Calibre: Hands-Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

Intro Image   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager AvailableElectronic media is no doubt more prevalent today than it ever has been. The Internet is at the core of it all, and because of it we have eBooks, web articles, and news from electronic magazines and newspapers. With all of this content that we are taking in, how can we manage it all?

Sadly, most of us don’t. We forget that one article that we wanted to read or lose the eBook we downloaded to our computer (of course that is more about file management). Or perhaps we just don’t have a tool to easily take care of all the information, despite our efforts to be organized. Thankfully, Calibre takes care of all of those problems and more.

Calibre   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

First off, there is an abundant amount of articles about Calibre on MakeUseOf. This is because the entire eBook manager cannot be contained in one article – there’s so much it can do and so much to cover that it literally needed its own guide on MakeUseOf. Simon wrote an excellent article regarding the first initial steps of using Calibre from creating and managing your library using Metadata to converting different eBook formats. That’s one thing I want to briefly say - Calibre supports pretty much every eBook format imaginable.

Go Portable

Go Portable   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

We all know that Calibre is a great program for all platforms, but maybe you don’t know that you can throw it on a flash drive and bring your library with you – brilliant. What’s even more brilliant is using it along with PortableApps, which if you don’t know what that is, I highly recommend you check it out.

It is important to note, however, that the portable version only runs on Windows. Again, this is only the case for the portable version – the normal version runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Go Portable OS   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

Also, another great way to go portable is through Dropbox, which Justin wrote an extensive piece on.

Go Plug In

Go Plug In   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

Calibre has an abundant amount of plugins available to your disposal. There’s practically everything you could want, so keep that in mind as I touch upon some of the neat ones that I like. Perhaps the one you are looking for won’t be covered in this article, but that doesn’t mean that Calibre doesn’t have it.

Calibre Preferences Plugins   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

The first thing I really like is quite simple, but important – the plugin database is integrated within Calibre. There’s no going to several different third-party sites, scouring through forums or performing Google search after Google search in the hopes that you will find what you’re looking for. Now, I’m not saying you will never have to do that because frankly that’s not a promise I can keep, however I am saying that there are a lot of plugins available that will likely quench your customization thirst.

Calibre Plugins   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

Another great thing that I like is the options which you are given even for adding a plugin. At first you might think, “What do I do?!” But as you actually read through each option, it becomes apparent that Calibre is giving you control of where you are able to access the plugins at. It’s really quite nice.

Calibre Plugins Add Options   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

Now let’s get down to a couple different plugins that I think are fantastic.

Remove DRM From eBooks

drm free   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

Why would you want to remove DRM (Digital Rights Management) from your eBooks? Simply to read them on any device of course.

Remember when I said that you rarely have to find plugins from other websites, etc. for Calibre? This is an exception. The plugin to do this isn’t in Calibre itself, however it is still easily accessible since I will provide the link. Basically this process isn’t incredibly complicated if you can follow directions. If not, it might be a bit difficult.

After reading how to do this, I specifically found articles for the Kindle and Nook, being the two most popular models, however it seems the process would be similar for other eReaders as well. To explain the whole procedure would literally require a whole other article, therefore I will simply point you in the right direction.

The Kindle and Nook directions (which I’ve linked to) are both similar and Windows-only. However, there are directions to do this on the Mac as well. The name of the plugin is Apprentice Alf which is on a WordPress-hosted blog, that covers lots of information regarding DRM and how to get around it. Thankfully, you’re not left hanging to figure this out on your own as they have included directions to add Apprentice Alf to Calibre too.

Merge & Split eBooks

Merge and Split eBooks   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

I was stoked whenever I discovered the ability to do this. Have you ever wanted to combine more than one publication, perhaps from the same author or source? Now with a plugin you can. Or how about splitting a book into two? You can do that too! There might be several plugins that can do this, but the two I am most familiar with are aptly named “EpubMerge” and “EpubSplit”.

EpubMerge   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

EpubSplit   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

Remember that if the format isn’t in ePub, you must first convert it, which Simon covered in his article on Calibre.

Sync With Goodreads

If you aren’t familiar with Goodreads, it’s a social book reading site that allows you to connect with other authors and readers alike, track reading progress and rate the books you’ve read. Instead of rating, organizing and setting dates which you’ve read the book both in Calibre and Goodreads, this plugin allows you to do it in one and sync to the other. Quite handy if you already use Goodreads, and who knows, if you don’t, maybe you’ll find it useful.

