Stop organizing your ebooks like they’re just a tired pile of documents and start organizing them in style with Calibre—an open source ebook organizer that supports metadata, cover flow, format conversion, and more.
Calibre is an absolutely fantastic application for organizing your ebook collection. It supports 22 ebook formats including MOBI, EPUB, LIT, PDF, and more. It can accept those 22 formats and convert them to 16 formats, with customized output for dozens of specific ebook readers including the Kindle, Nook, Sony Readers, and more.
The interface is polished, easy to use, and makes managing your ebook collection like managing a media collection through popular media management applications such as iTunes. You’ll be able to easily download covers, metadata, and tags from online databases and browse your collection using that information.
On top of all that Calibre is open source and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
What Do I Need to Get Started?
You don’t need much to get started with Calibre, to follow along with this guide you’ll need the following:
- A copy of Calibre for your operating system
- A folder or drive to serve as a new home for your collection
- Some books to add into your Calibre database
Once you have a copy of Calibre installed and you’ve grabbed a few books to use as test subjects as you follow along with the tutorial, you’re ready to go.
Installing and Configuring Calibre
For this tutorial we’re going to be using the portable Windows version of Calibre. Once you unpack the portable version or install the traditional version there is no difference in operation. The primary reason we’ve opted to go with the portable version is because it allows us to pack Calibre right along with our ebook collection using the following directory structure:
Thus we can easily backup the entire library, management app and all, at once. If you’re not using the portable version don’t stress about not putting everything together. Calibre stores all information (meta data and covers) in each unique book directory.
When you run Calibre for the first time it will prompt you to select the language you want to use and the location of your library. Make sure to create a new folder for your new Calibre library. We’re going to import your old ebooks into Calibre and let Calibre manage the directory structure. In our case we’re pointing Calibre at /Ebook Library/Ebooks/.
In the second step you tell Calibre what ebook reader you use. If you don’t use one go ahead and leave it as Generic/Generic e-ink device. If you do use one select the appropriate device such as Amazon/Kindle.
In the third step you can configure Calibre to email documents to your ebook reader, such as to your Kindle’s email address. If you have a device that supports such a service we recommend you configure it now. After configuring your email service, click finish.
At this point Calibre should launch and you should see a screen like the one above with an empty library—save for the Calibre Quick-Start Guide. The setup wizard should have all the major settings already configured for you, if you need to tweak anything in the future click on the Preferences icon or press CTRL+P to access the configuration menu.
Adding Books to Calibre
Now it’s time to start adding books to Calibre. Grab some free books online or some books you’ve already collected. For the purposes of this tutorial we downloaded some free ebooks from around the web and placed them, temporarily, in the /Ebook Library/temp/ folder.
You can add books in one of several ways. Choose carefully. If you’re going to make a mess anywhere in the process of using Calibre it’s right here—we speak from experience. Here’s a quick primer:
Add books from a single directory: Opens a dialog box. You pick the books you want to add manually from a directory of files. Best for selecting single books or a few books in a single format.
Add books from directories, including sub-directories (One book per directory, assumes every ebook file is the same book in a different format): If you already have a batch of books sorted into folders (the titles and organization of the folders doesn’t matter as long as each folder only has different-format copies of the same book) this is the one you want.
Add books from directories, including sub-directories (Multiple books per directory, assumes every ebook file is a different book): If your books are in multiple directories but every book is different this is the one you want. This command assumes that every directory in the directory structure you point it at has books in it and those books are all different. It’s worth it to do a little manual sorting and use the prior one-book-per-directory command as this one can sometimes make a mess you’ll need to spend a few minutes tidying up.
For a more detailed look at the add command, refer to the Calibre manual here.
We downloaded our free ebooks into the /temp/ directory with no special folder organization. It’s simply one directory with a bunch of ebooks in it. In this instance we can use the first option, Add books from a single directory:
Depending on how many books you’re adding this process can take anywhere from a few seconds to a half hour or more as Calibre extracts information from the incoming books. If you’re planning on adding a large library we’d recommend starting with a small chunk, maybe 5-10 books to practice with, and then move up to importing larger portions.
After Calibre finishes adding your books you should see them listed in the main pane. Our five books, downloaded from Project Gutenberg, look good—the author and title are all properly placed. Unfortunately Project Gutenberg doesn’t supply covers with their books, they all have a generic look ebook reader icon in place of cover data. In the next step we’ll tidy things up.
