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Books Software Upgrades

Calibre Version 1.0 Released After 7 Years of Development 193

Calibre is a feature-laden, open source e-book manager; many readers mentioned in light of the recently posted news about Barnes & Noble's Nook that they use Calibre to deal with their reading material. Reader Trashcan Romeo writes with some news on its new 1.0 release, summing it up thus: "The new version of the premier e-book management application boasts a completely re-written database backend and PDF output engine as well a new book-cover grid view."
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Calibre Version 1.0 Released After 7 Years of Development

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  • Thanks Kovid! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @12:54AM (#44667663) Homepage Journal
    Don't forget to give the man some money. He updates Calibre frequently - sometimes more than once a week - and doesn't charge a nickel.
  • Awesome program (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xQuarkDS9x ( 646166 ) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @12:57AM (#44667671)

    I've been using this program for over a year first in Windows XP and now in Lubuntu and it's really really good to manage books on my Kindle Paperwhite. There's even a quality check plugin that has an option titled "Fix ASIN for Kindle Fire" which fixes it so that the book cover actually shows up on my paperwhite instead of a generic one. :)

  • terrible UI (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    7 years and the UI is still shit.

    • It may be slightly awkward at first sight, but if someone doesn't perfectly get used to it in seven years, that's probably not the program's fault...

  • I purchased my first ebook reader just 8 days ago, (Sony PRS-T1 for $50) and installed calibre (0.9.18 is the version currently in the ubuntu repository) this morning, and I am very impressed with this piece of software, but a little intimidated by the interface, so I will look forward to testing out this new version.

  • pdf-epub (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thereitis ( 2355426 ) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @01:34AM (#44667783) Journal
    My main use case is converting PDF -> EPUB. I haven't found the output the greatest, at least on my Kobo. Will have to check the new version out.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      My main use case is actually the opposite! I have a Sony PTS-T2 and have found that the epub support is very finicky. Fortunately PDF support works much better, so I've taken to converting my epub files to PDF.

      Calibre works great for this, and definitely one of the more user friendly open source programs out there.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Doesn't PDF effectively lock the text flow and typesetting, making it impossible to change font size or type on the device?

        • Re:pdf-epub (Score:5, Informative)

          by XcepticZP ( 1331217 ) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @07:13AM (#44668559)
          Yes, but you can tell it to size the pdf pages exactly to the size of your device's screen. So then the pdf fits perfectly onto the device, and there is no need to alter the flow of the text due to the width of the device.
          • Yes, but you can tell it to size the pdf pages exactly to the size of your device's screen. So then the pdf fits perfectly onto the device, and there is no need to alter the flow of the text due to the width of the device.

            Yes, that'll work for your particular current device, and if you're happy with it, fine. I'll note that polishing an epub is really easy with only basic knowledge of CSS, though. Sigil [] is basically an IDE for epubs, and with it you can reformat an epub in minutes, most epubs only require slight changes to CSS. With an "official" plugin you can launch Sigil directly from calibre.

            The epub is then usable as-is on most devices, and it is a very good source format if you want a fixed page format like PDF, or oth

      • How is ePub support finicky? Sony has been in the ePub business for probably a decade now. Cant imagine they didn't have the format straightened out.

        • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

          I have a Sony PTS as well, and have indeed had bad luck with epub.

          The core problem is there is no tolerance for error. One out of place tag or invalid character and it just explodes. This usually isn't a big deal for professionally made ebooks, but a lot of not-so professionally made ebooks have minor mistakes in the markup, and while web browsers have been dealing with these gracefully for years, the Sony ereader seems to just throw it's hands in the air and give up.

          I too tried converting to PDF as a way a

          • That sucks. I had 2 Sony readers. The PRS-505 would reset itself if it came across errors in an ePub. Hadn't had similar issues on the PRS-650. Figured they took care of it.

          • by pugugly ( 152978 )

            I confess I'm been really pleased with my PRS950. Works great.

            • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

              The epub thing is frustrating because other than that, I love mine as well.

              It's the right size, weight, the touch screen is nice and responsive, it's got physical buttons for turning the page, and I love the lack of gimmicks (or at least that they are well hidden).

              I've been hoping they'd put out an update to make the parser a bit less fragile, but I think at this point it's a lost cause.

    • Re:pdf-epub (Score:5, Informative)

      by CaptQuark ( 2706165 ) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @02:07AM (#44667861)
      I also tried converting from PDF to EPUB. Sometimes the PDF isn't in a good condition and I get a very poor EPUB. If that happens, I convert PDF -> RTF, clean up and spell check in MS Word, then RTF -> EPUB.

      This has let me fix over-large graphics, incorrect page breaks, constant spelling problems from the OCR, and font problems.

