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How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

Are your virtual bookshelves as disorganized as your real ones? Here are some tips for a smarter system for categorizing your ebooks.

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

If you read a lot of ebooks, chances are your virtual storage spaces are just as sloppy and disorganized as your real-world bookshelves. You could try to mimic the intensely structured system of a professional library, but this is your personal collection of reading material, and really, the best way to organize it is the way that makes the most sense to you. Do you think about your books as being simply read and unread? Do you categorize based on when you plan to read your books, like while on vacation and while commuting? In this article, we’ll explore some suggestions and ideas for how to manage a collection of ebooks.

Database and Metatags
I’m not much of an ereader, to be perfectly honest. I prefer podcasts, and my strategy there is listen and toss. Some people use this same strategy with their ebooks: the purchase history is usually stored in the cloud, and they’ll download a book to a device only when they want to read it (and then delete it when done).

Book collectors are different, returning to their favorite titles again and again. So I asked someone who has more books and ebooks than anyone else I know how he manages them all.

“How I organize ebooks, is probably overkill for most people, because very few have as many ebooks as I do: well over 10,000 titles,” says Dennis R. Cohen, an author and avid reader of both physical books and ebooks. I met Cohen when he was writing his most recent title, iPhone 5 Kickstart. I was the book’s technical editor, and I first learned about his massive collection while working on a chapter about using iBooks. So I asked Cohen how he manages all those titles.

It starts with a FileMaker database. “My process is hierarchical: Genre, author, title, format, and everything is referenced in a relational database that also tracks when I bought or received it, as well as whether I also own print copies, with a binary field for read/unread,” says Cohen. According to that data, he’s read an impressive 92 percent of his books.

“The reason I organize in this manner is that it parallels the old database I maintained for print books. I had so many in so many rooms that I couldn’t immediately find titles I sought. We have a 12-by-15-foot room in the basement, the walls of which are solid (overflowing) bookshelves, a 12-by-20-foot room upstairs that looks like the stacks in a college library, plus bookcases in the family room, bedroom, and my home office.”

The benefit of creating a database is that everything you want to know about your books, which may have been purchased through a variety of different devices and in different online stores, is centralized. But it takes work and upkeep. If your collection is more modest than Cohen’s, or if the idea of learning to use FileMaker just to organize your books sounds like too much work, there is a more automated and more lightweight option. Calibre is a software program designed specifically for organizing ebooks: keeping them appropriately tagged for easy searching and sorting, with file-formatting tools to boot. Calibre works well if you have a bunch of ebooks stored on a computer or external storage device.

Getting Books Onto a Reader
If you only have one device where you read books, or only tend to buy ebooks from one marketplace, then you won’t have any problems physically moving ebooks around. On the other hand, if you started out reading on a Barnes & Noble Nook HD+, then switched to an Amazon Kindle, but now you prefer to read on an Apple iPad, your books are probably all over the place.

Cohen likes to download everything right into Dropbox, rather than manage titles across a variety of platforms and sources. “I use VPN connections to move titles from the network drive to my Dropbox folder hierarchy, and then I access the titles from there on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, as well as the MacBook, where I use Bookle to read them.”

Categorizing Into Collections and Bookshelves
No matter how you get ebooks onto your ereader, you’ll also want to organize them once they’re on the device. In other words, you should group your titles into appropriately categorized “collections” or “bookshelves”—the name will dependon which app you use.

“What I do with the iPhone and iPad,” says Cohen, “is put books onto them and use the ‘Collections’ feature to keep the ones I want to read,” he says. “I have collections for Mystery-Adventure (favorite authors like W.E.B. Griffin, Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, Robert B. Parker, etc go here), SciFi Universes (pretty much just Honorverse and Star Trek), References, and Random (everything else I consider worth keeping on the device).” When Cohen has books that he intends to read once and delete from his device, he just leaves them in the generic “Books” collection, one of the defaults on iBooks that cannot be removed or renamed anyhow. “I save everything, even dreck, on the computer, but I’m fastidious about keeping free space available on the devices,” he says. Here are some additional ways to set up collections.