Editing Metadata in Calibre
Let’s take a look at how we can tidy up the entries and get some new covers. There are two ways you can go about getting additional meta data and covers, you can individually edit items or you can bulk scan them. If your library look pretty clean (as our does) you can likely get away with bulk scanning. If you’ve got a bunch of jumbled titles and authors, however, you’ll want to go with the manual one-by-one updating to make sure you can spot check each entry.
First let’s look at what a manual edit looks like. Right click on any book in your library you want to manually edit. We’ll start right at the top with Ulysses. Select Edit metadata and then Edit metadata individually. Note: you can highlight more than one book and still select Edit metadata individually and you’ll be presented with the metadata panel for each book one by one.
In the Edit Metadata menu you’ll see all the data Calibre has for the selected book including title, author, series/number (if applicable), which formats the library contains, and the cover. We’re going to leave the author and title alone as they are already properly sorted. The cover is rather lackluster though. Let’s click download cover and see what the databases turn up.
The Project Gutenberg edition has no official cover so we can pick from two covers discovered through Google and Amazon.com. If neither is satisfactory we can hit cancel and go manually find an image online and then drag and drop the file into the Edit Metadata pane onto the Cover spot to manually add it. The Amazon.com provided cover looks good to us, we’ll take that one.
Back in the Edit Metadata window we have a fresh cover and a decent amount of metadata. There’s no rating and it might be nice to update the tags. Press the download metadata button to do so. Calibre will poll Google and Amazon again and present multiple versions of the book. You can check the rating, reviews, and tags for each source and select from them based on your preference (if the book is of the generic variety like a Project Gutenberg release) or for the exact Publisher/Edition if applicable.
If everything looks OK when you’re done with your selection go ahead and click OK to return to the main book list. Now lets take a look at bulk downloading of metadata and covers. Go ahead and select as many of your books as you wish to bulk edit. Right click on an entry, as you did above, only this time select download metadata and covers or hit CTRL+D to start the process. Calibre will prompt you to ensure you want to bulk edit. Here you can opt to download just the metadata, just the covers, or both. In the beginning you can go wild and download everything. As time progresses and you’ve invested time in picking your favorite covers out and such you may opt to only update one category of metadata.
In the lower left hand of the Calibre window you should see a little rotating icon and a “Jobs: 1” notation. Anytime Calibre is working on anything (downloading metadata, converting books, etc.) the lower right portion of the window will show you. You can click on the Jobs:1 text in order to see what is in the job queue.
When Calibre is done updating the metadata a Download Complete dialog box will pop up and ask you if you want to apply the updated metadata to your library. Your options are yes, no, and view log. If you’re feeling particularly cautious you can check out the log but, be forewarned, it’s quite lengthy. If you like what you see, click Yes.
Calibre will apply the metadata. When it is complete, click on any of your previously un-updated books to check out the new covers and metadata.
Start slowly to get a feel for editing metadata in Calibre. Once you’ve got the hang of it you can start pouring in your entire ebook collection. Although most of the menus are straight forward, you can read a detailed list of functions and some tips and tricks in the Calibre manual here.
Now that we’ve tidied things up, take a moment to browse through your fledgling collection. You can stick with the main pane interface and simply scroll up or you can click the small arrow in the lower right corner (or press SHIFT+ALT+B) to enter the cover flow mode to enjoy a swankier iTunes style look at your collection.
Adding Books to Your Device and Converting Ebooks in Calibre
Ideally, you have books already in the format you need them in. Books natively in the file format you need have the most reliable text formatting. That said, Calibre is a whiz at converting between formats. First let’s look at simply adding a book.
Calibre auto-detects dozens of ebook readers. Simply plug in your ebook read and wait. Within a moment or two an extra column, On Device, as seen in the screenshot above, will appear. If your device does not appear, check out this trouble shooting guide here.
If the ebook is already in a format supported by your device (such as MOBI for the Kindle) you can simply right click on the book entry, select Send to Device and Main Memory and Calibre will choose the most appropriate format and shuttle it over.
If your book is not in a compatible format, such as the book we selected The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, you have two options. You can take the simple route and follow the steps we outlined in the last paragraph—Calibre will ask you if you want to automatically convert the book to the right format for the device—or you can manually configure the conversion process. Most of the time Calibre does a fine job with the automatic conversions between document formats. If you have a moment to check the results on your ebook reader before heading out the door, it’s a pretty safe gamble to let Calibre convert on its own with no supervision.
