Calibre – Free E-Book Management Software
Calibre is an open source e-book management application. It is available on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms.
Calibre can be used for the following tasks.
- Organizing your e-book collection
- Converting e-books from one format to another.
- Downloading news from websites
- transferring documents to and from devices (Kindle, Nook etc) and
- Viewing e-books
First things first
After you finish installing, and run Calibre for the first time, the foremost thing to do is to build and organize your e-book Database/Library.
You build your Calibre e-book database by adding books to it by clicking on the “Add books” button from the Calibre toolbar.
Once you have finished adding all the books on your machine, you can start organizing the books according to topic, author, publisher and so on. You can even associate tags to each book.
When you add an e-book to the Calibre library, it automatically creates/ imports the meta data associated with that book such as its name, authors name, publisher, date of publishing as well as a synopsis of the book. However, you can also edit the meta data manually and correct any mistakes.
In most cases, it is enough if you enter the correct ISBN number of the book, and calibre will download the relevant meta data via the internet.
All the books you add to Calibre library/database are copied to a common location initially specified by you.
The comprehensive search feature of Calibre allows you to find books by a specific author, publisher, in the same series, a particular tag and so on.
Calibre allows you to download news from a variety of news sites.
If you click on the “Fetch News” button on the toolbar, Calibre will present you a window containing 100s of news sources.
Choose the news sources you like and click on the “Download now” button and Calibre will download the news content for you. You can even schedule the download at a particular time of the day(s).
The downloaded content is naturally made available for offline use and can even be transferred to your e-book reader / device.
Convert e-books from one format to another
Another very useful feature of Calibre is its role as an e-book converter. Ebooks come in different file formats. The most popular being MOBI and EPUB. MOBI is the format used by Amazon Kindle. Where as Sony e-book reader and Nook support EPUB format. Calibre can easily convert e-books from one format to another.
Here is how you convert e-book from one file format to another using Calibre.
Connect your e-book device to your computer. Calibre will automatically detect the device.
Select the e-book in the Calibre library that you wish to convert.
Right-click using the mouse and in the pop-up menu click “Send to device”.
That is it. Calibre will detect the format supported by your e-book reader and automatically convert the e-book to the specific format before copying the book to the device.
You can manually convert e-books from one format to another too.
There are a few limitations though -
1. You cannot edit e-book content before conversion. Calibre just dumps the content from one format to another.
2. Any typos you wish to correct or any additions you wish to make to your e-book has to be done using a dedicated editing tool prior to conversion through Calibre.
3. Not all e-book formats support the same formatting rules. So there is a chance that the converted e-book may not retain the original formatting.
4. An e-book with DRM cannot be converted to a different format.
Calibre supports a variety of e-book readers – over 30. Everything from eInk devices like Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Nobles Nook, Sony’s e-book reader to cell phones are correctly identified.
Calibre has an integrated e-book Viewer which can be used to read e-books (MOBI & EPUB) on your computer. However, if your e-book is in PDF format, clicking on the e-book in Calibre opens it in the default PDF viewer installed on your machine.
In this age of electronic document readers, tablets and smart phones, e-books are gaining prominence among the tech savvy public. And a free, and open source program like Calibre is a real godsend for people who want to organize, read, convert, or transfer e-books. What is more, it works on Linux too.
Forum @ Mobileread.com where you can post your queries related to Calibre.
Online user manual for Calibre