1DollarScan: A review

Last week, I wrote an article about how I woulf try out 1DollarScan's service. As I scanned my “new” music library, I came across twenty-five vocal books in the collection. I have scanned my own vocal books in the past, using an all-in-one printer. You have to rip apart each book and then scan each indivudual page. It's slow going, and it can take over three hours a book (assuming you scan thirty pages per hour and a voice book has ninety pages [some have more, some have less]).

My portable Canon scanner, the P-150, can't handle the size of vocal books, which are larger than 8.5×11. So if you scan your own vocal books, you have to work with each page so that all your music can be scanned on an all-in-one printer. This often requires re-scans and is time consuming. It also is difficult to rip apart books on your own.

I had read about 1DollarScan's services, so I thought I would try it out on a few books (four) before committing to all 25 books in my new library. The scanning cost $4, with no added perks, and shipping was about $4. 1DollarScan received the books (sent book rate USPS). I mailed the books on July 25, and they were received in California on the 30th. The company started scanning the books on August 2nd, and finished the process today, August 5th. The original scheduled scanning date was August 6th, so they finished ahead of schedule.

I'm very pleased by the results. I've gone through and looked at each book, renaming them in the process. The 1DollarScan files may be in scanned in greyscale (covers are in color), but they are certainly of good quality. This first image shows the full page scan between a scan by 1DollarScan, and a scan that I made. I have reduced the size of the pages for a side-by-side, but you can see that the clarity of the 1DollarScan is better than my own scan:

Additionally, I zoomed in (in forScore) as much as possible on each scan. I wasn't able to zoom in as much on the 1DollarScan document, but the scan is clearer than my own scan zoomed. You can see “breaks” in staff lines on my own scan.

I would still choose to scan choral octavos myself, as those pages fit in my Canon scanner and I can scan a sixteen page choral score in thirty seconds. 1Dollarscan charges $0.10 per page to scan business documents–so that isn't as good of a deal. Because of the large size of band and orchestra scores, band and orchestra directors may want to look at the possibility of sending their scores to 1DollarScan as their songs are performed (probably not an entire library at once). If you have thirty parts in a score, four pages each, that is 120 pages, plus a 50 page director's score resulting in 170 pages per band score, or $17 before shipping. Add at least $5 for shipping, and it will cost $25 per score to have it scanned. Now, for the magic question: how much time would it take to scan that score by hand at your music copier? And how much is your time worth? I personally, as a band directory, would ask my booster organization for the $25 per score JUST AS INSURANCE for lost parts. If I was worried about losing the director's score, I would order a replacement score to have scanned. Once scanned, the music can be divided and distributed any number of ways. There was a way in the past to request scanned material to be returned, but I do not see this as an option and 1DollarScan anymore.My conclusion: I'm sending the rest of these voice books, probably in sets of 10 (100 pages in a book = 1 set). It saves too much time versus scanning them myself.

Once again, I don't encourage scanning as a way to get around purchasing music. You should only use as many scanned copies as paper copies exist in your library (unless you have purchased digitial sheet music), and in the event that you are a band director and have more players than you have existing parts, you really should buy a second copy of the instrumental parts.

In closing, I'd absolutely recommend 1DollarScan for your scanning needs. The results are good, and the price for books is phenominal. As for individual choral octavos or instrumental scores–that will be up to you to decide how you want to handle it.




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