Sets alphabetized. One method is to make alphabetized collections that look like this:

  • A-K
  • L-R
  • S-Z

Whether those letters refer to the titles or the authors’ surnames is entirely up to you. You can break up the letter ranges based on how many books you have for each set. Try to keep the total number of books in any collection to about two dozen. Having more than that becomes unwieldy.

Genre. Another method is to create bookshelves by genre, as Cohen does, such as:

  • Biographies
  • Business and Politics
  • Children’s Books
  • Fiction
  • Graphic Novels
  • Humor
  • Reference

and so forth. In trying out these different systems, I found that using iBooks on an iPad, I wanted to keep my collections to about nine (that’s nine in addition to the collections that appear by default and that cannot be deleted: Books, Purchased Books, PDFs) so that I could see the list on the screen at once without scrolling.

When or where you’ll read. Yet another way to categorize your ebooks is based on when you plan on reading them, plus one shelf of books called “Read” or “Done,” where you place books after you finish them. For example, you might have:

  • At Home
  • Business Travel
  • Commute
  • Done
  • Studying
  • Vacation

I started using Calibre and I’m unable to decide how to effectively use it to manage my ebooks.
I’ve a huge collection of ebooks organized by subject into folders like Political Science , History – World , History – US etc. Till using Calibre, these folders were synced across all of my devices (Android phone, tablet, desktop) using Cloud storage. In this way I could browse any subject anywhere using either browser or file explorer or in android phone.

But when I have added the collection to Calibre, it has destroyed this folder structure and made it one folder per author. If I’m syncing this library using cloud storage, I’ve no way to know which are History books and which are political science books.

What is the effective way to manage books using calibre?

3 Answers 3

Calibre organises the books that way, there isn’t much you can do about it. If you want to use it, you must accept that folder structure.

Anyway, books are better categorised by using tags and other metadata informations.

Beside that, Calibre can also run as a web server, providing a website-like interface that you can access from every browser. Obviously, to use this feature, Calibre must be installed on a machine that is always on and connected to Internet.

As written in the Calibre manual you should use tags:

But suppose you want to find all unread science fiction books. There’s no easy way to do this with this folder scheme, [. ] In calibre, you would instead use tags to mark genre and read status and then just use a simple search query like tag:scifi and not tag:read.

It might take a while to get everything properly tagged, but after that it will be easy to find what you want.

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

According to some valuable feedbacks I modified my answer:

The Same Problem:

I had more than one Calibre libraries since I have imported the e-books’ folders from my computer as libraries. I wanted to combine those libraries as one (merge) but I wanted to maintain the folders’ hierarchy or at least I wanted to organize and see the e-books as if they are in the corresponding folders.

My Solution:

  1. Create an empty library. Name it anything but this will be the one and only your Calibre Library. Of course you can rename it in Calibre later.
  2. Create a custom column from “Preferences -> Add your own columns -> Add custom column -> Comma separated text, like tags, shown in the tag browser” by adding lookup name and column heading. Column heading will be used to enter the name of the merging library (that is your folder name).
  3. Copy your e-books in the existing library to the one created in 1. Let’s call it main library or anything you want.
  4. Without copying other library, select all the e-books and edit metadata. In the “edit metadata” window you will see a second tab “custom metadata” where your lookup name appears. Fill the blank as the corresponding library name (that is your folder name).
  5. Now on the Calibre left column you will see your custom column and its subgroup as your added library (that is actually your exported folder name exported as library).
  6. Repeat the same process for other libraries from number 3 to number 5.
  7. You will now have your special column and all the different libraries as subgroups. You will have one Calibre library with different subgroups. This is powerful than using tags for this purpose since subgroups are your choice of organizing your e-books.
  8. Since I had many Calibre library, I tried to merge them copying one by one. You may have many folders of e-books each organized in your way. You can add your e-books one folder by one folder using the process explained from 3 to 5.
  9. At the end, you will have one Calibre library with different subgroups on the left panel. Subgroups will be anything you want, for example your e-books’ folder hierarchy in your PC or Mac.

