Monday, June 05, 2006

Atiz BookDrive DIY

Last week, I received an e-mail from Atiz about its new book scanner called the BookDrive DIY. The BookDrive DIY is a semi-automated machine and has the possibility of doing 1,000 pages per hour. It's base price is $3,499 (without the two cameras) and is $5,699 fully loaded (with cameras). The cameras can be upgraded.

Someone -- who was not from Atiz -- e-mailed me and said this machines was very similar to the Scribe machine, which is being developed by the Internet Archive. Jessamyn has seen a demo of the Scribe and has a couple photos online. You can see some similarities, but is the BookDrive DIY the off-the-shelf version of the Scribe? I don't know. Perhaps it is that these types of book scanners will be very similar in design and what will delineate them will be some of the finer details.

I spoke with Nick Warnock, Atiz' CEO, on Friday about the BookDrive DIY. Yes, they have sold a few machines. Yes, people are interested in it. Yes, it has some similarities to other machines on the market. I suggested that they provide some customer comments on their web site as well as better photos. Of course, the manufacturers is going to say glowing things about the machine, but will the customers? And wouldn't it be nice to see some images created from the BookDrive DIY in order to understand the image quality? Is the quality as good as its high-priced competition? (6/6/2006: See the comments to the post for links to images and more.)

If you -- yes, you the person reading this post -- have had experience with either of the Atiz book scanners, I would be delighted to hear from you. You can leave a comment on this blog post or e-mail me.

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Anonymous said...

They do have image samples up on their site:

Quality looks very comparable to the Kirtas machines (seeing they use the same cameras this would be expected). One advantage of the Atiz V shaped glass is there are no page clamps visible, if you have books with content all the way to the top or bottom edge of the page the Kirtas machines have serious trouble.

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

Thanks for pointing out the samples. So obvious on the site, yet I missed them!

I believe Kirtas is using the 16 MP camera, which is an option with the Atiz.

Still would like to hear from someone with actual experience with the BookDrive machines. Are they as good as they seem? Why or when would someone choose this machine instead of a Kirtas machine or one by Indus USA, for example? Kirtas would say that the automated book scanner takes away human error and allows the operator to do more than just scan. For true "production mode," my assumption is that automated would be better, but if that is not true, I'd like to hear otherwise.

Anonymous said...

When the Kirtas machines are in full production (as opposed to demos with select books for shows etc), an operator is needed to flatten each page quickly (especially the left pages) after the machine turns them. So there is no chance that the operator could be doing something else whilst the machine is running. Also, the operator needs to keep an eye on the pages, to ensure that only one page is turned at a time. There is no reliable automatic multiple page pickup detection on the Kirtas devices.

So the decision comes down to one of manpower. Yes, the Kirtas can scan at a faster rate (up to 2400 pph), however, you still need one operator for one machine. Also, the image processing time reduces the max of 2400 to closer to 600 pph of actual throughput, especially when dealing with color output.
Which is very close to what Atiz claims they can get out of their machine, at 1/20th of the initial acquisition cost. Many libraries etc have to get several rounds of funding before they can afford a book scanner that costs $150,000, whereas a sub $10,000 device is relatively easier to fund.

Anonymous said...

Anyone has followed up with the development of Atiz BookDrive DIY?

I've asked Atiz to give me a list of customers so I can talk to them and find out what they really think of this scanner, but Atiz seems reluctant to do so.

From the forum on Atiz website, I got the feeling that Atiz staff does not respond to customer or potential customer's questions. That seems odd to me. My impression is that the quality of their customere services is questionable.

Unknown said...

Hi everyone, this is Sarasin from Atiz.

@anonymous. could u let me know whom do u speak with at Atiz that doesn't want to give u the list of our customers?

We do love to give out references (when they allow us to)!

They are Princeton University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, American Museum of Natural History, City of Toronto, and many national libraries, to name a few.

If u want more or want to speak with other users, pls write to me at sarasin at

We respond to customer emails within 24 hours on average. Oftentimes I'm the one who responds.

We follow and respond to forums very actively.

That's why u see our response here so quickly.

But don't rely on the community of users for answers. If u want support, u have to contact our support team (not the community forum).

We're available at or call 800.501.6035

Anonymous said...

If you are looking for a automatic bookscanner which works, google the word 'Digitising line', i saw this machine at several trade show, and this one is really impressive.

Anonymous said...

Since I've been disappointed in the past with advertised ppm rates, I've suggested to Mr. Warnock to pay, say 2000$, to get the Bookdrive DIY for a month or for a week in order to try it. I suggested that we would pay for the remainder if it delivered up to expectations or return it otherwise. But he told us that we were doing that to screw them. Of course, I thought that was rather insulting, so we are looking elsewhere for our new scanners.

Anonymous said...

i see this post is kinda old... i was just taking a short break and wanted to read more about... currently, i'm an operator on this piece of equipment... works well... easy to use...
however, we've made some custom additions to the unit to better suit our production needs such as, adding about 30 inches to the vertical bars to raise the height of the lights and reduce glare on the image.
honestly, 200 to 250 pages per hour is more realilistic