Plugins Goodreads Sync   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

Go Customize

Go Customize   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

Customizing Calibre is a breeze. To access the different options, click on the big Preferences button (with the gears). A window will appear with several different categories – Interface, Conversion, Import/Export, Sharing and Advanced. At the bottom there is one more feature and that is a button to run the welcome wizard. This is great if you quickly breezed pass the installation and wanted to take time to look more into other options later.

Here you can choose/change the library folder…

Calibre Welcome Library   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

The eReader device…

Calibre Welcome Device   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

And set up Calibre to send books to your Kindle wireless – awesome!

Calibre Welcome Email   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

Now back to the main interface, I won’t go into all of the options here, however I will say you won’t be disappointed. There could likely be a whole other article just on the options of Calibre. As you can see, it’s all very customizable from the position of the buttons on the toolbar (Interface > Toolbar) to tweaking how Calibre works with your eBooks (Advanced > Tweaks)

Conclusion: Go Read

Go Read newspaper   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

No not that way! (although we have shared on MakeUseOf – also by Justin – how to send entire newspapers to your eBook Reader With Calibre).

This way:

Go read tablet   Calibre: Hands Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

Honestly, I’m not sure what enticed me to put “go” in front of everything or use miniature all-white people with no face, but it seems to work. The bottom line is that you should use Calibre. Why? Because although it is chock-full of features and customizations and it’s actually incredibly easy to use, allowing you to spend less time learning how to use it and more time managing and reading your books.

With that said, what are your thoughts on the Calibre ebook manager? Have you tried it? Will you? In my opinion it’s the best eBook manager available. Do you agree? Disagree? We’re looking forward to your thoughts in the comments below!

Image Credits: 3D Character With USB Flash Drive via Shutterstock, 3D Character With Electric Plug via Shutterstock, 3D Character With Gears via Shutterstock, 3D Character Reading Newspaper via Shutterstock, 3D Character With Tablet via Shutterstock, 3D Character With Key via Shutterstock

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64 Comments -

0 votes

KatyaR

I LOVE Calibre! I use it almost every day. I recommend it to everyone who buys an ereader or tablet.Thanks for all the info–I’m sure there’s a lot here I don’t know about.

5 votes

Harish Jonnalagadda

Yeah me too. Never come across a more useful utility for ebook management.

5 votes

Aaron Couch

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! There’s a TON to know about Calibre and I certainly wasn’t able to cover it all in this article, but like I said there is an eBook for learning Calibre so definitely check it out!

Thanks for reading :)

0 votes

Brian Mok

Awesome! I used to use Calibre on Linux. I found it a little hard to navigate and stuff. Trying it out again on Windows thanks to this article. Thanks!

1 votes

Aaron Couch

Brian,

You are welcome. Let me know what you think after trying it on Windows!

0 votes

Nikhil Chandak

amazing Calibre !!

0 votes

Rene Gatdula

..oh lame me…I’ve been reading ebooks and this is the first time I heard about Calibre..:-(

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Haha well now is the time to start! And don’t feel bad – it happens to all of us :)

If you decide to use it, let me know what you think! I’d like to hear your thoughts as an avid eBook reader!

0 votes

Bruce Thomas

No doubt in my mind that Calibre is the best e-book manager. Every morning I have news downloaded from several favorite sites. All of my e-books and pdf files are logged, tagged and easy to find now. I’m still learning about this feature-rich management tool. I learned about it on MakeUseOf, so thanks for alerting me to another useful tool

0 votes

Aaron Couch

You’re definitely welcome Bruce! Glad to here we have helped you become more productive. Thanks for reading!

0 votes

Harish Jonnalagadda

Thanks for the info! Have been using calibre for all my ebook needs! Wonderful utility if ever there was one.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

You’re welcome! And thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

1 votes

Vishal Mishra

yes calibre is the best book managing software.

0 votes

Mac Witty

Haven’t used Calibre for years but this article gave me motivation to do it again. Calibre has grown during the last years

5 votes

Aaron Couch

It certainly has! In some ways it hasn’t changed a bit, but in other ways it has. And the changes which have been made have definitely been for the best. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

0 votes

josemon maliakal

I am using this cool soft for a long time..it is awesome, for installing it in Ubuntu follow the steps http://www.texplod.com/install-calibre-to-your-ubuntu-machine/

0 votes

Anonymous

Calibre looks very useful and I will try it for sure. But who reads books continuously for more than one hour on computer screen?