EBooks are the next generation source of information and knowledge. There are a lot of sites providing free eBooks. You can download a big list of eBooks, if you have a decent internet connection. Viewing and storing the eBooks is a problem. EBooks comes in different formats, to open the eBooks, that has a different format will be a real headache. Moreover, arranging and organizing is a bit difficult if you have a big collection. Don’t worry here is a free solution for all !

The utility that we mentioned here is Calibre. In a few words, Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books. The calibre manages your e-book collection for you, as it is designed around the concept of the logical book, that is a single entry in your library that may correspond to actual e-book files in several formats. Calibre can sort the books in your library by: Title, Author, Date added, Date published, Size, Rating, Series, etc. One of the great feature of calibre is, it can convert from a huge number of formats to a huge number of formats and it supports all the major e-book formats. Now what about the e-reader integration, Calibre has a modular device driver design that makes adding support for different e-reader devices easy. Syncing supports updating metadata on the device from metadata in the library and creation of collections on the device based on the tags defined in the library. If a book has more than one format available, calibre automatically chooses the best format when uploading to the device. If none of the formats is suitable, calibre will automatically convert the e-book to a format suitable for the device before sending it. Calibre can automatically fetch news from websites or RSS feeds, format the news into a eBook and upload to a connected device. The eBooks include the full versions of the articles, not just the summaries.

Once the welcome wizard finishes, the main application window appears. First you notice is a central console with the main book list. You will see a search area above that and the tool bar. When an e-book reader is connected a Reader icon will appear next to the Books icon in the tool bar. Ccalibre has a built-in eBook viewer that can display all the major eBook formats. It has full support for Table of Contents, bookmarks, CSS, a reference mode, printing, searching, copying, customizing the rendering via a user style sheet, embedded fonts, etc..

The panel on right of the window shows details of the selected book. If you double click in the detail area, more information about the book is displayed. You can add books in to Clibre’s library by clicking the ‘Add books’ button in the tool bar at the top of the window. After importing the e-books it makes a copy of the book in the defined storage location at the time of setup. At the time of import calibre read the metadata from the e-book. You can also change the metadata for organizing the book by clicking ‘Edit metadata’ on the top tool bar.

If your eBook doesn’t have a cover you can download cover using ‘Download cover’ button. There are several eBook readers available. The first thing you need to do share eBooks with your device is to find out what formats your e-book reader supports. For example Kindle reader supports AZW, MOBI, PRC, AZW1, TPZ, PDF and TXT. The PRS line from Sony supports EPUB, LRF, LRX, RTF, PDF and TXT. You can find out more from the manufacturer’s website. Still confused, then here is the Calibre’s manual, read it or want to view a video tutorial then watch this demo tour (it can also be downloaded from the site). If you want to ass books to Kindle with Calibre a readymade tutorial is available in xtreemhost. As it provides the detailed instruction with enough images, I don’t want to peat the same here.

What is your opinion about Calibre? Is it worth mentioning ? Can you find any alternative solution better than Calibre?

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

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A few years ago I downloaded Calibre , free software for your computer. It is touted as one of the best ways to organize your ebooks and much more. It has both PC and Mac versions but no apps. I gave the software a quick try but never really took the time to check out all of its features because at that time it did not seem very useful to me. My collection of e-books was small.

After the lightbulb moment I mentioned in last weeks post How to Organize Your Book Collection Part 1; Managing Amazon Content , I figured I’d give it a second look. This time I read the users manual and a helpful blog post about Calibre. I spent a few days playing around with it to check out it’s capabilities.

The Calibre interface (below) is pretty intuitive. If you have downloaded the software it won’t look like my screenshot because I’ve customized mine, which is another of it’s positive features, the high degree of customization of the menus, colors, and more. (Second screen shot below labeled preferences, that also gives a good look at its capabilities.)