    • PDF is generally problematic. One of the reasons is that PDF is pre-formatted with hard line breaks which have to be eliminated to get dynamically flowed paragraphs, and it is quite impossible for a machine to perfectly know without understanding the context whether a specific re-flow is in order or not.

      That said, I find the PRS-T2's built-in PDF reflow feature, while far from perfect, better than the PC based conversion solutions I happened to look at so far. I always try to get a "native" epub version of

  • Awesome! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Falkentyne ( 760418 ) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @01:40AM (#44667803) Homepage
    I've used Calibre for awhile now and it's an impressive piece of software. I've been meaning to for awhile but I finally went ahead and made a donation.

    Full disclosure: I'm drunk and I'm always more generous when I'm drunk.

    Also, you should see The World's End - great movie.
    • by BancBoy ( 578080 )

      Full disclosure: I'm drunk and I'm always more generous when I'm drunk.

      Same here, but my mod points just expired. Someone want to get this ./er a drink and a +1?

  • by EnsilZah ( 575600 ) <.EnsilZah. .at.> on Sunday August 25, 2013 @02:01AM (#44667849)

    I've been using it for format conversions since I got my Kindle and though I have no need for it the reading and library features I'm sure they are adequate.

    The one thing that bothers me, as is often the case with open source software, is the interface is a mess of icons in various colors, styles and questionable relation to the functions they're trying to represent.
    I guess it's just another case of a developer not being a designer and making his own icons or accepting a patchwork of contributions from various people, but it would be nice if there was one consistent style throughout.
    Hell, I might even consider using it for managing and transferring my ebooks if I felt more comfortable with the interface.

    • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @02:48AM (#44667985)

      Give it time, the interface grows on you. And having the same interface on Linux and Windows is worth learning what the icons mean. (hover works)

      Nobody has mentioned that it the ability to send ebooks to your android without cabling up, sucking down newspapers or other periodicals and pushing them to your devices so you can read on the plane, or serving ebooks to your whole household for download via a simple web browser. Or managing multiple ebook libraries, so you can keep the kids books out of your books and vise versa.

      I think it looks complicated, because it has a lot of power, but if you sit down and play with one feature a day, it becomes second nature.

      • by smartin ( 942 )

        Another great feature is that you can share books by email. My Mom is a constant reader and I will hunt down books for her. I use Calibre to reformat them to .mobi and then can right click on the book and mail it to her kindle account. Works great! Calibre even lets me add a column to the main listing so that I can add a flag the lets me record that I sent the book.

    • I was using Calibre the same way as you - for conversions (and to communicate with my Sony PRS-500 reader), exactly because of that unusual interface.
      Nowadays I simply reconfigure the interface, using Preferences -> interface - > Toolbar.
      I remove all icons from the toolbar and put the functions I want on the menubar.
      Do not saw off the branch you are sitting on and first define the menubar, with a prefferences menu and only then remove the toolbar.

      Calibre is extremely configurable and *very* powerfull.

      • Calibre is extremely configurable

        Some people think that's an excuse for having an appalling UI. "Hey, it might be a pile of shit, but you can choose the details of which bits of shit are displayed."

        • Calibre is extremely configurable

          Some people think that's an excuse for having an appalling UI. "Hey, it might be a pile of shit, but you can choose the details of which bits of shit are displayed."

          OK, we get it, you hate the look and feel of calibre. On the other hand I hate the recent trend of giving everything a Web 2.0 look and removing easy access to as much functionality as possible. Let me know if you find some ebook management software which has half the functionality of calibre, half the stability, *and* a beautiful interface, while maintaining usability. I won't hold my breath.

          I don't really get what in particular you complain about; if it is "waaaaah ugly" then I frankly can't be bothered t

          • Design is not about how it looks. It's about how it works. And Calibre is a bag of features without any overarching design. For sure it's ugly and that's a bad thing. But it's not the reason for me criticising it's UI design.

            This is not intended facetiously, "simple" (and not so simple) questions crop up all the time from the millions of calibre users, and there are a lot of helpful people to answer them.

            You're arguing my case for me.

            offering "simple" and "advanced" interface options has been brought up several times on the calibre forums, but has been rejected

            And it would be rejected by me too. Optionally hiding UI elements does not make an ill thought out application into a good one. See Azeureus (Vuze) for the mess this gets you into.

            • Design is not about how it looks. It's about how it works. And Calibre is a bag of features without any overarching design. For sure it's ugly and that's a bad thing. But it's not the reason for me criticising it's UI design.

              My troll alarm is ringing its bells off... Oh well.

