Calibre just keeps getting better.
‘Welcome to Calibre, the one stop solution to all your e-book needs’ is the first thing you read when you starts the Calibre E-book Management Welcome Wizard. Now that is a mission statement that the latest iteration of Calibre (0.8.8) has managed to achieve impressively.
The Welcome Wizard takes you through setting up your e-book reader and just about caters for every e-book reader currently on the market. The Kobo, Barnes & Nobles’ Nook, Apple and Android devices, my favourite; Amazon Kindle are all listed and to complete the party Sony, PocketBook and your ‘Generic’ ebook reader are all catered for.
The selection of one’s e-reader at the welcome wizard ensures that a default e-book format device is set up for future e-book conversions. For Kindle users, one can enter Kindle email for delivery of (converted/ downloaded) e-books by whispernet / wi-fi to the Kindle.
Calibre e-book viewer/library/browser/format converter are all names you can call the software and rightfully so. I first discovered Calibre when I needed to convert some Microsoft Reader (.LIT) e-books to .EPUB and I was impressed then and for avid readers with multiple e-readers you definitely need this piece of software. It can convert from all popular e-book formats to about 25 formats and has an editor that allows for tweaking font, font size, spacing before converting. The practical benefits are obvious here; one can purchase an e-book for cheap from a rival publisher/seller and convert and read on one’s preferred e-reader or e-readers.
The library is at the heart of the software and lot of care has been taken to make it look good and functional. From the iTunes-esque display of e-books in the library to the side bar, you can tell that the developers have taken pains to make using the software a pleasant experience; intuitive and aesthetic.
E-books can be searched by Author, Series, Format, Publisher, Ratings and Tags. I’ve been using the Author and Format more to narrow down my searches and for e-book transfers to my Kindle.
One thing users have to be aware of is that by default, all e-books are copied into a Calibre folder, without deleting the original e-books. Just another 2 or 3 GB of space to plan for shouldn’t be a problem with a 500GB HDD laptop.
The new e-book viewer that comes with Calibre is adding more arsenal to e-book management software. The e-book viewer is a stand-alone that works with the Calibre library or can use explorer to navigate to any location on your pc to open an e-book.
The interface is simple, with all icons to the left of the reading pane. The page turners are centered and the other icons are quite intuitive. There is no learning curve here.
The interesting addition is the Reference Mode which displays an index/reference number for every paragraph. Now that is something you don’t get with the Kindle for PC but is it enough to satisfy e-reader owners? What use is referencing if you can’t synchronize it between your pc and e-reader and vice-versa?
The dictionary function works only with dict.org and internet access which is restrictive in many ways. I think Calibre should come with a standard dictionary as default and a selectable number of online dictionaries.
I am still wondering why there is a Print function. Is it redundant for an e-book viewer to have a print option? Let’s agree for sustainability sake and to reduce our carbon footprint, not to print any e-books on papers.
Calibre can fetch news (in full with pictures) and can be read in the e-book viewer or transferred to one’s e-reader in any format.
This allows for connection to content servers online, iTunes and management of e-mails to one’s Kindle account.
GETTING E-BOOKS / ONLINE STORES
One can access an array of online stores by using the ‘Get books’ icon. Some websites are rendered in Calibre and displayed in a pop-up screen and others like Amazon Kindle open in a browser. All categories are deployed; free e-book websites, popular premium websites and independent e-book publishers as well. Affiliate programs that make contribution to Calibre developers have Red Hearts next to them.
If you want to make any donations to the project, just hit the Red Heart icon. To show the Calibre developers love, donate some money. Money = Red Heart.
Is Calibre going to remain an Open Source e-book management software project or will soon release an ubiquitous e-book reader capable of reading all formats?
For now, I am a satisfied customer and looking forward to see how much further Calibre can raise the bar in e-book management.