How to Turn a Physical Book into a Searchable PDF (2024)


If you are studying or doing research - books are your friends - BUT finding information within a book when you need it can be a challenge. Instead of using flags, bookmarks, highlights and other methods of keeping track of the various searches from your book - why not turn the physical book into a searchable PDF that you can use to easily find what you are looking for?

This is a very handy way to speed up your research and study. You can quickly find every instance of a term, concept, or person that appears in the book. It’s also fast.

Here is the link to the CZUR scanner I'm using (this is not sponsored and this is not an affiliate link - although CZUR has sponsored other videos and are very nice!

CZUR Shine Ultra Pro:

You can watch my video on the CZUR Scanner here: (this was a sponsored video):

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If you do any type of research, then you know, digital books are absolutely fantastic for taking notes consolidating, those notes and being able to find different sections or subjects very quickly through the search features.

And in this video we're going to look at how we can do the same thing with physical books by converting these physical books, into searchable pdfs it's, a very handy feature, because I really like physical books, sometimes I just pick those up at stores when I'm traveling or if I'm hearing about town and a lot of times there are certain materials that are only available in physical format.

But I want to have that search ability.

Now I could go through this book, and I could mark it up.

And I could put a bunch of flags on there, but it still makes it difficult to navigate or look for specific things.

Well, I've created videos on this channel before using my czur scanner.

And I showed you how it could be a very useful tool in this video I'm going to specifically show you how we can create a searchable pdf using the csr czur scanner.

So I'm going to turn the overhead light on the scanner and I'm going to scan this book, I'm, not going to scan the entire book right now, I'm just going to scan a little bit so let's have a look at how I can do that first I'm going to go into the scanner here.

So let's grab the scanner in the software and then I'm going to find the device you'll notice that I have the book cover here and you'll, notice that I currently have it in the curved book, format, I'm going to take a shot of the book itself, we'll just move the page elements to the side.

So now I have the front cover.

I have a foot pedal.

So the clicking you might hear is me, actually using my foot to take that picture.

And then what I'll do is I'll.

Take the dust jacket off, because I may not want the dust jacket and it's going to be a little easier to scan without it.

So here I'll take the book.

But now what I'm going to do is put it into the curved book scanning mode and now I'm going to use these two little paddles.

I guess you would call them.

I have a right, and I have a left one.

And that just allows me to hold the book, flat and you'll see that in a moment.

So now that I have it as curved book, let's, go ahead and scan in a number of the pages.

And in this case here, I'll, go ahead and use the endorsements here.

I can do this quite quickly.

So we'll, just do maybe the first chapter here.

So as you can see it's, very quick to go in and scan the book I'm, just flipping the pages, touching the foot pedal, and you can see that it's quickly scanning each of the pages here.

Now, as I go through and scan this book you're going to notice that I don't really take a lot of time to look at a lot of the book, I'm, just really trying to capture it.

And the scanner does a very good job with these books.

Sometimes with some oversized books, it's a little bit more involved to scan things.

So if you're scanning things like artwork or large format books, you may have to scan just a section of the book, but you can see a typical hardcover or a paperback book, I'm able to go in very quickly and I'm able to scan the pages, very very fast, very rapidly.

So I'm just going to go in and I'm just going to scan the first chapter here.

So maybe a couple more into the second chapter.

So now I've scanned some of the book.

It wouldn't take me too long to scan the entire book, but I'm going to set that aside so that we can show you how to create the searchable pdf.

So here in the software, you can see that it's processing all of the pages that I scanned.

If I scroll up, I can see how far I've made it.

You can see all of these pages are coming in nice and clean.

And those are going to be converted into that pdf format, you'll also, notice, if I click on one of the pages, that's been processed, if I go here, you'll, notice that the yellow paddles do not appear.

You can actually see a little bit of an artifact of one of the paddles there.

Because what it does is it removes those from the scan as best it can and I'm not going to be too fussy about that.

But I do need them to all process so that I can create that searchable pdf.

It took a few moments in order to process those pages, but that's, okay, because I have a cup of coffee.

So I always have something to do while I'm waiting for something to process.