It is easy to add and remove books in many different file formats. Format choices include EPUB, FB2, LIT, LRF, MOBI, PDB, PDF, PMLZ, RB, RTF, TCR and TXT. It has a built in e-reader, which is convenient if you don’t want to go through the trouble to convert to another format to read on your specific e-reader. But the software gives you the option to do that too. Below is a PDF census record on the native e-reader. The drawback of the native e-reader is the continuous scroll. I much prefer to read on the Kindle or Kindle App because navigation of the book or document is easier than the built in e-reader on Calibre.

You can also organize a variety of RSS feeds from your favorite blogs and find new ones easily through the “Fetch News” option. You can schedule daily downloads of over 1600 news feeds from all kinds of news services including the New York Times and Washington Post and even magazines like Good Housekeeping. But some of these must be read on the native e-reader because as I discovered, the formats don’t always convert for other e-readers. But free is free.

As far as the actual organizing of your collection, this is easy to do. I was able to download a wide variety of things, PDF files, kindle books, and even (as you see above) the 1860 census records of Hawkins County Tennessee, the home of my novel characters. And that brings us to what I don’t like about Calibre.

You have to download all the actual files. That means you are taking up space on your computer rather than storing them in the cloud like you do with Amazon. You can store them externally on a jump drive or using something like Dropbox but that seemed like a hassle to me since mine were already in Amazon’s cloud. This is why I opted not to spend a lot of time organizing my files with Calibre. I use it for the ones that are in weird formats that I don’t want to bother to convert to e books.

If you have plenty of space, Calibre is useful in multiple ways. You can add all kinds of info to your books including custom information such as tags, which Amazon does not let you do. This allows you to organize the books and search for books in many different ways which can be useful with a large collection. It will also search for metadata on your books from various internet sources like Amazon and Google books. You can add missing covers and all kinds of other data. You can also add books from these and many more more sources.

This post doesn’t come close to going over all the things Calibre can do because I am not using it to it’s fullest extent. Calibre is a very powerful tool for organizing your e-books…if you have the room to download them all to your computer. I don’t. So I use Calibre in a limited way for specific purposes of searching for metadata on books and converting file formats but I do not use it for organizing things like regular e-books and PDFs.

So back to my problem of how to organize my books so that they are searchable by a variety of criteria without downloading them all to my computer. I found a solution with another powerful piece of free software that I’ll tell you about in next weeks blog post.

Do you use Calibre? If so how and what do you like or not like about it? Let me know in the comments below.

I started using Calibre and I’m unable to decide how to effectively use it to manage my ebooks.
I’ve a huge collection of ebooks organized by subject into folders like Political Science , History – World , History – US etc. Till using Calibre, these folders were synced across all of my devices (Android phone, tablet, desktop) using Cloud storage. In this way I could browse any subject anywhere using either browser or file explorer or in android phone.

But when I have added the collection to Calibre, it has destroyed this folder structure and made it one folder per author. If I’m syncing this library using cloud storage, I’ve no way to know which are History books and which are political science books.

What is the effective way to manage books using calibre?

3 Answers 3

Calibre organises the books that way, there isn’t much you can do about it. If you want to use it, you must accept that folder structure.

Anyway, books are better categorised by using tags and other metadata informations.

Beside that, Calibre can also run as a web server, providing a website-like interface that you can access from every browser. Obviously, to use this feature, Calibre must be installed on a machine that is always on and connected to Internet.

As written in the Calibre manual you should use tags:

But suppose you want to find all unread science fiction books. There’s no easy way to do this with this folder scheme, [. ] In calibre, you would instead use tags to mark genre and read status and then just use a simple search query like tag:scifi and not tag:read.

It might take a while to get everything properly tagged, but after that it will be easy to find what you want.

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

According to some valuable feedbacks I modified my answer:

The Same Problem:

I had more than one Calibre libraries since I have imported the e-books’ folders from my computer as libraries. I wanted to combine those libraries as one (merge) but I wanted to maintain the folders’ hierarchy or at least I wanted to organize and see the e-books as if they are in the corresponding folders.

