While the notion of a paperless office sounds great in principle, the reality is that many small or home office (SOHO) businesses still have a need to copy printed documents on a regular basis.
The old style standalone office copy machines have nearly disappeared in the digital age, replaced by multifunction printers that combine the functions of printing, copying, scanning, and optionally faxing into a single device.
Technically a “copier” in today’s terms is normally a printer that has a built-in scanning device so that a document to be copied can be scanned and reproduced by the printer.
As with most electronics copier/printer devices continue to decline in price yet come with more features than ever, and the convenience of copying in house rather than driving to a print/copy shop can't be beaten.
Here are the key buying factors to help you choose a printer/copier for your SOHO.
Inkjet vs Laser/LED
For high-speed copying of text documents Laser/LED printers are generally the better choice. Inkjets are capable of printing at much higher resolutions and so are more suitable for graphics and especially for photographs.
When looking at the cost of a printer/copier, it is important to take the ongoing cost of consumables into account if you plan to do more than occasional printing/copying. Manufacturers have changed tack in recent years and rather than making profits on selling printer/copiers now often sell them at cost (or even at a loss) and instead make huge profit margins on selling ink and toner.
Many units now come with ink/toner cartridges that have embedded microchips that prevent “unofficial” cartridges from being used, or have “starter” toner cartridges that have half the normal capacity. That bargain inkjet or laser doesn’t look as cheap when it comes time to replace the expensive ink or toner cartridge(s).
Color printer/copiers are particularly expensive to run as they require 4 cartridges (black and white, cyan, magenta, and yellow). It is typical for the replacement cost of inkjet/toner cartridges to exceed the purchase price of an entire unit, making printers a common resident of electronics recycling depots and landfills.
Fortunately most ink jet and some laser toner cartridges can be refilled at a much lower cost – companies such as Costco offer one hour inkjet refills, for example. Refill kits are also available for the do-it-yourself types, but refilling inkjet or toner cartridges is messy and not for the mechanically-challenged. And you can Make Printer Ink Cartridges Last Longer with little effort.
Before you purchase a printer/copier, be sure to check the manufacturer’s published cost per page.
Most small business oriented printer/copiers aren't designed for heavy volume so check the unit's recommended usage (pages per month duty cycle). The ISO yield for the ink/toner cartridges will give you a rough idea of how often the cartridges will need replacement.
Note that even if you have an in-house printer/copier it may still make sense to use local or online copy/print services (such as Staples or UPS) for larger print/copy jobs or specialty printing such as brochures.
With the price of consumables (as described above) it is simply not cost effective to do large volume printing/copying on less expensive printers/copiers, particularly with color documents or photographs. Purchasing a lower cost printer/copier for basic needs and outsourcing larger print/copy jobs is an ideal compromise for most small businesses - running off 500 copies of a color business brochure is a job for a professional printing shop.
Duplexing is the ability to print/copy on both sides of the page and is a highly desirable feature. Besides saving paper it is a must for making professional copies of two-sided printed material.
For using the machine as a printer, the more options to connect to the device the better. Aside from direct USB connectivity to a PC, most printer/copiers come with network connectivity - wired, wi-fi, or both.
If you need printing from the cloud or from mobile devices make sure your printer supports technologies such as Google Cloud Print or Apple AirPrint.
Black and White or Color?
Color copying is slower and more expensive, but might be a feature you want your printer/copier to have if you intend to produce promotional materials for your small business, such as brochures, or copy color photos.
As the main reason to buy a copier for your small or home office is convenience, you'll want to be sure to choose a copier that's able to handle a variety of paper sizes and weights and other media, such as transparencies and index cards. Look for copiers that offer flatbed copying if you're concerned about copying from books or copying other objects that won't fit through a sheet feeder.
As a small business person, you have better things to do than refilling paper trays or feeding single sheets through a printer/copier. If you print/copy regularly look for a model with a paper capacity of at least 250 sheets - or more. You'll also definitely want an automatic document feeder that holds at least 30 sheets.
