No other e-book management tool gets even close to what Calibre can offer you. Far from being a simple library manager to catalog your e-books, this comprehensive open-source tool includes utilities to read, edit, convert, import, export, and even search for electronic books on the Web. It will sync your favorite e-readers with your library and will let you schedule news downloads from your preferred news sources, among a plethora of other features and functions.
Novice users may feel a bit overwhelmed by the amount of functions and features that they’ll find the first time they open Calibre and start browsing their main menu options. Despite this first impression of an overloaded interface, the program’s learning curve couldn’t be smoother. All the main functions are conveniently placed in the ribbon on the top side of the window, allowing you direct access to the e-book import, editing, conversion, reading, and syncing options, among others. It is true that each of these open an even more comprehensive window with an even wider range of possibilities, but there is no reason why you can’t keep it as simple as you wish. Every time you import a book into your library, the program will collect as many metadata as possible from the book itself and will give you various options to complete the missing fields using already-existing online databases, thus allowing you to start enjoying your books right away.
A recurring complaint from a number of Calibre users refers to the program’s requirement to create its own library in order to manage and organize your e-books. The direct consequence of this is a growing number of duplicate files on your PC unless you are careful enough to delete every original file once the program has added them to your Calibre library. However, this small inconvenience, if well managed, provides a much cleaner and better-organized e-book library, a feature that is useful not only for the app but for users alike.
E-book conversion is one of the program’s most useful and interesting assets. With Calibre, you won’t need a third-party tool to transform your e-books into formats that your various e-readers and e-book viewers can use. Though it can be used as a separate function, e-book conversion is also part of the “Send to device” option, which will perform whatever conversion process is required on the fly. File conversion is always a tricky thing, but it gets even trickier when it involves converting between document formats. Conversion to PDF normally produces excellent results, though you will be losing one of the main advantages of text-based document formats – reflowable text. Converting from PDF is normally a pain in the neck that very seldom produces acceptable results, and Calibre conversion engine is not an exception. I usually need to convert my EPUB e-books into MOBI and vice versa, and the results are in most cases more than satisfactory. Calibre supports nearly all known e-book formats and its long list of e-reader-based output profiles will help you convert your entire collection into the right format in just one click. Again, though you’ll be presented with an extensive choice of conversion settings, with Calibre you can always do things as simple or as complicated as you want.
Among the many other tools and features available, I think that the program’s e-book editor for EPUB and Kindle files is also worth mentioning. It will allow you to create, edit, and validate EPUB and MOBI books in a more-or-less intuitive way. As with everything in life, editing e-books require some practice and certain skills, but you will find that Calibre’s editor is more WYSIWYG-oriented than many e-book creation tools out there.
There is much more to Calibre than this, but that’s for you to discover. This completely free open-source tool is constantly updated by Kovid Goyal and his devoted team, thus guaranteeing that your e-book collection is permanently in sync with the latest standard developments, both on the e-book side and the e-reader side.