Scanning pages from a book is a hassle-- short of ripping off the binding and laying pages out on a classic flatbed, it's impossible to get a good copy. No one wants to see a dark shadow where the spine used to be, especially on a digital copy, so Plustek's OpticBook 3800 is an elegant solution for people who need to copy pages from books. We've all had professors pass out barely-readable handouts they've painstakingly transferred from book to paper, after all.
By moving the scanning area to the edge of the appliance, the OpticBook can scan to within 2mm of the spine. As nice as it is to have a book in hand, we love the idea of having digital copies of all our favorite books backed up before they become dog-eared shells of what they used to be, forever consigned to the crack between our bed and wall where we dropped it and couldn't get it back out.
Plustek touts the OpticBook's SEE (Shadow Elimination Element) which, as it says in its description, "eliminates the book spine shadow and text distortion associated with books scanned on flatbeds and copiers." The software that comes bundled with the scanner converts the digital copy of the book into a searchable PDF, and four simple buttons will kick off pre-set functions.
The only real hassle is that the OpticBook requires the user to turn pages manually, which could be a problem if you're trying to scan your entire copy of War and Peace. For scanning brief chapters, passages and individual pages from books and magazines, the OpticBook looks like the perfect accessory.