Monday, March 8, 2010

eBook Managment

I have a few hundred eBooks. I have done my best to manage them, however I commonly find myself searching through multiple layers of folders to find a specific book. During this process I am having to open each "candidate" in whatever form of reader it uses. I have eBooks in txt, pdf, lit, doc, epub, etc.

To further compound things I (up until recently) used Stanza for the iPhone/iPod Touch. Stanza (Like most eBook readers) is pretty heavily reliant upon the meta data in these files for sorting and categorization. It will also use cover images for the book in a cover flow type library.

So this weekend iTunes decided that I really didn't need the 120 or so book I had manually edited meta data on and downloaded covers for. Faced with the prospect of doing all this work over again, I set out in search of a way to organize, catalog, and update my eBooks. I found Calibre.

Calibre is an open source eBook management/viewing/meta data updating/converting software. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

What Calibre does......

Bulk importing

You can import books multiple ways. The easiest way I found was a simple drag and drop. Basically I dropped 200 or so books in the window, and Calibre went to work copying them to my local library. Calibre also supports importing folders and subfolders in multiple modes.

eBook Metadata

Calibre is capable of editing Meta data in bulk or per book. It can pull data from google books and Updating meta data is fairly simple, simply fill in the book name and author fields and search for books that match, if results are found you can choose your best fit and the remainder of the data will be filled in. It will even pull social data, like book ratings. If you are having a hard time finding your book by title/author you can use ISBN. ISBN can usually be found pretty easily through Google or Amazon, and is a pretty fool proof way to get the right book.

While you are fetching the meta data you can also download the cover for the book, it is a simple button press.


Calibre is capable of converting from several eBook formats, to several other formats. In my case I converted most of my files from pdf, txt, html, to epub. You can set your options for the files and even the structure of the folders for output. Calibre by default will keep the original format and the new converted file, while maintaining a single entry in Calibre.


Calibre sports a Tagging system. Once again this can be done in either bulk or per book mode. Tagging basically works similar to tagging everywhere else. It simplifies searches.


Calibre has a very nice search funtionality, You can use the basic search which searches for title, author, tags, book description, etc. Or you can use the advanced search an filter your search results to a single criteria.

Everything else

Calibre also has a nice viewer built in , Cover Flow, etc.

I am really enjoying the program, if you have need of a eBook management program, I really reccomend Calibre. Get it here.

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