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Actually, Calibre isn’t as much as an eBook reader as it is an eBook manager for your eReader devices like the Kindle or tablets. It CAN be an eBook reader on your computer, but I personally find it more useful to manage my books which I then read on my Kindle.

Thanks for your comment!

0 votes

Harry Barnes

awesome article, i’ll download it now!

0 votes

Ahmed Khalil

it is my favourit from long time, thanks for sharing

0 votes

David Fielder

I’ve been using this app for a while on my mac to manage my kindle ebooks

3 votes

Deekshith Allamaneni

Thanks for explaining about this in detail. I am gonna run this on Linux (Ubuntu).

0 votes

Aaron Couch

That’s what we do here at MUO :) Let us know what you think! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

5 votes

ion popa

Oh! Thanks for mention about DRM removing. Quite useful. Thanks again!

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Not a problem! Thanks for reading!

5 votes

Yiz Borol

YES! very nice guide, even though I’m already using calibre I often direct friends to it, and this just saved me a couple hours of setup and explanation

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Don’t you love it when you can do that? :) Thanks for sharing our articles! We definitely appreciate your support and dedication.

0 votes

M Prindle

I started using Calibre earlier this year and it works great! I have it installed on multiple machines and my books are stored on DropBox so all the machines have a copy of them. When I purchase new books from Amazon I run them through the DRM stripper so I can read them on other non-Amazon readers like the reader in Calibre.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Sounds like you are a master of eBooks and Calibre! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insight.

0 votes

Drew Sylvester

I use Calibre on my macbook to remove drm and serve my books on dropbox–that way I can get to them from anywhere I have an internet connection, on any device I choose.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Bam! Right on Drew! Thanks for sharing your experience with us and your fellow readers!

0 votes

Mitchell C. Swan

Cute little icons. They look friendly. Too bad that fella trying to push the “Go Customize” gears ain’t gonna make it two inches before those interlocked gears seize up.

I’ve driving my own campaign to rid graphic design of stupid people.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Haha I love your humor. If only that guy knew what he was in for once that happened…

0 votes

Mani Bhooshan

This tool is really helpful. I recommend it who has any eBook reader.

I create TOC in the end for the books which has very large number of pages in TOC.

0 votes

Edwin Williams

Thanks! I love Calibre and use it for my ebooks on my kindle!

1 votes

Aaron Couch

Not a problem! Thanks for reading Edwin!

0 votes

Ritwick Saikia

Calibre is a great software really done well. ‘Nuff said – time to get reading

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Couldn’t agree more! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

0 votes

howard wolowitz

wow calibre is awesome

0 votes

howard wolowitz

much better than the adobe thing

0 votes

howard wolowitz

i will recomend this to my freinds

0 votes

amit gaurav

Going to download the same now.. Was looking for a link but will search google..

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Oops. I apologize for not including one! That is my mistake. You have probably downloaded it by now (if so, feel free to provide your user experience and feedback), but in case you haven’t, here’s the download link. It’s also available on the Best Of app page for Windows.

Download: http://calibre-ebook.com/download

0 votes

Anonymous

I totally rely on Calibre. One feature I like is the conversion; I can convert files into or out of epub as needed with the click of my mouse.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Thanks for commenting Ellen and sharing your personal user experience. I agree – it definitely excels in that area!

0 votes

Suzi Love

I’d heard about Calibre but never tried it. Now I’m definitely going to use it.
Suzi Love

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Thanks for reading Suzi! Let me know what you think of it!

0 votes

Anonymous

Use this all the time.

0 votes

Boni Oloff

I am already a long time do use Calibre, all my books collection is safed in a good way.

0 votes

Lisa Santika Onggrid

Calibre is so good after you accept the fact that you’ll not be able to sort your books in your own file structure. I agree that it’s better Calibre’s way, but my OCD has been keeping me away from the library folder. I can’t stand the mess created, folder management-wise. Aside of my personal quirks, I do recommend it to anyone. It’s very powerful once you’ve added plugins to suit your needs.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Hey Lisa,

Thanks for sharing your insight! You have a valid point for sure.

