I just finished the summer scanning project that I was undertaking. In the end, that library consists of 2,113 different songs, for a total of 730MB (compressed by PDF Shrink).
Since I bought the Canon P-150 scanner, I’ve scanned 12190 pages. I actually have to replace the separator pad (I’ve already gone beyond the 10,000 suggest page limit). I have two of those pads on order. So that’s an additional $15 cost factored into the process.
I also updated to Mountain Lion (running a MacBook), and the current “Lion” Canon P-150 drivers don’t work as well with Mountain Lion. In the end, it required an additional amount of time per page for the scanner to capture a page–but this was still far more efficient than scanning page by page.
So, if you want to scan a lot of music (choral) in a short amount of time, here is the suggested investment:
Canon P-150 Scanner: $250 (you can find them for less)
Canon P-150 Separator Pad (backup/replacement): $15
PDF Shrink: $35
Office Max Guillotine Paper Cutter: $35
Mac Preview: Free
3 Pack of Erasers $2
Total investment: $337
Obviously, you would want to only invest in this equipment if you had a large library to scan or intended to scan from this point forward (at some point, publishers will sell digital copies). But compared to scanning with my flatbed scanner, I used to be able to scan 5-10 scores per hour. A large work could take several days. The P-150 allows for 30-40 pieces per hour. So even if you figure that your labor is worth only minimum wage ($7.25/hour), 47 hours of saved labor would pay for the printer. So if you had the best possible output with a flatbed scanner (10 scores per hour) and the worst with the P-150 (30 scores per hour), 23.5 hours worth of work (235 scores) would make it worth your time to invest in the scanner and software. And that’s if your time is only worth minimum wage.
I know that I lost far more than 23.5 hours of work scanning music without the P-150.
Now I can put the scanner and paper cutter away for a while (my wife will be pleased) and work on some other projects. In particular, I want to get our first trimester music into Finale format so I can generate SmartMusic files for assessment this fall.