My Solution:

  1. Create an empty library. Name it anything but this will be the one and only your Calibre Library. Of course you can rename it in Calibre later.
  2. Create a custom column from “Preferences -> Add your own columns -> Add custom column -> Comma separated text, like tags, shown in the tag browser” by adding lookup name and column heading. Column heading will be used to enter the name of the merging library (that is your folder name).
  3. Copy your e-books in the existing library to the one created in 1. Let’s call it main library or anything you want.
  4. Without copying other library, select all the e-books and edit metadata. In the “edit metadata” window you will see a second tab “custom metadata” where your lookup name appears. Fill the blank as the corresponding library name (that is your folder name).
  5. Now on the Calibre left column you will see your custom column and its subgroup as your added library (that is actually your exported folder name exported as library).
  6. Repeat the same process for other libraries from number 3 to number 5.
  7. You will now have your special column and all the different libraries as subgroups. You will have one Calibre library with different subgroups. This is powerful than using tags for this purpose since subgroups are your choice of organizing your e-books.
  8. Since I had many Calibre library, I tried to merge them copying one by one. You may have many folders of e-books each organized in your way. You can add your e-books one folder by one folder using the process explained from 3 to 5.
  9. At the end, you will have one Calibre library with different subgroups on the left panel. Subgroups will be anything you want, for example your e-books’ folder hierarchy in your PC or Mac.

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

Trying to remember, based on the titles alone, what order a series of books goes in can be quite frustrating. Read on as we show you how to annotate and sort your book titles as they’re transferred to your ebook reader for frustration-free reading.

Here’s a common situation: you’ve transferred a series of books to your ebook reader and, once on the reader, there is no easy way to tell the books apart. Does The Mysterious Ranch come before The Mysterious Mid-Century Modern? You could go through the enormous hassle of renaming every series book you have to include the series and series number in the title, but there’s no need to do that. Thanks to a very handy function in the popular ebook management application Calibre, all it takes is a few minutes of tweaking to enjoy automatically renamed and properly numbered books on your ebook reader.

What Do I Need?

For this tutorial you’ll only need your ebook reader and free tools. Here’s what we’re using:

  • Calibre (a free and open-source ebook manager).
  • A Kindle (this trick works with Nooks and other ebook readers, too).
  • An ebook series.

If you’ve never used Calibre before, we’d recommend checking out our guide to organizing your ebook collection with Calibre to familiarize yourself with the application.

Getting Started

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

The most important thing is that you have the book series in Calibre. For the purposes of this tutorial we created a set of ebook files by a fabricated author—our apologies to those readers who are dying to know what happens in The Mysterious Mid-Century Modern.

The second most important thing is that you’ve correctly labeled the series in Calibre using the Series meta-data tag. If you don’t have it done already, we promise this will be the most labor intensive (and thankfully one-time) part of the tutorial.

An easy way to quickly tag all the books in a series is to highlight the books, right click on the highlighted group, and select Edit metadata individually. In the Edit Metadata menu you can enter the Series name and Number at the top of the screen. If you need help figuring out the order of the books in the series you’re editing, we highly recommend you visit the helpful website FictFact—there you can browse by author name and book series.

You’ve got your books? You’ve tagged them with the correct Series and number? Now it’s time to tie it all together.

Setting Up a Calibre Plugboard

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

Calibre has an awesome feature known as a Plugboard. The plugboard exists exclusively to allow you to, on-the-fly, edit ebook metadata during the send-to-device and save-to-disk operations. Thanks to the magic of the plugboard you don’t have to do annoying and time consuming things like hand edit book titles in order to insert the series name/number or otherwise resolve formatting and ordering issues on various ebook devices.

Currently our series, MysteryHouse, contains 6 books:

  • The Mysterious House
  • The Mysterious Palace
  • The Mysterious Mansion
  • The Mysterious Bungalow
  • The Mysterious Mid-Century Modern

If we were to simply transfer them to our Kindle, there would be no indication which book came first or last in the series. A simple plugboard can solve that problem by, as the books are copied to the Kindle, editing the title/metadata so that we can, at a glance, see which book is which.