              What do you mean by "overarching design", and how is lack of it a hindrance to you? Please be specific, don't just spout vague criticism. In fact, from your posts on this story you seem very similar to a guy who posted a few times on the forum with extremely vague (but very vocal) complaints about the "bad UX". When asked repeatedly by exasperated forum members, he was not able to communicate what, exactly, his problem with the GUI was. Obviously he didn't

              • You clearly know Calibre has a bad UI, as you're not defending it directly. You're making excuses. That you care more about functionality, or that there's support available for people who can't work the UI out. Remember, any poster on a forum looking for advice on how to get an app to do something of which it actually is capable is a failure of the UI.

                As to be being a troll. You've admitted that there are people on Calibre's own forums that say that. And I'm not the only one commenting on this Slashdot to s

    • In the right-bottom corner, uncheck all the buttons except the right-most one (with the icon of a tiles).

      Here you go - a modern interface! Wasn't that hard to find too.

    • by nashv ( 1479253 )

      If the icons really bother you so much, just take a peek in "Calibre2InstallDirectory/resources/images". You will find all icons used by Calibre there. Replace them with whatever you wish.

      It's a shame because there could easily be a skin-pack applier interface for Calibre, since the icons etc. are individual files and not packed into the executable.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    3 lines is an article now?

    Also, it's "its", not "it's". You would think an editor on an English-language website would have at least a rudimentary understanding of English grammar rules.

  • by mutherhacker ( 638199 ) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @03:43AM (#44668107)

    He locked himself in a cave for 7 years to build this. Somebody should have told him that apps like these nowadays have a web based front-end. Doh! Back in the cave for another 7 years to make it web-based!

    ps. I'm only kidding, kudos to him for making a very feature rich app and releasing it open-source.

  • by demon driver ( 1046738 ) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @03:54AM (#44668127) Journal

    Library sync is still a major problem, because it becomes virtually impossible once you start adding books to different libraries.

    While calibre /can/ run in server mode, which in theory could very much eliminate the need for synchronizing libraries, the web frontend isn't quite as good as the normal calibre UI, so I don't like the option too much.

    Right now, I'm keeping my primary calibre library on a netbook, I don't add books in any other library, and I synchronize other libraries by simply copying from the netbook.

    That said, calibre is nevertheless THE all-in-one solution for everything I need to do with e-books, and it's truly excellent.

  • *thusly

    • by Anonymous Coward

      From the thesaurus on my laptop (see bottom):

      1 the studio handled production, thus cutting its costs: consequently, as a consequence, in consequence, thereby, so, that being so, therefore, ergo, accordingly, hence, as a result, for that reason, ipso facto, because of that, on that account.
      2 all decent aristocrats act thus: like that, in that way, so, like so.
      thus far thus far, we've avoided any unanticipated expenditures: so far, until now, up until now, up to now, up to this point, hithert

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      Bad Grammar Nazi loses war: []

  • by shic ( 309152 ) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @06:32AM (#44668449)

    I've used Calibre on my desktop for a few years - it was the best tool I could find, but it was frustratingly slow Version 1.0 seems to have that fixed I'm officially impressed.

    What I'd like to do is access my (ever growing) library from my Android tablet (a Nexus 10 which I bought for its near-laser-printer screen resolution). I'm a real tight-arse when it comes to paying for software... but I'd pay for an application that gave me seamless access to read my Calibre library (on my LAN) from my Android device (with limited local storage).

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Like "Calibre Companion" ???

      • by shic ( 309152 )

        Quite possibly... I might need to jump through some hoops to get this working on my LAN... but, on the surface, it looks as if it might be exactly what I need. Thanks. :)

  • by sandbagger ( 654585 ) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @11:48AM (#44669583)

    Will it ever reach 1.0? I need to get to my BBS!

  • Calibre is a completely brilliant app. Consistent across platforms to boot. If you can't figure out the UI, stick to Apple products. If you don't like the UI, write something better.
  • by guanxi ( 216397 ) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @03:15PM (#44671101)

    I'd love to use ebooks and get rid of all my paper, but my books contain a lot of valuable knowledge and I always have these two concerns:

    1) Annotations: Is there a way to efficiently make annotations (roughly as quickly as a I can using paper), in a way that I'll be able to read 10-50 years from now?

    2) Preservation: Will I be able to read and use the ebook at all in 10-50 years?

    Obviously, these needs require a widely-accepted standard format and software that strictly observes it (i.e., doesn't subtly corrupt the format). For example, in the world of PDFs, there PDF/A format. Is there anything similar for ebooks?

  • calibre is one of those apps that I didn't know I needed until I started using it, now it's pretty much indispensible. Mad props to Mr. calibre Developer Dude!
  • It still doesn't support DjVu; although one can use DjVu, Calibre treats it like just like any other unknown file

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.