calibre

calibre

Free
Organize your e-book library, convert e-books to various formats, and more
4.3  (157 votes)
5.2
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Following its tradition of introducing new features and bug fixes every few days, Calibre keeps widening the gap between the most comprehensive e-book management tool and all of its competitors. Some insist on thinking of it as an e-book creation tool, while others refer to it as an e-library manager on steroids, or an e-book reader, while Calibre is, in fact, all of those and none in particular, as it is also a comprehensive e-book converter, editor, and finder.

Apart from the obvious advantages of being an open-source development, Calibre is also the only tool you will ever need to create, manage, maintain, and enhance your e-book collection. Some of its features are better than others, and some of them seem to advance at a quicker pace than others, but, warts and all, this is the best e-book management utility available hands down. There is just one thing that even its most devoted users still find somehow annoying – the program’s requirement to build its own library structure, which, in effect, duplicates all your existing e-book files. I can understand the logic behind this requirement and its many obvious advantages, such as guaranteeing that all books in the collection point to existing files and not empty links, but I can also see the disadvantages that users with collections in the thousands or tens of thousands of e-books have to face in terms of disk space management.

Calibre has recently gone through a new major release. Though four new versions have come out after that one only during the last month, the biggest changes came with 3.0, namely, a completely rewritten Content server, support for retina HR screens, icon themes, and e-book conversion to DOCX. The new Content server will let you connect to your Calibre library from any device with Web-browsing capabilities, manage your e-book list, read your books offline, etc. Though the functionality it offers is still far from matching that of the PC-based version, things seem to be clearly going in the right direction.

A plethora of other minor features and bug fixes have been implemented since 3.0 went live, though they’re not as visible. The news download scheduler has been enhanced with more publications, most of them in English, though. The e-book converter is just as comprehensive and quick as always, allowing you to move your e-books between devices in a snap. The e-book editor looks as cryptic as usual, though it is, in fact, a very easy-to-use tool, with real-time preview of whatever changes you make in the text or the code. The e-book reader allows us now to add bookmarks to our books – while still remembering where we left off even if we opened and read our book on various devices – together with the usual wide range of navigation features and reading enhancers. The metadata editor, its straightforward import/export options, the e-book search service (with support for the most popular booksellers on the Web), and its e-book creation capabilities round up an excellent free e-book management tool that, as of today, has no rival.

Francisco Martínez
Editor rating:

Review summary

Pros

  • E-book reader.
  • Converts e-books to all popular formats.
  • E-book WYSIWYG editor.
  • Comprehensive metadata editor.
  • Searches for e-books on the Web.
  • News download.

Cons

  • Duplicates your e-books in its own library.
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