Alternatively you can right click on a book entry and select Convert Books and then Convert Individually. We recommend you only go with this option of the automatic conversion process has failed you in some way. Mucking about in the settings in the manual conversion menu when you’re unfamiliar with them is a sure way to end up with less than pleasing results. One of the first steps you can take, before diving into editing every sub-menu in the conversion tool, is to try out Heuristic Processing. You can turn it on by selecting it in the sidebar of the conversion tool and checking Enable Heuristic Processing. It’s like, for lack of a better simple analogy, error checking for books. It will scan your book for common conversion problems and attempt to correct them. If the heuristic process doesn’t fix your issues, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and go through each sub-menu and tweak the specific issues with your conversion. Make sure to check out this conversion guide to ensure you’re clear on the function of each tool.
Once your book is converted and transferred to your device, it should look like so on the main screen:
Simply rinse and repeat for all your books and you’ll have a well organized library and a well stocked ebook reader.
Prior to this introductory guide, we’ve shared multiple guides to taking advantage of Calibre’s cool features and other ebook-related tips and tricks. To increase your Calibre-fu and ebook reader enjoyment check out the following guides:
- Calibre User Manual
- Convert a PDF eBook to ePub Format for Your iPad, iPhone, or eReader
- Convert Word Documents to ePub Format for Your eReader or iBooks
- Edit ePub eBooks with Your Favorite HTML Editor
- How to Convert PDF Files for Easy Ebook Reading
- Access Your Ebook Collection Anywhere in the World
- How to Find Thousands of Free Ebooks Online
- Optimize Your Manga and Comic Collection for the Kindle
- Jailbreak Your Kindle for Dead Simple Screensaver Customization
- How to Read PDF Files on Your Amazon Kindle (Version 3)
- Get More From Your Kindle: Tips, Tricks, Hacks, and Free Books
Have a tip to share? Experience converting books? Let’s hear about it in the comments.
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- › What Is a MOBI File (and How Do I Open One)?
- › How to Easily Merge and Split Ebooks
- › How to Read Comic Books and Manga on Your Kindle
- › How to Get Free Magazines on Your Kindle with Calibre
- › How to Strip the DRM from Your Kindle Ebooks for Cross-Device Enjoyment and Archiving
- › 6 Ways to Save Time With Automator on Mac
Can Calibre manage Kindle collections? ›
By installing Calibre plugin, we can manage kindle books via Calibre. There are two plugin versions for Calibre. Just go forward to "Preference"-->"Plugins"-->"Get new plugins". Locate "Kindle Collections" plugins and click "Install" button.How do I create a collection in Calibre? ›
From there, you simply go through your Calibre library and select which collection you want the book to appear. Once you are done, go back to the icon and select “Customize collections to create from Calibre”. Look for your customized column (mine is named Kindle), and make sure the drop down box is “create”.How do you sort a book collection? ›
While Klugh recommends grouping books by color for aesthetic purposes, those with a lot of tomes may want to stack them by genre or alphabetically so you can access them more efficiently. For a more streamlined look, arrange books by height, with the tallest on both sides of the shelves.How do I declutter my book collection? ›
- 1) Start early in the morning. ...
- 2) Break it up over time. ...
- 3) Stay hydrated and take breaks. ...
- 4) Clear a large area on the floor: ...
- 5) Attack your book collection by category groups. ...
- 6) Put your books into one of three piles.
On the home screen, tap the Library tab at the bottom to see a list of your books. To make them easier to parse through, tap the three-line Sort button at the top-right, then choose List or Grid depending on your preference. You can also view your books by Collections (if you've set any up).How do I organize my Kindle books in folders? ›
- Close down any open books so that you are on the HOME page.
- Now click the LIBRARY tab (again at the bottom).
- Click the SORT ICON and select COLLECTIONS.
- Click the PLUS + tab at the top right to add a folder collection – name it.
All in all, Calibre is a safe eBook library management tool and format converter. As long as you use common sense precautions and download the app from the official website, you shouldn't have any problems.Can Calibre read Amazon books? ›
Calibre can be used to convert kindle books to PDF by installing a plugin called DeDRM_tools. You'll need the serial number of your Kindle device. As far as I know this only works with books you've purchased and if you own a Kindle.Does Calibre remove Kindle DRM? ›
Calibre supports converting Kindle books to other formats and is capable of Kindle DRM removal with the use of the DeDRM extension. You need either a Kindle device or an old version of Kindle for Windows or Mac to be able to remove DRM from Kindle files.How do I create a smart collection? ›
- Choose Library > New Smart Collection.