Printer/copiers that have no warm up time are ideal for small and home offices, where the machine may be sitting idle for hours or days. High print/copy speeds are great, but won't save you any time if you have to wait minutes for the unit to warm up every time it comes out of sleep mode. Some printer/copiers now offer a first copy time of less than 10 seconds.
Source : Susan Ward (The Balance)
Choosing the Right Book Scanner
Among all different kinds of book scanners on the market, a zero-edge design book scanner is very helpful for book scanning. Plustek offers dedicated book-scanner series with the unique zero-edge design allow you to easily perform book scanning. The special edge design eliminates the book spine shadow and text distortion of thick books while scanning. This revolutionary technology efficiently let you scan a book page to the edge of the spine and get clear image scan results. All book scanners come with software eliminates distortion and shadow artifacts.
You can create eBooks with eBookScan software in few minutes by using Plustek book scanners. The professional book scanner with book digitization feature helps you get rid of the heavy books. Just tap a button to convert a paper book into an electronic file. No matter where you go, you can easily read it on the computer or mobile devices.
Plustek book scanners also come with the SEE technology, a patented proprietary zero margin design, allows you to scan the book without shadow and skewing problems; the scanned images are complete without distortion. You may experience the real comfort and convenience of scanning books.
You don’t have to copy paper books anymore by using book scanners. Save yourself a lot of time and conveniently convert the books to Word files. With the Searchable PDF file format, searching documents becomes even easier, giving you unprecedented convenience.
Book Scanners with Zero Margin Design
Choose a book scanner with zero margin design is important and necessary to digitize book collections. Traditional flatbed scanners are designed to scan flat documents. When you use regular flatbed scanners to scan books, the curve of the page near the book binding will cause the edge texts distort and shadow. The scan results are hard to read and difficult to perform OCR process.
One of the biggest problems with scanning books is their binding, which leaves a shadow down the center of the book and can distort the text on the page. While some books may be able to open to sit on the glass directly, it’s hard to do so without damaging the spine.
Most flatbed scanners do not have a zero margin design, meaning that there is a plastic border surrounding the glass scanning area. If the whole book is laid on top of the scanner you are likely to get distortion, and if you lay it up against the edge you will likely lose texts because scanner cannot scan the full page.
Plustek offers book scanners featuring zero margin design. The zero margin design scanner removes this obstacle by eliminating that plastic border. This way, books can be placed directly onto the corner and scanned without clipping or distortions.
Convert Your Paper Books to eBooks
Many people love the convenience of eBooks. We can use every spare moment of the day to read our favorite books, all without having to lug around heavy hardbound versions or risk ruining paperbacks. There is, however, one big challenge that remains: what do we do with our paper books? Many of these books are not available in eBooks, and even if they are, nobody wants to pay for the same book twice just so that they can download it to their mobile devices.
If you fall into either of those categories you’re in luck. By investing a little time, money and elbow grease, you can quickly convert your paper books to eBooks. Using scanners to digitize your paper books and create your own eBooks is not difficult. It only takes a few simple steps.
First of all, you need to find a powerful book scanner to scan your paper books. Using Plustek book scanners to convert your paper books to eBooks is quick and easy. Let the bundled OCR software to create searchable and editable PDF files. Proofread and check the output files. You may convert these PDF files into ePub format if necessary. Finally, store the converted files on your mobile devices. Now, you can enjoy the freedom to read your eBooks.
Bring Your eBooks Wherever You Go
eBooks are a great way to bring your books with you no matter where you go, making life both easier and more convenient. Whether you’re a student, a professional or an avid bookworm, you can easily convert your books into digital files and easily bring them with you whenever you go.
By using Plustek book scanners to convert your textbooks to digital books, you can quickly access and retrieve the necessary information you need, and effectively study your materials, no matter where you are. Another important reason to convert your textbooks to eBooks is that textbooks are incredibly heavy and difficult to lug around. eBooks take up less space and since you can fit hundreds of them on one device, you can easily switch between books and will never forget one at home.
Many working professionals lament the fact that they do not have more time to read, which is why eBooks are such a great alternative for people who travel for business. Whether it is on a daily commute or a long flight, you can carry your favorite books with you no matter where you go, and squeeze some leisure reading into your commute, waiting in line, or on a long flight.