The KIC Self-Serve Book Scanning Stations

I’d love to have one of these book scanners in my spare bedroom that serves as an office for my genealogy research! At a price of $5,000 to $25,000 (US dollars) each, I’m afraid these professional grade scanners are far too costly for me or for most other genealogists. However, that price is not out reach for many public libraries, some local genealogy society libraries, and perhaps even the office supply store in your neighborhood that already offers scanning and photocopying services. If you are interested in getting your hands on one of these professional book scanners, you might drop a hint or two at your local library or society!

In fact, I wouldn’t limit the potential audience to genealogy societies. You may have historical societies, museums, or other organizations in the area that would be interested in these high-speed book scanners. Perhaps they could even start a partnership with another local organization to purchase one. Another possibility is that you might encourage your local genealogy society to make a donation to a nearby library as “seed money” for a campaign to collect funds from local businesses, organizations, and individuals to purchase such a scanner.

At these prices, the scanner needs to be used frequently to justify the purchase price. A group purchase by several organizations and individuals probably is the most cost-effective method of obtaining access to one of these scanning powerhouses.

The KIC scanners are equally comfortable digitizing a single page, a number of pages, or even an entire book. The scanners with the larger scanning surfaces can also digitize maps and oversized documents.

All of the KIC book scanners include software that will store the images in the following formats: Basic PDF, JPEG, PNG, or MP3 Audio(TTS).

A SmartDock will copy a printed book directly to a digital version on an iPad.

Files can be stored on USB flash drives, sent to any email address (including your own), Smart Dock™, tablets, e-book readers (such as Kindle), smart phones, FTP file transfers, Google Docs, Dropbox, and to most any other cloud storage service. Saving to USB flash drives is probably the most common option. A 16-gigabyte USB flash drive costs about $5 and can store thousands of pages of books or documents.

The KIC scanners do not include printers to produce hard-copies of the books being digitized. However, virtually any off-the-shelf laser or inkjet printer can be added to any KIC system, so you can optimize costs and speeds and also offer affordable color. In fact, most libraries probably already have one or more high-speed color or black-and-white printers capable of reproducing the items being scanned. Of course, the better way probably is to save the book electronically instead of “killing another tree” to print it on paper.

The KIC Self-Serve Book Scanning Stations are available in a number of models of different sizes and different scanning capabilities. The lowest-price unit at approximately $5,000 is called the BookEdge. It will scan entire books but requires the most manual effort of the various KIC scanners. It will scan entire books, but only one page at a time. After each page is scanned, a human must lift the book off the scanner, turn the page, place the book back onto the scanner, and press a button to scan the next page. Also, the scanner can only scan books or documents up to 11.8 by 17 inches. In contrast, some of the more expensive KIX scanners will scan documents up to 17 by 24.4 inches and will also scan two pages at a time.

Besides the cheaper price, the big advantage of the BookEdge scanner is that books do not need to be placed completely flat on the scanner’s surface and thereby avoid damaging the spines of the books being scanned.

You can learn more about the KIC BookEdge Scanner at https://www.kic.com/kic-bookedge.

In contrast, the Bookeye 4V2 is the highest-priced KIC scanner; it costs $24,000 or more, depending upon the options selected. It can scan and digitize up to 20 book pages per minute for almost instant access on tablets, notebooks, and smart devices as well as easy transfer to desktop PCs and servers. The Bookeye 4 claims to be the only high-resolution scanner in the world that supports both v-cradle and flat modes. That means it also will avoid damaging the spines of the books being scanned. The Bookeye 4V2 can scan material as large as 24 by 17 inches.

Bookeye 4V2

The Bookeye 4V2 still requires a human to stand in front of the unit and turn the pages manually. However, the V-shaped scanning table allows for placing books face-up on the scanner’s large v-cradle so that the human operator does not need to remove the book from the scanner and then replace it every time a page is turned. It will also capture two pages at a time. The result is that the Bookeye 4V2 is much faster at scanning books than normal flatbed scanners and copiers.

The Bookeye 4V2 will save scanned images to a USB flash drive or cloud storage, send them via email address, or transfer images directly to a tablet, notebook PC, or smart phone.

You can learn more about the Bookeye 4V2 at https://www.kic.com/kic-bookeye4v2.

I have described the cheapest and the most expensive KIC models in an attempt to describe what can be done with KIC book scanners. While several other KIC models are priced between these two extremes, I won’t go into the detailed minor variations amongst all the models. Instead, you can find all that information and a lot more on the KIC web site at https://www.kic.com/.

OK, who wants to start a “seed fund” for a local society or library near me to purchase one of these scanners?

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