To create your plugboard, click on Preferences –> Metadata plugboards (located in the Import/Export section). You’ll be presented with a blank plugboard, like so:

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

The first order of business is to select the format and device. While you could run it wide-open with “any format” and “any device” selected, it’s wiser to set up specific plugboards for specific devices. We’re going to be setting one up for a Kindle 3 (now known as the Kindle Keyboard). For the Format, we’ll select MOBI and for the Device we’ll select Kindle2 (the Kindle 2 and Kindle 3 use the same metadata formatting).

Under the Source template you insert the the naming string you’d like to use for the books. Although you can make your own by reading this Calibre manual entry on the subject, we’ll save you the trouble and share a few basic ones here. Our examples are arranged with the string first and the example output second.

MysteryHouse #01 – The Mysterious House

MysteryHouse – 01 – The Mysterious House

MysteryHouse [01] The Mysterious House

Once you’ve selected the naming string you’d like to use, paste the code into the Source template slot and then select “Title” in the Destination field. We’re using the second one in the list for this tutorial. Click Save plugboard. The plugboard will appear in the Existing plugboards box like so:

If you need to tweak the plugboard in the future, simply select it and click it and the variables for that plugboard will automatically load into the menu for editing.

Now that we have the plugboard set up, it’s time to test it out. Click Apply in the upper left hand corner to exit the plugboard menu and apply your work. Close the preferences screen and return to the main Calibre menu.

Make sure your device is plugged into your computer and then highlight the books in the series you wish to send to your device. Right click and select Send to device—pick the storage option on the device you normally use, in our case “main memory”.

Dismount your device and power it up. If everything went as planned you should see the book series neatly named and organized like so:

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

Success! No more wondering whether the The Mysterious Palace precedes The Mysterious Mansion! Any time you add more devices to your stable of gizmos, you can hope back into the plugboard menu and create a new plugboard script for the device. You’ll never be left trying to remember what order your books go in again.

Have a sweet Calibre or ebook reader trick to share? Let’s hear about it in the comments.

June 20, 2010 by Nathan

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

Calibre Overview

If you haven’t yet started using Calibre (pronounced Caliber) for managing your ebook collection, now is a good time to learn how to get started. Calibre is undisputedly the best ebook managing tool on the planet. And the best part is, it’s free.

Calibre can do everything from displaying ebooks in its ebook viewer to converting formats into something more compatible for a specific ereader. With it you can organize your entire ebook library any way that you choose, and sync all your content with your favorite reading devices. You can easily edit all your ebooks’ metadata and descriptions. And Calibre can even search the internet and download metadata and book covers at the click of a button.

Additionally, you can set up Calibre to fetch RSS news feeds from around the web and automatically convert them into an ebook to be sent to your device, no subscription fee required. The news feeds are setup for many of the popular news sources like Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, BBC news, and 100’s of others—or you can create a new recipe to collect an RSS news feed that’s currently not supported.

4 Quick Steps to Getting Started with Calibre

1. Install Calibre: To get started, download Calibre from http://calibre-ebook.com/download. It’s available for Windows, OS X (Mac), and Linux.

Once you install Calibre, the welcome wizard will guide you through the installation process. First you’ll be asked where you want Calibre to save your files. Calibre will copy all your ebooks into a hierarchical file system.

Next, you’ll be asked to choose your specific type of ebook reader so that Calibre can determine the optimum format to output when converting files. You can change this later so don’t worry if you don’t have an ereader yet.

2. Adding eBooks and News Feeds: If you already have some ebooks on your hard drive, loading them into Calibre is as easy as clicking on the “Add Books” button in the upper left corner of the program’s home menu. Select the folder with your ebooks in it and then Calibre will import the entire folder at once, or you can just choose individual titles.

If you don’t have any ebooks, what are you waiting for? You can find millions of freebies by checking out the websites listed on our free ebooks page, or you can find the latest free titles in the free ebooks category of this blog. If you are looking to buy ebooks, here’s a list of the most prominent ebook stores.

To add RSS news feeds to your Calibre library, simply click on the “Fetch News” button. This brings up a list of all the currently supported news sources. Select the feed you want and then you can choose to download it once or setup a schedule to automatically download it each morning or whenever you specify.

