5 Cool Tricks for Calibre

Calibre is well known for being the best free app for managing your ebook and ereader collection, but this app can do a lot more than just move and covert ebooks.

I have been using calibre since long before it was even called calibre (since June 2007, in fact), and I know that I have just scratched the surface for all it can do. Here are 5 of the ways that I am using calibre right now.

Content Server

If you have to support a lot of ereaders or tablets, you’ve probably gotten used to having to plug them all in via USB so you can transfer ebooks and other content. By the time you get your 7th or 8th device this can get a little frustrating, and that’s why I’m glad calibre offers a better option.

It’s called Content Server, and it basically lets calibre act as a file server for any device that can access a local network (wired or wireless) via a web browser – including Kindle, Nook, and some other ereaders. It won’t let you edit metadata, upload files, or do anything beyond downloading files, but even that is useful.

You can find this feature by clicking on the Preferences button and selecting “Sharing ebooks over the Net”. Setup is automatic, but accessing it once it is up and running takes a little work. You will have to learn how to find the local IP address for the computer that calibre is running on. That varies between Linux, OSX, and Windows, but you should be able to find the info via Google.

Metadata

Metadata is the pivot on which your ebook library turns. Without the proper info on the title, publisher, genre and other important details it is difficult to properly organize your library.

And that’s why it is a very good thing that calibre can download metadata from a dozen or more different sources in a bunch of different languages including Dutch, Portuguese, German, Hungarian, Chinese, and more. You can also download metatdata from most of the major ebookstores as well as OverDrive.

This option needs to be enabled by installing plugins. Right click on the Preferences button and select “Get plugins to enhance calibre”. You can search the list of available plugins by store, language, or some other important detail.

Merge & Split Epub eBooks

Have you ever bought an omnibus ebook and then regretted the file size? Or have you ever wished you could combine one of your favorite author’s many individually published short stories in a single anthology? There are a couple plugins which can help.

EpubSplit and EpubMerge are a couple plugins for calibre which do pretty much what they say. Once installed, you can select one or more titles listed in the main menu of calibre, right click, and then select either EpubSplit or EpubMerge as an option. A new menu will pop up which will let you combine or divide the files in question.

This option needs to be enabled by installing plugins. Right click on the Preferences button and select “Get plugins to enhance calibre”.

Remove DRM

This is a topic that I’ve covered in some detail in other posts, so I won’t repeat it here. But I do like being able to transfer my Kindle, Nook, and other ebooks to which ever device or app I’m using now without having to bother with registration or downloading the content again.

You can find my posts on how to install DRM removal plugins for Kindle and Nook ebooks elsewhere on the blog.

What’s Next?

The above 5 tricks are some of my preferred ways to use calibre, and I bet I’ve only scratched the surface. How do you use this app? What’s your clever trick? I’d like to hear about it, and I’m my readers would as well.

8 thoughts on “5 Cool Tricks for Calibre

  1. Not a clever trick per se, but it might be worth pointing out to newcomers to Calibre that it isn’t just for ebook management.
    The Calibre recipes let you automatically “scrape” specific news and magazine websites and compile the data into ebook formats.
    Building a recipe by yourself is an art but fortunately Calibre comes with a whole bunch of really useful ones.

  2. I’m using it for adding diacritics in some epub books that do not have embedded fonts so the ebook reader can display correctly all letters.

    I also use the content server and the feature that fjtorres is telling us

  3. Thanks for the tips. I’m still learning the ropes with Calibre, but one feature I like is the fetching feeds from the internet. Calibre was also very valuable in helping me produce my second ebook. A collection of Christmas music especially formatted for small devices.

  4. Great stuff Calibre. However not without its glitches :P. It does a great job in getting metadata unfortunately incompletely. No place of publishing and no way to add that field? This means it saves me 90% of work in Zotero when it could easily done it 100%. Silly isn’t it?

  5. Something cool you can do with Calibre is adding soft hyphenation to .epub and .azw3 ebooks. You can do it with a plugin called Hyphenate This!, which uses LibreOffice dictionary extensions for hyphenations patterns of each language. I’ve tried it in English and Spanish ebooks and it works great. The reading experience is very much improved. Check it out!

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