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How To Manage Your Ebook Collection For The Amazon Kindle With Calibre

Simon Slangen 05-08-2013

In the past, an extensive library required lots of shelf space and — if you were traveling — a seriously heavy suitcase. With eReaders, most of that is gone. Although there are still aesthetic pleasures to be had from a good old-fashioned library, hundreds of books on your eReader requires just as much physical space as half a dozen. Traveling light is no longer an issue. You can take that half dozen or few hundred books with you, on the train or abroad. It’s a special kind of freedom that tastes particularly sweet.


But an eReader is not all fun and games. The biggest problem is that, closed off as these devices often times are, it requires unreasonable effort to move books between different devices. Much of that is simplified if you chose Amazon’s Kindle as your partner in crime. Buying books online and getting them on your device is as easy as ever. However, buying books from other eBook stores, or synchronising with your pre-Kindle eBook library still isn’t as easy as it should be.

Before Kindle, I fell in love with Calibre How To Manage Your Ebook Collection For The Amazon Kindle With Calibre The biggest problem with an eReader like the Amazon's Kindle is that it requires unreasonable effort to move books between different devices. Before Kindle, I fell in love with Calibre. A bit on the heavy... Read More . A bit on the heavy side, but this eBook management suite is incredibly powerful and always easy to use. For those users just getting started with Calibre, but also for proficient users aiming to maximise Calibre’s potentials, check out MakeUseOf’s Guide To Calibre eBook Manager A User's Guide To Calibre eBook Manager Easily manage, convert and transfer your books using Calibre, the swiss army knife of eBook software, and a variety of related programs. Read More . Whether you’re just installing Calibre for the first time, or it’s already filled with incompatible EPUB files (like mine was), below are some tips to optimise Calibre for use with your Kindle.

Calibre vs Kindle Applications

Kindle isn’t without cross-platform compatibility. As you may know, Amazon has Kindle applications for multiple platforms. These applications let you manage your eBook library on your favourite device, but also to continue reading exactly where you left off. Before we start tweaking Calibre, it’s a good thing to compare these applications with Calibre.

Calibre is a powerful library management tool. It packs quite a punch. You can use Calibre to automatically download covers and metadata. Keep your own custom fields (for example, a Boolean have-read) and keep books of a single series together. Add to this Calibre’s ability to process otherwise incompatible files for your Kindle. For library management of all kinds, the Kindle applications just don’t measure up.



However, to use Collections (Kindle’s way of letting you group several book in a type of folder) on your Kindle, you’ll have to keep using the Kindle applications. This is because Calibre is designed to work with a multitude of different eBook readers and even though you can create Series and Tags, Calibre is unfamiliar with the notion of Collections. (If you have an older, non-touch Kindle, you can use the Kindle Collections plug-in for Calibre.)


As an eBook reader, too, the Kindle applications are a far better choice. Calibre is clearly meant to manage eBooks, not to peruse them, and makes a miserable eBook reader. In contrast, the Kindle applications are great eBook readers and also work in tandem with your Kindle device e.g. by synchronising the latest page read.

1. Add Amazon Books To Calibre

MOBI and EPUB files, but also PDF and even TXT files can be easily added to your Calibre library by dragging them to the application window. Whole directories can be added by selecting the option from the Add books context menu.



You can download eBooks you’ve purchased through Amazon to your computer and similarly add them to Calibre. To do this, log into your Amazon account on the Amazon website and select Your Account -> Manage Your Kindle from the top right corner. Here you’ll see a list of your purchases. In the rightmost column, select Download & transfer via USB from the Actions menu.

You’ll have to specify which device you’ll transfer the eBook to (using Calibre) because the file is still DRM protected. There are ways to remove DRM from Kindle eBooks How To Break The DRM On Kindle eBooks So You Can Enjoy Them Anywhere When you pay Amazon some money for a Kindle eBook, you probably think it’s yours now. I mean, you paid some money, you got some content, and now you have it, just like any other... Read More  as well, but since we’re looking to transfer the book to our Kindle, this shouldn’t be necessary.

2. Converting Other Formats

If you have eBooks in EPUB or another format unsupported by Kindle, you can use Calibre to convert the eBooks to a supported format. In most cases, you’ll want to convert the eBooks to the old MOBI format. Some newer devices support the new MOBI or AZW3 formats (and you can try these out as well), but classic MOBI offers the most compatibility.