- Click the Plus icon (+) in the Collections panel and choose Create Smart Collection.
How can I create my collection? ›
- Select one or more files by clicking in the white circle on the thumbnail.
- Click on the Heart-symbol in the toolbar.
- The Add to My Collections dialogue is displayed. ...
- Create a new collection for the selected files by typing in a name and clicking on Create.
- On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google app. .
- Search for the item that you want to save.
- Tap the item.
- At the top, tap Save. .
- Delicious Library 3.
- Library Thing.
- Book Catalogue.
- Book Crawler.
One of the most common ways to organize an extensive book collection is alphabetically by author's last name. This makes it easy to find exactly what you want to read, quickly.
- Will I reread this book? ...
- Have I ever read this book? ...
- Do I own duplicate editions of this title? ...
- Am I only holding onto this book for sentimental reasons? ...
- Do I need to hand this book back to the person I borrowed it off?
Share the books with your local community.
Homeless shelters, schools, hospitals, and thrift stores often accept book donations. Just give them a call to find out what they need.
- Toss the Trash. In every area you organize, start by tossing the obvious trash. ...
- Move Non-Kitchen Items Out of the Kitchen. ...
- Tidy Reading Material in the Living Room. ...
- Organize the Bathroom One Drawer at a Time. ...
- Let Go of Unused Items in Your Home Office.
Every book in your library will be displayed in a list. Click the three-dot button next to a book and select Add to collections from the pop-up menu. Another window pops up, from which you can choose an existing collection or create a new one. Once you've done so, click the Add to collection button to add your book.How do I manage my Kindle content Library? ›
Manage Kindle Content. Sign into Amazon's Manage Your Content and Devices(Opens in a new window) page and click the Content heading at the top. You'll see different categories, including books, audiobooks, apps, and video. For ebooks, click the icon for Books.Is Kindle being phased out? ›
The all-important cut-off date has been set at August 17, 2022. From that date onwards, first-generation Kindle owners will be required to buy books for their Kindle from a different device, such as a tablet or smartphone. The only way to purchase books directly through the Kindle Store is to upgrade the Kindle itself.
How do you sort books in a Library? ›
Libraries use classification systems to organize the books on the shelves. A classification system uses letters and/or numbers (call numbers) to arrange the books so that books on the same topic are together.How do I sort my reading list? ›
- The options for organizing your reading list range from simple to amazingly complex. If you want analog solutions, use a notebook, a planner or a bullet journal. ...
- Use a notebook. ...
- Use a planner. ...
- Use a bullet journal. ...
- Use your library holds list. ...
- Use your phone. ...
- Use a computer spreadsheet. ...
- Use Pinterest.
Find the Want to Read button next to the book you'd like to shelve. On the right side of the button, tap on the shelf icon. When the shelf list drops down, tap on a shelf name to add the book to that shelf. The Want to Read portion of the button should now reflect the new shelving.Is there an alternative to Calibre? ›
The best alternative is MuPDF, which is both free and Open Source. Other great apps like calibre are Polar, Moon+ Reader, Librera Reader and ReadEra. calibre alternatives are mainly Ebook Readers but may also be Ebook Libraries or PDF Readers.Which is the best ebook reader software? ›
- Adobe Digital Editions. ...
- Calibre. ...
- Freda. ...
- Kobo eBooks. ...
- NOOK. ...
- Sumatra PDF Reader. ...
- Cover. Cover is one of the ePUB readers for Windows tailored specifically for manga and comics lovers. ...
- Bibliovore. Bibliovore is a free of cost ePUB reader that you can find easily on the Windows app store.
The DRM removal is the simplest part of the whole process. Just drag and drop your ebooks from your eReader (or local drive) into Calibre's main window—the software will automatically delete the DRM.Can Calibre send books to Kindle? ›
Calibre is a software that allows you to convert dozens of file types and easily transfer ebooks from your files to your Kindle device, regardless of where you got those ebooks.Can I use Calibre with Kindle Paperwhite? ›
That's right, if you own the Kindle Paperwhite 2021, you can now use Calibre to manage ebooks in the device.Should I put DRM on my ebook? ›
For both authors and readers, DRM is not a good idea. There is no benefit for either. It does not stop ebook pirating and copying, so it offers no protection for author rights. It does not protect a reader's purchase.Is it legal to convert Kindle to PDF? ›
Luckily, you can convert these files into PDF format, so they're readable in other locations. Whether you should convert your AZW files to PDF is open to debate. Yes, if you plan on using the file for yourself. However, due to copyright, don't plan to share these PDFs with others since it's not legal.