Calibre collects the articles and then converts them into ebooks that includes the full versions of the articles, along with the associated images.

3. Editing Metadata: This step is optional but makes sorting and organizing your ebooks a lot easier in the long run. You can enter metadata—author names, book titles, tags, book description, etc—manually yourself or you can have Calibre search for them online, along with the book covers, to automatically fill in any missing information.

4. Transferring eBooks to a Reader: You can read your DRM-free ebooks using the Calibre ebook viewer on your computer, or you can send them to your favorite reading device as easily as clicking on the “Send to Device” button. Calibre will automatically detect your device when you plug it in to the USB port of your computer.

If the ebook you are sending to the device is not a supported format, Calibre will convert it to the most suitable format for your reader automatically.

Also, with the Calibre content server you can access your ebook collection using a web browser from any computer anywhere in the world, and you can set it up to email your ebooks and downloaded news automatically.

Calibre Video Tutorial

In the video below the creator of Calibre, Dr. Kovid Goyal, gives a tutorial on how to setup Calibre, add ebooks, edit ebook meta data, how to convert and send ebooks to a device, and how to fetch news feeds, among other helpful tips and tricks.

Check this new post for an article and video with some advanced tips and tricks for using Calibre ».

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You’ve finally bought that Kindle or Nook or Kobo that you’ve been dreaming about, and in a frenzy of future anticipation, you’ve purchased dozens of e-book bestsellers. Then, delighting in libraries offering more than 1.5 million free, public domain works–as well as thousands of magazines and newspapers–you’ve loaded your e-reader with the literary goodies you have always meant to read. At the end of the day, your e-reader now holds scores or even hundreds of e-books. In time, that could easily grow to thousands. Organizing and searching among that myriad of books, periodicals, and newspapers on your device may require more time and effort than it’s worth. That’s when you’ll want to turn to free library management program Calibre (free/donationware).

Swiss Army-type utility Calibre can archive and organize your growing e-book library.

Calibre helps you catalog your e-book collection. First, it surveys all the e-books and other relevant files residing either on your hard drive or your e-reader, and then inserts them into Calibre’s main directory. Once that information is in the directory, you can use it to organize, categorize, annotate, search, rate, and save to disk. You can customize or delete any of the data fields Calibre fills in, or add your own.

On the left side are searchable and sortable categories: Authors, Formats, Publishers, Ratings, News, and Tags. For instance, under Authors, Calibre’s defaults rank all authors according to how many of their works are in the library. Click a specific author to display all his or her books in the library.

To the right of the main fields, a column displays plug-in information on the highlighted e-book or publication: cover art, a list of formats in which the e-book is available, tags (either downloaded or added by the user), and the file path on your PC or e-reader where the work is stored. Beneath the path is the publisher’s description or summary of the e-book. Although you can’t customize this window, you can specify what plugins to use to automatically download information into it. Scores of plugins are included, and you can add others created by by Calibre users to your plugin lists.

On top of the interface are the commands that transform Calibre from a static directory to an e-book management powerhouse. Every function you can think of for easy access and guaranteed readability is here. You can add books from many different sources, edit and organize information about the author (or anything else you want associated with the work), convert various e-book formats to the one your e-reader uses, and download e-books to your PC or any other device. And then there’s Fetch News, a cornucopia of thousands of free newspapers and other periodicals, in dozens of different languages, that you can download directly to your e-reader, as well as regularly schedule daily or weekly downloads.

As with most other Calibre components, the commands are highly customizable. And because Calibre is open source software with a dynamic community forum, add to the list of components, features, and free materials daily.

The down side of Calibre is that not everything works smoothly, and there are some gaps in functionality. For example, the directory cannot see any e-books stored in your e-reader’s archives. If you want to add that information to the library, you must first recall the e-book to your e-reader’s active directory. Another problem is that Calibre doesn’t keep track of where your e-books are stored, so you don’t know if a specific e-book happens to be on your PC, E-reader, smartphone, tablet, or whatever. And being such a powerful and versatile utility, the user is occasionally faced with a bewildering array of choices and options, without having a clear idea of what to do next, or why.

