If you have a collection of ebooks, you need Calibre. Calibre is an open source library management tool designed specifically for ebooks. Not only can you use it to organize your library and keep track of your collection, but it can sync books with your reader devices and includes its own viewer to read books on your desktop. Calibre has an amazing conversion engine that can convert your ebooks to different formats. Do you have an ePub book you’d like to read on your Kindle reader? Calibre can make that happen. And, if you set up Calibre’s content server you will have access to your library from anywhere you can connect to the Internet.
Calibre is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and there’s even a portable version for Windows users that can be installed on a thumb drive so you can carry your library with you. There is no cost to use Calibre, but a donation to the developer will help insure it’s continued improvements.
Installation is easy and the first time you open Calibre, you will be walked through the welcome wizard to help you set up where you want your library to reside and identify the ereader devices you are using. Once that’s done, you’re ready to start adding books.
The Add Books button can be used to add one book or an entire directory of them. Calibre will look at the book’s metadata (title, author, publisher, etc.) and build the library record using that information. You can add additional details like ratings, tags and comments if you wish. For PDF articles and other items that don’t have metadata included internally, you can manually edit the index record. In the Calibre desktop view shown above, I’m only displaying the title and author. This display is totally customizable allowing you to select the columns you wish to display. The items in the left sidebar expand to allow you to quickly select books matching a specific criteria. I could expand the Authors item and select Agatha Christie to display just her books or, if I’ve used the calibre’s tags to identify publications related to my research, I could expand the Tags item and select just the books associated with a particular family or event.
If you are thinking that there aren’t that many books containing information about your family, consider that in Calibre’s view even a PDF document is considered an ebook. So, that 5-page family history a research cousin sent you can be indexed and managed in calibre as well as those genealogies and society journals you’ve been scanning. And, if that’s not enough, Calibre has an impressive facility to search both commercial and public domain sources to find books that match your criteria. So, if you’re looking for a regimental, county or city history, calibre can help you find it.
This is just a taste of the things Calibre can do for you. We haven’t even touched the device management, format conversions or news service features – yet. There’s a lot more Calibre goodness to come so stay tuned.