Despite its many detractors, e-books are here to stay. Nearly all published books are now available in electronic format, and many others can only be read in their paperless form. To keep your growing e-book collection nicely organized, you need a tool like Calibre, an open-source and comprehensive e-book manager packed with a wealth of amazing tools.
Having been a faithful Calibre user and fan for many years now, it is always a joy to review a new version. This one is mainly devoted to improve its e-book viewer, a tool you can use to read your e-books on your PC or tablet and to check its structure or its look and feel after editing it. Yes, because Calibre is not only an amazing e-book management tool, but also an e-book editing tool, an e-book conversion tool, an e-book cataloging tool, etc.
Primarily, Calibre allows you organize your e-book collection, to keep it neatly cataloged, and to add to your books a new cover, a wealth of basic and custom metadata, and whatever information you may need to identify and locate your e-books. As an example, I created a custom yes/no “Read” metadata item to know at a glance which titles I’ve already read and which I haven’t opened yet. It allows you to create your own series for your books, so that you can easily locate and select all your Pulitzer prizes or your “Game of Thrones” titles. When it comes to sorting your e-books by author’s name and/or title, Calibre offers you an automatic sorting feature that will try to sort in alphabetical order your titles and author names. However, it still finds it hard to apply the correct rules to non-English surnames (i.e., names with more than one surname) and titles (initial articles and other non-sortable elements). You’re allowed to modify the proposed result at any time, but if Calibre thinks that you’ve applied the “wrong” sorting rule, it will simply paint the square in red and ignore your preferences.
What makes Calibre stand out from all of its competitors is its versatility and its many extra utilities. It connects to nearly any model of e-book device in the market, allowing you to export the books you wish to read to your portable e-reader with just one click. It will let you know at a glance which titles on your library are already on your device, and manage both libraries using just one tool. If you’re exporting a title in a format that your device can’t manage (say, an EPUB title to a Kindle), it will be automatically converted on the fly to the format required (MOBI, in this case). You can also use this utility at any time just to convert titles between all the most common e-book formats – Calibre will keep one single record with links to all its available formats. You can also edit your EPUB books here in its amazing e-book editor. Its WYSIWYG design allows any user to modify their e-books at will without the need of any specific skills.
Another excellent feature worth mentioning is the Get Books option. It will search for the e-books you’re looking for in the most common online bookshops and libraries, allowing you to download or purchase them directly from your personal e-book library. There are many other things you can do from Calibre, such as sharing your books or add plug-ins to it, but I’ll leave those for you to explore. If you are a serious e-book reader and collector, Calibre is all you’ll ever need to manage your personal library.
- Includes a full-fledged EPUB editor
- Downloads metadata from the Web to complete your records
- Offers a comprehensive e-book viewer
- Supports user-created metadata
- Includes a powerful one-click e-book converter
- Title and author sort options produce mixed results with non-English metadata