Customer Review

399 of 403 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast, good quality, and most importantly, it just works., May 6, 2009
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This review is from: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Scanner for PC (Office Product)
I have never had a dedicated document scanner before. In the past, I used the Auto-document feeder on my all-in-one printer/scanner/fax machines to scan documents into adobe acrobat. That meant for each batch of papers, I needed to set the color/resolution/paper size/quality settings and then work through Acrobat in order to save each file. It worked, but it was slow going.

Then I bought this new scansnap 1500, based on the ratings of the earlier model (the scansnap 510). I installed only the main program to my computer (the software also includes OCR programs, organizational programs, and acrobat 9, which I already have). I hooked up the scanner and stuck in a stack of old notes I took from some college courses--some notes were in color, some were b&w, some on two sides, some on one side, and some of the pages were upside down. I hit the only button on the machine (SCAN), and to my sheer amazement, it started flying through the stack of notes without any additional prompts or effort. It then automatically saved my file as a pdf--all of the pages were in order, color pages were in color, b&w pages were in b&w, etc. The only issue I noticed was that if there were any marks whatsoever on the back side of my note papers, it included those blank pages in the file.

I repeated this process with any papers I could get my hands on. I even tried sticking in papers of varying sizes, and it sped through them all without a problem. I am officially hooked. (In a moment of either stupidity or genius, I sliced the spine off of an old book and scanned that in too.)

I did notice a few things that are worth mentioning specifically: 1) This scanner is much smaller than it looks. I was expecting something the size of a inkjet printer, but it is actually about the size of a loaf of bread. 2) You have to place the papers GENTLY into the scanner or it will jam. If I push the papers in too far, it pulls through several pages at a time and the software warns you to start over. 3) I am running the software on Windows 7 RC1, so I can tell you that, at least in my case, it will work on Win7.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 7, 2009 4:37:59 AM PDT
G. Beeson says:
I am voting for genius as I am contemplating slicing the binding of books to scan them to PDF as well. And with the new Kindle DX natively supporting PDFs; I think my choice got a whole lot easier. Thanks for the review.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2009 2:15:56 PM PDT
A. Mason says:
Are you saying you would destroy a book just to scan it? Couldn't you copy the pages on a copier and feed those to the scanner?
I am looking for Chinese/English OCR software to go with the scanner and am considering Dan Ching from TwinBridge.
Based on the favorable reviews, I will probably buy this scanner even though it's quite expensive.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2009 7:08:51 AM PDT
'Are you saying you would destroy a book just to scan it?'

I would! In fact, I have!

Posted on Jan 1, 2010 2:55:39 PM PST
Is it still necessary to install drivers manually to make the software work on Windows 7 (64-bit)? It seems that this was necessary in the past: http://www.sevenforums.com/drivers/9239-fujitsu-scansnap-s510-windows-7-rc-64bit.html

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 1, 2010 9:02:51 AM PST
It used to be you needed to run the software in compatibility mode, but Fujitsu has released a native Windows 7 driver since then.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 1, 2010 11:40:02 AM PST
Thanks, Benjamin! I also got similar response from @ScanSnapIT (http://twitter.com/ScanSnapIT/status/7373799329), but I also just read that my old scanner (S500) got Win7 support from Fujitsu, so maybe I will try to use that instead.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 16, 2010 12:35:23 PM PDT
Jeannie says:
I'm in the process of cutting the spines off my magazines and scanning them to searchable PDFs. Once that is done, then I'll do the same (without OCR) to all my books except collectable ones (I've already done one as a test)

Posted on Aug 15, 2010 6:58:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 15, 2010 7:03:34 PM PDT
Several folks here commented on cutting the spines off books and magazines for scanning. That is ~exactly~ my project -- about 350 books -- and it is the reason that I have just ordered this scanner.

A major concern, however, is the "cutting off" of the spines. I did this to one trade paperback a few years ago and scanned it, but I was amazed at how much of a problem it was to get the spine off and end up with clean pages.

I have just prepared three additional books more or less as an experiment before investing in the scanner -- two hardbacks and one trade paperback. The smaller HB I did by hand with a very sharp chef's knife and a utility knife. I was able to do a surprisingly neat job, but it took a good half hour of difficult, dangerous work.

The other two I did on a tablesaw with an existing cheap, crosscut blade (not carbide tipped); it was just what I happened to have. It took seven or eight minutes to do the two books and was a nasty, jerky process that left a somewhat rough edge. I am considering trimming with a papercutter (in groups of 20 pages) both to neaten up the edges and to eliminate as much paper dust as possible before feeding them into the scanner. This seem doable with a tablesaw but, as I said, a nasty job.

I am wondering how others do this. I know that print shops have paper cutters that will do a whole ream at once, although I don't know how they'd feel about undertaking my job. And surely they'd charge at least a couple of bucks per book, which would be close to prohibitively expensive.