Select one or more eBooks in your Calibre library that you wish to convert. You can select multiple items by hold Shift to select a range, or by holding Ctrl of Cmd while clicking to toggle individual items in your selection.


Right click and select one of the two options under Convert booksConvert individually lets you tweak the conversion settings for each individual book in your selection. This allows you to change to cover image, metadata and other instance-specific data before conversion. If you don’t change a lot of these settings, select Bulk convert to work your way through large batches of eBooks at once.



In the next screen, tweak the conversion settings if necessary and press OK. It’s important that you have selected MOBI or another Kindle-compatible file format in the top right corner. Most of the other settings can usually be left as they are if you’ve told Calibre your eReader type during the welcome wizard. If not, select it in the Page Setup tab.


After you’ve pressed OK, Calibre starts running the conversion job. There’s an indicator at the bottom right of Calibre’s main window that shows you the number of jobs remaining. Clicking this will give you more information, as shown below.


If you don’t need the previous format anymore, deleting it can help to avoid confusion in the future. You can delete a specific format by selecting any number of items from your Calibre library, right clicking and navigating to Remove books -> Remove files of a specific format from selected books.

3. Email To Kindle

Instead of connecting over USB, you can have Calibre send books to your Kindle over email. This way, your books will appear wirelessly on your Kindle whenever you have access to the internet. Even if you don’t have a 3G Kindle, these books will arrive over Wi-Fi just the same.

You can configure this feature under Sharing books by email in the preferences, but the easier way is to restart the Calibre welcome wizard. Choose Preferences -> Run welcome wizard to get started. You can skip the parts of Calibre that you’ve already configured in the past, like your library location and eReader type.


When you arrive at the screen pictured above, you can enter the details for email delivery. Calibre will need your Kindle email (this usually takes the form of and a valid email server. The easiest way to do this is by using a free Gmail account. Otherwise, use the mail server information Setting Up An Email Client? Here Is Mail Server Info For The 3 Biggest Email Providers Do you still use any desktop email clients? The last one that I ever made any significant use of was Outlook Express, and that feels like forever ago. Since then, I've given both Thunderbird and... Read More for your email provider.

Press the Use Gmail button and enter your details. Calibre will then fill the rest of the form for you. You don’t need to change any of these options. Press Test email to validate and press Next to finish.


To avoid spam, you’ll only receive documents from certain white-listed email addresses. If you haven’t already, you need to clear the Gmail address you’ll be sending the eBooks from. Log in to and go to Your Account -> Manage Your Kindle -> Personal Document Settings. At the bottom of this page, add the email address Calibre will be sending from.


After whitelisting the email address, you can start sending eBooks to your Kindle over email. Just select one or more eBooks from your Calibre library and navigate to Connect/share -> Email to… Make sure your Kindle is connected to the internet to receive the eBooks. Select Sync and Check for Items if it hasn’t appeared on your device after a few minutes.


The official Kindle applications play well with the device, but are better suited for reading eBooks than for actively managing them. Calibre can take care of general eBook management and conversion, if you’re willing to forego Collections support. Wirelessly transferring those eBooks is just cherry on the cake.

What’s your favourite application to handle eBooks? If it’s Calibre, let us know how you use it! Drop a line in the comments section below.

Related topics: Amazon Kindle, Calibre, Ebooks, eReader.

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  1. Afrah
    December 12, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Calibre doesn't send to kindle email anymore, help please.

  2. Susann Thompson
    July 9, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    I recently purchased a Samsung Galaxy Tab A. I've used Calibre for many years managing my Kindle Fire and various free ebook sites. My question is Calibre does not see or sees junk now when I'm trying to see the kindle books on the device. Using windows explorer I'm not sure I can see the correct amazon files on the TabA. I've always downloaded my kindle books to my PC I'm stalled! Any help would be appreciated!

    • Ellisonling
      October 27, 2017 at 7:18 am

      I was so happy to meet the free eBook converter, Caliber, which can handle thousands of eBooks and read my eBooks on Amazon Kindle. But I can't read my iBooks eBooks on Amazon Kindle with the help of Caliber. I must use TuensKit iBook Copy for Mac first and then it can work with iBooks eBooks. Have I missed something?