Where does Calibre save converted books? ›
If you've ever added any ebooks to Calibre, it will generate a folder named “Calibre Library” automatically. All your added ebooks, converted ebooks will be stored in Calibre default library location.What is the difference between a collection and a smart collection? ›
The main difference is that Collections group pictures together based on any number of criteria. Meanwhile, Smart Collections follow user-defined attributes. Creating Smart Collections depend on how you filter your images.What is a smart collection? ›
Smart Collections are collections of photos created in Lightroom based on specific user-defined attributes. For instance, you may want to collect all your very best photos or every image of a particular person or location.How do you make a collection Vortex? ›
To create a collection you will need to build a working mod setup in Vortex, then use the new Collections section to compile all the relevant information for sharing.How many designs do you need in a collection? ›
Overall, it's best to have at least ten or so. When starting your first collection, keep it in that area, and you can reap the benefits from market research in no time. Again, a lot depends on other factors like your target market, clothing manufacturers and their MOQs, and where you're selling your product.How do I make a collection album? ›
If you haven't created any albums, you'll need to create an album to get started.
- Hover over You | click Organize.
- Click the Albums & Collections tab.
- From the top-left corner, click Create a new collection.
- Enter a title and description | click Create.
Don't give a collector any personal financial information, make a "good faith" payment, make promises to pay, or admit the debt is valid. You don't want to make it easier for the collector to get access to your money, or do anything that might revive the statute of limitations.How do I edit my collections? ›
Edit a collection
Tap a collection. Edit collection. Make your changes, then at the top right, tap Save.
- Choose a topic that matches your audience's needs. ...
- Outline each chapter of your ebook. ...
- Break down each chapter as you write. ...
- Design your ebook. ...
- Use the right colors. ...
- Incorporate visuals. ...
- Highlight quotes or stats. ...
- Place appropriate calls to action within your ebook.
On the home screen, tap the Library tab at the bottom to see a list of your books. To make them easier to parse through, tap the three-line Sort button at the top-right, then choose List or Grid depending on your preference. You can also view your books by Collections (if you've set any up).
Should an ebook have a table of contents? ›
A table of contents (TOC) is important for a good eBook reading experience. A working TOC allows readers to navigate between chapters easily. By following the instructions on this page, you'll create two types of TOCs for your eBook: TOC page.How many pages should a good eBook have? ›
So, how long should your eBook be? According to our research, the average length of a best-selling eBook can be anywhere between 20-50 pages (and, sometimes, even 100). But, depending on several factors, it can also be less than 20.How much does the average eBook make? ›
How much does an Ebook Writer make? As of Jan 9, 2023, the average annual pay for an Ebook Writer in the United States is $72,756 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $34.98 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,399/week or $6,063/month.How do I make an eBook library? ›
- Create a new library. With a single click, create a new library at a subdomain of your choice.
- Set configuration settings. ...
- Add admins and authors. ...
- Customize the design. ...
- Add book categories/genres. ...
- Add books. ...
- Add users. ...
- Export library apps.
Manage Multiple Books
At the top of the screen, you can select all books, deselect them all, deliver them to a device, delete them, mark them as read or unread, add them to your library, remove them from your library, or add them to a collection. Further, you can search for specific books.
You can create Kindle collections from the Amazon website. This may be the most efficient way to create a collection because you can sort your entire Kindle library into collections from the site. Go to Manage Your Content and Devices and click Show: Collections from the drop-down menu.What is the fastest way to shelve library books? ›
Before you shelve, presort books on the cart. This is the key to a quick cycle of checking books in and returning them back to their shelf home. By presorting your books on the cart, you can easily grab a handful of books to shelve them in between classes.Is 2.99 too much for an eBook? ›
Therefore, the best price for an ebook is between $2.99 and $9.99—in that range, you're eligible for the highest royalty percentage of 70%. When selling your book on your own website, the “rules” are a bit different, as you're making 100% no matter the price point.Where should table of contents go in eBook? ›
Some authors find that the Table of Contents takes up too much space in the sample feature on Amazon. In that case, it is recommended to move the Table of Contents to the end of the eBook.What should be on the first page of an eBook? ›
WHAT TO INCLUDE Include a title for the page, 1-2 paragraphs introducing yourself (very briefly, you'll have more room to share more at the end of the ebook), and what you're about to teach them with this fabulous ebook. These pages also need a running head, footer, and a page number.