Digitize Your Books: Preparing Your Books for Digitization [video]

The Importance of Preparing Your Books

Preparing your books is the first and most important step in the process of digitizing them. While there are non-destructive methods available, this blog will focus on a method that involves some destruction of the book. This method is ideal for situations where the information in the book is more important than the physical book itself. If you have a book that is already falling apart and you want to preserve its contents, this method may be suitable for you. The best part is that this method does not require any special equipment.

Materials Needed

In order to carry out this method, you will need the following materials:

  • Box cutter
  • Metal straight edge
  • Scissors
  • Craft cutting mat or a clean and dry cutting board
  • The book you want to digitize

The Process

Before we begin, it is important to note that this method may not be appropriate for valuable or sentimental books, such as heirlooms or family bibles. However, if you have a book that is already deteriorating and you want to preserve its content, this method can help you achieve that goal.

To prepare the book for digitization, start by gently cutting the spine apart. Open the book to the middle page and use a box cutter to make a careful cut down the spine. Take a couple of passes to ensure a clean cut. This process should only take about 10 minutes in total, but it will save you a lot of time later on.

If you accidentally cut into the pages while cutting the spine, don’t worry. You can still end up with a fairly clean cut, although it may look a little uneven. After cutting the book into two sections, repeat the process on one of the sections to create smaller stacks of pages. Aim for about 10 pages per stack.

At this point, you can choose to tear off each page individually or invest a few more minutes to cut off the glue. Using a metal straight edge, carefully cut along the edge of the glue to remove it. Be cautious not to cut your fingers in the process. Once you have removed the glue, you will have neat stacks of pages that can easily be fed through an automatic document feeder.

Additional Tips

If you are digitizing a hardcover book, it is recommended to cut down the spine on the back cover to expose the binding. This will make the process easier. If the book is made in signatures that are sewn together, you may need to make additional cuts to separate the signatures or trim the back of the signatures off.

Don’t worry if the cut edges of the book look rough. As long as the pages are intact, they will still feed through the document feeder. If you wish, you can also consider getting the book rebound after digitization, although this is not necessary.


Preparing your books for digitization is an essential step that allows you to preserve the information contained within them. By following the steps outlined in this blog, you can transform your physical books into digital files that can be easily accessed and stored. Remember to take your time, be cautious with the cutting tools, and enjoy the process of digitizing your books. Stay tuned for the next step in the digitization process.