0 votes

Debbie Strain

Very Interesting article. I am just now getting into ebooks and audible books. I am very old fashioned and like to read with a nice paperback however the digital age is catching up with me. I am currently using Mantano Reader Lite on my tablet and phone after reading a review here. I will be trying Calibre and hope it is easy to use.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Debbie,

Although Calibre can be an eBook reader, it probably doesn’t excel at that as much as it does an eBook manager.

Thanks for the comment!

0 votes

Siddhant Chaurasia

Calibre has a really nice UI

0 votes

Jeremiah Iliffe

I’ve got to say I love Calibre.. use it for everything even though I have a kindle

0 votes

Terafall

Calibre is great.For me it’s like vlc for ebooks

0 votes

Heather

The only reason I’m not using it is that it makes duplicates of files you already have. Why does everything have to be in Calibre’s specified folder? Can’t it just make a database of file locations for ebooks elsewhere in your hard drive? I don’t want to fully rely on a management system for organizing ebooks, it should also respect how I organize my files into intuitive folders.

0 votes

Dan

This is one of the most frequently asked questions on mobilereads.

Unfortunately the calibre community is not only completely set in their way, they are disgustingly arrogant about it.

Their typical answer is that people who don’t see the calibre way are stupid and that calibre is not for them.

Imagine an mp3 player, that would copy all imported mp3s into its own file structure. That would be totally ridiculous.

Calibre could be a nice program, but as long as you have to copy all files into their structure and can’t keep links to outside files, exactly like any other media library does, it’s just unusable.

And no, having a database with tagging and search etc. does not require all files to be kept in a black box.

-1 for the arrogant and unhelpful community.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Dan & Heather,

You both bring very valid points and thank you for sharing this. It’s too bad that it isn’t different, but hopefully it will change in the near future.

Thanks again for commenting.

0 votes

Dan

Hi Aaron,

Here is their official answer:
http://manual.calibre-ebook.com/faq.html#why-doesn-t-app-let-me-store-books-in-my-own-directory-structure

“If you are still not convinced, then I’m afraid calibre is not for you. Look elsewhere for your book cataloguing needs. Just so we’re clear, this is not going to change. Kindly do not contact us in an attempt to get us to change this.”

But after all I am very optimistic about them relenting at some point.

They say that if you sort your folders by author, you can’t access them by subject, and that sorting in calibre is much more powerful than by file folder.
Of course, that’s totally right, but that’s what you want to use calibre for, so you can browse independently from your folders.

Whether the files are stored inside of calibre’s black box, or in your folders is in no way related to how they are indexed by calibre. You could still search for a book by author, date, tag, subject or whatever you like, just that the path points to your external folder!!!!!!

And if you have accidentally moved a file, calibre could just ask for the new location of the file.
I’d say nearly every media library (zotero, itunes, media player) works that way.

I tried zotero, and it does exactly do what calibre says can’t be done: It does all the indexing, tagging and sorting for you, but allows you to keep files in your own folders. If it only had an interface as nice as calibre!

I for example already have a big library, and can’t risk to destroy the order that I have by importing everything into calibre.

There is just too much risk involved, I don’t want to experience what Loris did.
My library contains many years worth of collecting and scanning thousands of documents, I am not going to trust any program to move them around and rename them.

I often use google desktop search my files, and then look around in the same folder for related things. With calibre, this workflow would break.

Another thing reason to keep books outside of the black box is that you may want to keep them together with other stuff, like the extras that came with the book.

Thanks for your review. I totally agree btw. and think calibre is the best program out there for books. My annoyance is because I can’t use it for my large existing library.

cheers,

dan

0 votes

Loris Johnston

I have used calibre in the past. For the third time, I experienced a total loss of library. You CAN reinstate the library from metadata db. It DOES NOT reinstate your own catalogues (categories). If you have a large library, to redo this is time consuming to say the least. When I contacted calibre regarding this, the only thing they had to say was that the library could be restored from the metadata (which I stated in my original communication that I had done). Further in the same communication said that my “bug” was invalid. I have a library of a little over 300 books at the moment. Imagine a 10,000 book library!

0 votes
0 votes

Jeremy Garnett

Thanks. I didn’t know about the plugins.

0 votes

Donald Richardson

There is so much info on MUO that I have only just found this! This is one I really must have! Thanks for this post.