So now what I'm going to do is I'm going to create the searchable pdf.

And as a quick note, just so that you're aware here in canada, I have something called a fair use policy, which means that from a copyright standpoint, I'm permitted to take a digital copy of a book that I'm using for research purposes that I own.

So I have this book here.

I purchased the book, I purchased the physical book, I can make that this digital copy of the entire book for purposes of research and for backup and archival.

I would not be able to distribute this electronic copy that that would then be in violation of copyright, but I can use it for research and such so let's, go back to the software here.

So within the software, what I'm going to do is now that I've scanned my book here, I'm going to go in you'll, see that all of the images are here and I'm going to click the little button to select all of them.

So you can see that they are all selected and then I'm going to go to searchable pdf underneath searchable, pdf I'm going to choose english that's, my language of preference and I'm going to make sure I have a high quality pdf.

It makes it just easier to read.

And I've got the space on my system.

So now I'm going to go in here.

You can see that there are other languages.

You can convert to as well.

So if you're doing any type of foreign research, I have some books, uh, some myth books about mythology in germany, but anyways, we'll go here.

And now I'm going to give this a name.

So for this particular book, it's called powerful teaching.

So I'll just put on my desktop for the purposes of this demo.

So I'll call this powerful teaching and we'll call it the scan for that.

So I have the powerful teaching scan and it's going to start initializing the engine.

And once again, it's 42 pages that I scanned, it goes fairly quickly through them.

But it does give me time to have a sip of my coffee.

So I sped that up for you a little bit had many sips of my coffee.

It takes a little while if you have a longer book to get that scan, because it goes through looks at each of the pages, and then it does, uh, optical character recognition on there to make it a searchable document so it'll, combine everything together and then we'll be able to search this document.

So now I have the document I'm going to go into the document here, and I don't have adobe acrobat installed on this computer.

So I could open it up in adobe acrobat, obviously, but I'm just going to open it up in the edge browser.

And that does give me this search option.

So a very common thing that I might want to look at is retrieval practice.

So maybe I want to look at this particular book, look at where they have retrieval practice and I'll put in the entire term.

And you can see here that the term retrieval practice in the 44 odd pages or 42 pages.

I have here appears 19 times.

So now I'm able to go through and I'm able to look through the document.

I can see that it's in the table of contents.

I can go through and scroll through each time that it appears.

And this is a very quick way for me to go in and look for different subject areas based on retrieval practice and see what sort of information is in this book for doing different types of research on the concept.

I find this to be exceptionally useful and a great way for me to be able to do my research without having to flip through a book, a whole bunch of times in order to find a specific term, I'm able to create this searchable pdf from physical books.

If you enjoyed this video, if you want to learn more about the cz url scanner, I do have another video here on the channel, where I go through some of the other features of it I'm always happy to make more comment down below if there's anything else you'd like to see around research methodologies around the ways that I can convert physical to digital in the ways that I have a research flow.

Actually, those are a lot of different topics.

Maybe I should make some videos on all of them.

But anyways, I do have a lot of videos here on the channel, subscribe like share with colleagues.

And let me know what you think in the comments down below.

Thank you so much for watching.

How to Turn a Physical Book into a Searchable PDF (2024)


How do I make a physical book searchable PDF? ›

The easiest scanning solution is right in your pocket. Try Adobe Scan or another app that allows you to scan textbook pages into PDFs with a photo. Using your phone speeds up the process and allows you to quickly create folders of PDFs for each chapter or section of your textbook.

Is there a way to convert physical books to digital? ›

Scan with a Device
  1. If you think de-binding a book would not suit your needs, the next best way to convert textbook content to digital content is – scanning with a device. ...
  2. Step 1 – Scan the book page by page using a device of your choice. ...
  3. Step 2 – Convert these files to text by using an OCR program like MS OneNote.
Feb 13, 2023

How do I make my book searchable? ›

Best practices
  1. Combine keywords in the most logical order. Customers search for "military science fiction" but probably not for "fiction science military"
  2. Use up to seven keywords or short phrases. ...
  3. Before publishing, search using keywords you're considering on Amazon. ...
  4. Think like a reader.