I am also looking at various saw blades. I could easily spend a couple of hundred bucks experimenting to find the optimum blade. But then, I might find that a $75 blade that did a nice job was ruined after a dozen books. A bandsaw might be better than a tablesaw, although I don't have one. If I knew it would really work well, I might invest in one just for this project, but it'd sure be sweet if I could get it done with this little portable tablesaw that I have.

I'd be very grateful if those of you with experience in this area would share what you have discovered. Thanks so much.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2010 8:12:34 AM PST
bblack07 says:
Myrna,

Just as an alternative idea for you book spine removal techniques, Kinkos has a hydraulic blade device that they use to cut off spines all the time so that they can convert paperback books to spiral bound (Great for textbook btw). You might talk to them because its dirt cheap. Or try to figure out if you can buy a similar machine that they use.

Good Luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2010 10:35:16 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 24, 2012 1:20:47 PM PST
Thanks for that tip, Brian.

As it happens, I found a printer who would do this and talked about a very cheap price, although the conversation was just tentative. It seemed to me less than was anyways reasonable.

When I contemplated boxing up even three hundred books and delivering them to the printer and then fetching them back home -- I have a half dozen nasty, aggressive brick steps to get into my house -- I was a bit daunted. And I had expanded my ambition to perhaps a thousand books. Then there is the issue of my not being able to closely control the process according to the properties of various books, margin widths, for example.

I just began the project doing a handful at the time and then scanning them. I prepared them with nothing but a utility knife and a paper cutter; I got better at it as the job went along. The worst of it is that it is a rather nasty job, especially on old books with brittle glue. After doing 200 books, I've decided not to do anymore disassembly inside the house but out on my deck instead.

I do want to report, though, that I consider this whole dubious enterprise already to be a brilliant success, although very laborious. The scanner has performed wonderfully, requiring virtually no maintenance in my first 50,000 sheets (back & front = 100,000 pages). I just approximate the "200 books" by assuming 500 pages per book. That is generous but many of these books were hefty volumes of history. They look terrific as PDFs, and I love reading them and working with them this way. They OCR'd beautifully so I can search them which is wonderful. I also controlled the pagination such that the page numbers of the PDF matched the numbers printed on the pages. This makes the table of contents and the book's index more friendly to use. Kindles are very nice for light reading but PDFs are infinitely better for researching or reading something in a studious way. And I love being able to buy very inexpensive used books through Amazon -- especially the many, many older books that attract my attention that are no longer in print -- and put them into PDF form. I have seen lots of scanned, public domain books that really don't look all that good. By starting with a reasonably clean book and removing the spine and trimming with a paper cutter and being careful with the scanning, I have been able to produce beautiful, clean-looking documents. As a sidelight, if you do have handwritten notes, they are preserved in the PDF, even after OCRing, which surprised me. As to the performance of the scanner, it is like a miracle. This would not be doable if there was a misfeed or such problem every 25 pages; I have put numerous books of 800 pages or so through the scanner without a single hiccup. And it is still performing just like new (although I have a consumables kit on hand in anticipation that I eventually will need it).

Anyway, thanks for your tip about Kinkos; that's definitely an option to pursue for those who find the do-it-yourself route just too much.

To me, this is a very powerful way to amplify one's intellectual power if he/she is concerned with a field that has a foundational literature of a manageable few hundred books. It is sort of like a personal Google that is narrower but deeply focused on an area of interest.

P.S. 2/24/12 - Project continues to go wonderfully. Soon, I will need to have a bookshelf sale (or start a collection of Beanie Babies to fill the empty space). Looking back at my comments I noticed a rather incoherent remark about reading with Kindles which, of course, support PDFs. I thought that I would expand and update that topic.

I am big into reading my books on a Kindle reader although it obviously is inferior to a computer for the sort of reading that requires a lot of navigation within the document or where I wish to make notations, copy passages, create highlights, etc.

At first, I was trying to read with my 6" Kindle. This really only worked on books that had a very small page size. I decided to take the plunge on a Kindle DX, and it proved to be a wonderful tool for reading everything that I have scanned. I thought so well of it that I bought a second DX as a standby, thinking that Amazon was about to discontinue the DX. (Got it on a deal at about 20% off the regular price.)

A big PDF of hundreds of pages is painfully slow in navigation on the DX. Even the turn of a single page takes a few seconds, which would drive many people nuts. I am a slow, deliberate reader and have no trouble with a little delay each time I turn a page...my books are mostly history and densely presented. If it were reading Harry Potter, even I might be frustrated at the slow page turns. But I love to be able to carry a book like The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich around on my Kindle. (Actually, I have scanned the entire Story of Civilization set by Will and Ariel Durant...books that I believe are no longer in print. I suppose that one would say that they were "popularizers" of history rather than real historians. Whatever...the writing is splendid. A wonderful romp through history in about 10,000 pages.) Bless my scanner, bless my Kindles, and bless the Durants! I am spending much more time with books these days -- including great older books -- than was previously the case. (And less time surfing the Internet, which can get to be more of a neurotic activity than a useful one at times.)
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