  3. Paty Barningham
    November 1, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    I use my Calibre to organize all my books and magazines. I can go to calibre and check which book is next in a series that I am rereading. I put in a section of unread so I can find those I haven't read yet right away. I also put drm sections in so I can click it and know which of my books are drm'd and which are not. Occasionally I read from the caliber web site but usually I just use it to know what books I have and how many of a series I have in my collection. Which one I want to read next. It is good to know that any of my non-drm books have a place where if something happened to barnes and noble at least I would have those saved and able to read. I have a smashwords to click to know where my books came from and will make a Barnes & Noble one . I would like to know how to place my kindle books (I don't have many) in caliber. I do not have a kindle so would have to be gotten from computer app. I guess we can't have everything . We are so spoiled these days. You have so much in your app that I have no clue about how to use and have no use for but how wonderful for those who do. I would never break DRM because in my life I would consider it wrong if the author thinks they are safer with it on I would leave it. I think they delude themselves but that is up to them. More and more we can get non DRM'd but I don't choose books for that -- I want to read what I want to read. I am 70 years old. high school education and do my best. Thank you for Calibre.

  4. Leigh
    November 27, 2015 at 2:46 am

    I love the built in Calibre e-book viewer. It can read all the different e-book formats so there is no need to convert Kindle (mobi) or Nook (epub) books.
    I especially like that I can set it in preferences to always have a grey background with black text. This so much better on your eyes.

  5. Edanward
    April 27, 2015 at 1:51 am

    I do think Calibre is a good eBook managerment tool, but when managing collections especially for my Kindle Touch, I do hate Calibre. I failed again and again, but Calibre tells me to update, again and again.

    I changed to use another good tool. It's free, kindle assistant toolkit.

    Maybe, dear editor, you can have a good think about writing articles for this product, because it's easier to use than Calibre.

  6. Diana Naser
    April 2, 2015 at 1:08 am

    Hello... It's 2015 now! yay! so you probably wont see this but i was using your article and i was all set until i realized that it doesnt say send to gmail! it gives two options like yours except it says use GMX or use hotmail... no gmail. I know its years later but it would be great if you could help!

    • Anonymous
      July 20, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Diana -
      Google changed their security settings and now Calibre cannot pretend to be you, log in to your Gmail account, and send messages on your behalf. I recommend setting up a GMX or Hotmail account expressly for the purpose of emailing ebooks from Calibre to your Kindle. I recommend still using Gmail as your primary email service because it is more secure than GMX or Hotmail.

  7. mildred
    March 3, 2015 at 2:00 am

    How do I delete from library

    • Anonymous
      October 16, 2015 at 9:36 am

      @ mildred

      Just click on the book cover and right-click, you can see the "delete" option.

      If you want to delete it from your cloud, go go Amazon site and ""Manage Your Content and Devices"

  8. David
    October 17, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I have over 1600 books in my Kindle library... is there an easier way to just download them all without having to select every one individually?

  9. Robert H
    August 6, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I've been using Calibre for a couple of years and it works great. I use it with my iPhone, my iPad, and my Kindle (until I sold it). The one thing I wish it had was better support for magazines.

    • Simon Slangen
      August 11, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      I don't think E-ink is ready for magazines yet, but electrowetting displays will change all that when they hit the market. Think E-ink's optional (back)light, but in full colour and with the responsiveness of a regular tablet.

      Amazon is working on the technology now. Here's an interesting article on the subject:
      Amazon is working on displays that Apple and Samsung can’t match.

  10. Guy M
    August 6, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Calibre is excellent for use with the Kobo e-reader - that's mostly a Canadian device that was tightly linked with Chapters/Indigo bookstores. Just FYI for any Kobo users out there that come across this.

    • Simon Slangen
      August 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Cool, thanks for sharing.

    • Jeppex
      December 9, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      Thanks, Guy M, for spreading the knowledge. But do you know which 'page setup' works best with the Kobo? When I try to convert from anything to ePub it mostly gives me one paragraph per sentence, making the whole book look wierd.

  11. Suzi L
    August 5, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Thank you. I really needed this. I love my Kindle and I love Calibre but was having trouble linking the two properly.

    • Simon Slangen
      August 11, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      Glad to help out. :-)

  12. Aleksandra H
    August 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Calibre is the best!

  13. Prateek J
    August 5, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Kindle reader is a very good platform. I do not own a kindle device yet however i use kindle app on my android tablet and it server my purpose just fine. Thank You for giving such an elaborate information.

    • Simon Slangen
      August 11, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Thanks. I often read all throughout the night, so an LCD display is hell on my eyes. If you do ever plan to get an eReader, a Kindle is the right choice. The only thing lacking is EPUB support. ;-)

      Most of the information above should also work for you with the Kindle app. Especially wireless transfers might be worth looking into.