Even with its quirks, Calibre belongs on every serious e-bookshelf as the best way to manage your electronic library.

Are you tired of spending so much time looking for your eBooks on an ugly Amazon page? Did you download an eBook from another website, but it’s an epub and you can’t easily send it to your Kindle? Well, let me help you with that.Kindle devices are incredibly popular and sometimes they’re used to back up arguments that paperbacks are dead. You can fill them with eBooks in an impressive pace. eBooks are everywhere: on Amazon and in hundreds of other stores, you can also find millions of free onesonline. When you do, you might find it hard to get them on your device. Kindles are very particular when it comes to file formats.There’s this powerful tool called calibre. It can manage all your eBooks, no matter where they came from and help you select the ones that will get on your device. With it, you can track which books you read and which ones you liked. It can download covers and metadata or compile a series of novels. It can also convert books from one format to another and even make your personal documents into eBooks. Kindle applications just don’t measure up to what calibre is capable of.

How to Set Up Your Library

You open calibre and plug your Kindle with USB for the first time. The program will scan its contents and create a file with metadata – this will allow you to control what eBooks from your library are on the device and vice versa.

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

Unfortunately, you cannot transfer eBooks you bought on Amazon from your Kindle to the calibre library directly. If you want to copy them:

  1. First, log in to your Amazon account.
  2. Then, choose “Manage Your Content and Devices” from the “My Account” tab.
  3. Finally, click “Download & transfer via USB” from under the “Actions” button.

You will be prompted to select which device you’ll read this eBook on. This question pops up because of the DRM protection Amazon puts on eBooks they sell.To add the files, you just downloaded, to your calibre library, just drag-and-drop them to the calibre’s main window.Sending content from your calibre library to your Kindle is much easier. We’ll get to that in a bit.

How to Convert eBooks Using calibre

Let’s say you downloaded an eBook from somewhere on the Internet (say, The Gutenberg Project). But it turns out it’s in a different format than mobi or azw. Most likely, epub.Epub is the most popular eBook format and most eReaders support it because it’s open-source. Kindle devices, however, do not. Amazon uses its own two file formats: the older, mobi and the newer, azw (also: azw3). Both are Amazon’s property but offer a wider selection of options (e.g. adding a built-in dictionary or support for annotations and comments). The azw format was built upon mobi and offers better compression and encryption.If you want the eBook on your Kindle, you need to convert it to mobi or azw first. When you opened calibre for the very first time, you went through the configuration wizard. During this process, you already told calibre what device you use. Because of that calibre already chose the best file formats to convert to and you don’t even have to convert your eBooks by yourself, just send them and calibre will do the rest.

How to Send Your eBook to Kindle Using calibre

Okay, you prepared your eBook. Now, what? How to transfer them to your Kindle and start reading? Let’s dive in.

Sending eBooks To Kindle Via USB

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

To send the eBook to your Kindle, just right-click on it and select “Send to device > Send to main memory”. Note, you should still be keeping your Kindle plugged in via USB. Your eBook will be on your Kindle in seconds.

Sending eBooks To Kindle with Email

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

If you prefer to send your files with email, right-click on the eBook and select “Connect/share > Email to …@kindle.com”. The “…@kindle.com” bit should be your Kindle email you set up on Amazon.

How to organize your ebook collection with calibre

If you want to setup or change this email, log in to your Amazon account and then:

  1. Go to “Manage Your Content and Devices” and choose the “Your Devices” tab.
  2. Then, click “Edit” by the mail listing.

To manage your emails in calibre:

  1. First, click “Preferences” in the main window.
  2. Then, select “Sharing books by email” in the “Sharing” section.
  3. Finally, you can add new emails by pressing the “Add email” button and remove old ones by pressing the “Remove email” button.
  4. The e-mail displayed in the menu in “Connect/share” is whichever address you made default. To make an address default, press the “Make default” button.

If you don’t get the eBooks you sent with email on your Kindle shortly, consider using an email relay like GMX.