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How to photocopy a textbook like a pro

How to photocopy a textbook like a pro

A few easy steps to seamlessly photocopy the reading material you need

Teachers and students are always looking for easy, budget-friendly ways reference information for research or study. But buying new textbooks is an expense not everyone can afford.

Your local library might offer savvy solution to pricey textbooks. But in-demand reading materials aren't always available, or may incur borrowing restrictions. If this sounds familiar, you may have considered photocopying the chapters you need.

Photocopying a textbook takes some manual effort and time allocation. Because they are bound and you are not able to pull them apart if they are borrowed, you don’t have the luxury of selecting the right settings and putting it through the feeder. If you have the time and patience, it can prove to be a cheaper option, especially if you have access to free or subsidised photocopying at your school or university.

Here’s how to photocopy a textbook and get clean, straight copies.

Insert a piece of blank white paper behind the page you need to copy. This prevents black toner marks on the borders and pages of the book showing up if the textbook is less than A4. This is necessary for spine bound, and thicker textbooks where you can’t turn the book onto itself.

If the textbook has spiral binders, it’s easier to copy, but applying the paper behind the page technique is still a good idea for photocopying a textbook less than A4.

Photocopy what you need. Do you need the entire text or just key chapters?

Photocopying a Book

Lay the book on the glass with the page you want to photocopy facing down, keeping the blank sheet of paper in place.

Adjust the paper so that it lines up with the A4 marker on your photocopier's ruler.

Ensure the paper is right up to the edge of the glass plate (depending on the paper size that you have selected.)

Hit the copy button and hold the book firmly and evenly to keep it in place and ensure you are including the parts on the inner spine edge (where it curves in some bind types, and thicker books), and outer edges. You don’t need to close the copier lid with this technique.

Be gentle with the book to avoid damage, so the next person borrowing it or copying it receives it intact.

Photocopying alternatives

  • If you would prefer something else over the DIY photocopy a textbook route, trusted print and copy places like Officeworks, Kwik Kopy and Snap Printing can do it for you. It will be sorted, stapled and even bound nicely, and you collect it neat and ready to study.

  • Check to see if the publication is available in PDF online. Many authors and publishers now do this, or someone somewhere has done the copying task for you, uploaded it and made it available.

  • Save the trees! If you’d prefer to go digital, you can scan textbooks and create PDF files, or upload that PDF version you found and put it on your tablet, laptop or e-reader. Evernote users can sync files to their account.

  • A note on copyright law. Keep it in mind when making photocopies for any purpose. Respect the author and publisher by checking the copyright XX, and not distributing unlawful copies. You can reproduce material from the textbook under the Statutory Text and Artistic Licence provided you do not exceed the copying limits.
The photocopier was invented by person living with arthritis Chester Carlson, a patent attorney and physicist who turned inventor after answering his call for finding an easier way.

Three key considerations when choosing a photocopier

Photocopy a text book
  • Print volume. A small, functional copier that has less paper holding capacity can be an affordable home office option
  • Print speed. Photocopy a book in no time. Superior models can print around 100 copies a minute.
  • Print features. If you are doing basic copying and printing, then you can live without WiFi enabled, touch screen and image editing features and have an affordable copier at your fingertips.

Photocopier services by Copysonic


Copysonic understands photocopiers better than anyone because we have been working with them since 1992. The technology has evolved a lot since then and keeps moving forward to bring print, scan and copy solutions to organisations of all sizes worldwide.

No workplace, warehouse, school or university is complete without a photocopier which combines so many other features now; aligning with our digital demands in printing wirelessly and connecting to Apps and Cloud networks.

If your photocopier is experiencing issues, most are minor and can be easily managed in-house. For the technical and more complex concerns, we have repair technicians who respond to business across Melbourne. We’re able to source parts for every photocopier, no matter how old it is. We have a range of top brand photocopiers to buy new, used and even lease.

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