It's an attractive little scanner, with a metallic blue finish and a carrying bag to protect it while in transit. Some addition value and power comes with the software that's included with the IRIScan Book 2 -- Readiris Pro 12 is an older version of the OCR and scan management software that is sold by I.R.I.S. Note that there is an iPad version of Readiris ($37.99) on the App Store; it is not included with the scanning hardware.
The IRIScan Book 2 works like a flatbed scanner, only you provide the motion of the scanning head over the item to be scanned. There's a large and clearly labeled scan and power button; pushing it for two seconds turns the device on (or off), and a quick push starts or ends the scanning process.
I decided to test the device without reading the instructions, so I grabbed a catalog for a local community college where I teach and started scanning away. Although the original catalog was printed on newsprint and had been folded for mailing, the scans were still extremely clear and legible. I also like the idea that you don't have to scan from top to bottom on a page; it's also possible to scan from side to side, which works best with books.
Another pair of buttons provides an easy way to switch between color and grayscale scanning, or change the resolution of your scan from 300 to 600 dpi. There's a tiny LCD to show you how many scans you've made, what mode your currently in, and to help you set the time on the device.
Let's talk for a minute about Readiris Pro 12, the scanning and OCR software that comes with this little scanner. To be honest with you, I'm not a big fan of scanning software. OCR software, which I've used since the early days of scanners, always has the same problem -- it works great for scanning one-column text, but start throwing a lot of columns, tables, and graphics at one and you end up doing a tremendous amount of manual labor to try to extract text from your scan.
That's not to say that Readiris Pro 12 doesn't work well -- it does. As an example, I scanned a page from a book with wide margins and the text was saved into an RTF file that was completely accurate. It's just that the number of situations in which you're going to get this type of OCR accuracy are relatively few.
When I scan documents, I prefer to just keep them in a PDF format without doing any OCR. In other words, the documents are an image of a document rather than the textual information. Sure, that makes for larger file sizes, but at least I'm not fighting OCR software to try to get readable text.
As for the scans, take a look at this gallery. The first two images show one scan from a book, the other from a tabloid-sized course catalog, both "scanned" with Scanner Pro. The next two images are the same types of pages scanned with the IRIScan Book 2, and the final two images are using JotNot Scanner Pro.