Can I scan an entire book? ›

We can definitely say that the best way to scan a book is to do it using a specialized book scanner. This way the book is digitized at high resolution without destroying it in the process. The digital book created will be of a very high quality and can also be used for archival purposes.

Can I scan a book for personal use? ›

It's perfectly legal for you to scan a book for personal use and fair use, in the US, and even to give a copy to a friend. But unauthorized distribution is illegal.

How much does it cost to scan a book? ›

So, how much does it cost to digitize a book? Based on industry standards, a bound book scan can cost anywhere from $0.5 to $1.5 per page, while an unbound book scan can cost $0.1 to $0.5 per page. These estimates are based on standard-sized books with minimal illustrations and no special OCR requirements.

Is there an app that will read a physical book? ›

Speechify is a great option for using to listen to your favorite books. It's a digital reading app that converts text to speech. This means you can listen to books, articles, and documents on your device. You even have the ability to listen to physical books with the Speechify app!

Can I get an ebook of a physical book I already own? ›

Sure! You just need a PDF file of your book, so that you can submit it to the ebook publishing company in ebook format. Remember, an ebook can be published in color and in different fonts depending on the rules of the publishing company involved.

How do I turn a book into a PDF? ›

Simply follow these four steps to convert your eBook to PDF:
  1. Navigate to Acrobat online services Convert to PDF page.
  2. Drag and drop the file you want to convert or select the File button to navigate to your file.
  3. Your PDF will be ready within moments.
  4. Download or share your new PDF file.

How do I make my book available online? ›

8 Steps to Self-Publish a Book
  1. Write a book that's marketable. ...
  2. Edit like a professional. ...
  3. Develop an eye-catching book cover design. ...
  4. Decide which self-publishing platforms you'll be using. ...
  5. Formatting your book. ...
  6. Launch your book like a store launches a product. ...
  7. Market yourself on social media. ...
  8. Start work on your next book.
Jan 21, 2022

How do I get my book on Google search? ›

Add a single book
  1. Sign in to the Partner Center.
  2. On the left, click Book Catalog. ...
  3. Select the template with the default settings you want to apply to your book.
  4. Select a sell option.
  5. Select the type of Book ID. ...
  6. Click Save & Continue.
  7. Provide as much information as possible about the book.

Is it illegal to scan a book to PDF? ›

It's also legal for you to make a copy for a friend or let him use your copy to make his own copy. However, It's not legal to use a photocopier put up for commercial use for copying copyright protected books. Scanning a book or in other ways producing an electronic version is considered equal to copying a CD or DVD.

What is the app that scans books to PDF? ›

Adobe Scan runs as an app on your mobile device, whether it is running Android or iOS and uses your camera to catch a copy of a document to convert into a PDF file. There is a preview option to optimize the file dimensions, and you can rotate, crop, and edit the color as required.

How do you scan a book without ruining it? ›

How to scan a book without damaging it?
  1. Prepare the book before the scan. Remove any inserts, wipe the dust away and clean any dirt.
  2. Start the actual scanning process. ...
  3. Make sure you are not overstretching the binding during the scanning process.
  4. Finish the scanning and prepare the book for storage. ...
  5. Congratulations!

How do I turn a textbook into a PDF? ›

Steps to convert an eBook to PDF.
  1. Navigate to Acrobat online services Convert to PDF page.
  2. Drag and drop the file you want to convert or select the File button to navigate to your file.
  3. Your PDF will be ready within moments.
  4. Download or share your new PDF file.

Can you make a PDF look like a book? ›

Sure, that's an easy one. In Acrobat, open the Document Properties dialog (Ctrl-D, or Cmd-D respectively), and switch to the Initial View tab. There you locate the Page Layout dropdown, and you will see four options with Two-Up: Facing, Continuous (Facing), Cover Page, and Continuous (Cover Page).

How do you scan a book without damaging it? ›

The better way of scan a book would be to go ahead scanning without damaging the book, in a non-destructive method, i.e. scanning without cutting open the spine of the book, i.e. scanning the books intact. The books are kept on a v-cradle exposing each page to the camera on the diagonally opposite side.


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