First up, thanks for the feedback so far!
I think I need to give more context.
First, we're not going to be scanning books with these. We're scanning:
paper. Old loose-leaf paper. Hundreds of boxes of the stuff. Flatbeds
were designed for that exact medium, so although I do like camera-based
systems, I'm leaning towards flatbeds in this instance.
At the moment, we have two scanners that we can use for this project: an
Indus Bookscanner 9000, and an Epson Expression 10000, a slightly older
model of the one several of you have recommended. Ordinarily that would
be plenty: we have just 3 full-time special collections staff, plus some
The grant was funded through the CARES Act for the purpose of employing
humanities academics who would otherwise be out of a job due to the
pandemic. It got approved, and so now we have 13 people to work on
digital humanities projects, including a fair bit of digitization.
Having just two scanners has suddenly become a major bottleneck.
Complicating matters, the entire grant process was rushed. The pandemic
hit, Congress went into overdrive and began dishing out money and
wanting it put to use FAST. The NEH thus had a short turnaround time.
We got slightly less than a week to write the grant, at a point when a
large number of the university's staff were furloughed. Writing it fell
on the shoulders of one faculty member, who did her best as fast as she
could. And it worked! It got approved, in the amount of $300K, which
is frankly amazing.
But as we began looking at it, we discovered that virtually all of the
funds are earmarked for salaries. Technology budgeting was minimal; we
get four laptops and a couple of software licenses out of the grant
money, and that's it. Scanners are not an allowable expense.
So now we've got a whole lot more people than equipment, and are having
to pull money from other budgets to get the equipment, at a time when
we're anticipating the necessity of budget cuts due to lower enrollment
in fall due to the pandemic.
So while I would love to get a few more Epson Expressions, I don't think
we can really afford their price point, which hovers around $4K each.
I'm hoping to get away for $1500 or less.
This whole pandemic thing is awful.
 I should note we do have more than 2 scanners, it's just the other
ones are in use in public areas, for ILL, or are sheet-fed scanners. We
are leery of feeding irreplaceable documents that are 70+ years old