scanning.

For example, if your book range varies quite a bit, so you have a mix of hardbacks and softbacks, old and new, and even books that don’t open all the way, go for the v shape one. It will give you a lot of piece of mind, given that you can throw just about any book at it.

So you might wonder what is the role of flat cradles then? Well, there are some case where these are actually more reliable, and v shape ones are impossible to use. The main example is when books have content going from one page to the other. In such cases you need a cradle that is 180, because almost no bookscanners with V shape cradles can scan both pages into a single image perfectly, even with auto stictching.

So the morale is that in general v shape book cradles are more versatile and give you less hassle during the scanning proces. Unless you are scanning books with content moving all the way from the left to the right page. In such cases, supports that are at 180 degress are what we would call the best book scanner crade.

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