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eBook Library App Calibre Turns Ten Today

calibre_logo_2Ten years ago today a physics grad student at CalTech announced on MobileRead that he had reverse-engineered the USB driver protocols for the Sony Reader PRS-500 so that he could use the then-new ebook reader on Linux.

That student was Kovid Goyal. He called his bundle of code libprs500, and released it under the GPL so that others could benefit. (The original Sony Reader required proprietary USB software which didn’t run on macOS or Linux). From those humble beginnings grew calibre, a comprehensive ebook library app which is today running on over 3 million computers.

When I first used the app in 2007 to convert ebooks, libprs500 already supported conversion from multiple formats and already had the basics of the ebook management tools it has today. It soon added support for more devices and ebook formats, and as the focus expanded beyond Sony’s first ereader Kovid rebranded libprs500 as calibre in mid-2008.

Now it is the single most commonly used ebook library app (perhaps the second after Kindle for PC).

I have run calibre on one computer or another since 2009, and am currently using it to manage a library of some 1,910 ebooks in multiple formats.

How about you? Do you use calibre?


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Felix October 31, 2016 um 3:25 pm

I use Calibre to convert books. At first so I could read them on my old Palm, but now also to get my own homebrew e-books into multiple formats for sale. So yeah, it’s very much an essential tool, and we’re incredibly lucky to have it.

Leonieke October 31, 2016 um 4:51 pm

Calibre is my ebook library: home to carefully edited metadata 🙂
I also use it to load books to my kindle via mail to my amazon account : very useful. I don’t know how I’d handle all my ebooks without calibre, to be frank.

Reader October 31, 2016 um 7:43 pm

I use Calibre as my library. I use it to transfer books to ereaders. I especially like Calibre’s Catalog feature.

Here is a workaround I use for Calibre. While I like the 9.7″ screen size of the Kindle DX, I don’t like the DX having only one MOBI font. I prefer a bold font. I can read a PDF document with a bold font on the DX. I don’t like the way Calibre transforms EPUB or MOBI docs into PDF docs. Solution: Use Calibre to transform EPUB or MOBI into DOCX. Then within MS DOCX, save the doc as a PDF with the appropriate font type and font size. I am reluctant to use some app to read EPUB or PDFs or the like on the DX, for fear I will brick the DX, so I find the above a workable solution for me.

Barry Marks October 31, 2016 um 8:53 pm

I just use Calibre for conversions. I’ve never felt a need for a library for my books. I just keep them in folders.

For conversions it’s superb. It’s rarely failed me and never in any important way.


Nate Hoffelder November 1, 2016 um 11:04 am

The thing about calibre is that it is just too easy to use it to manage my ebook library. I just toss books in, and don’t do anything beyond making sure the metadata and formats are correct.

Not using calibre would actually be more work.

James November 1, 2016 um 1:14 am

I use Calibre and have donated to it.

Koen November 8, 2016 um 6:14 pm

🙂 calibre is so useful I have donated multiple times. Usually whan I realise what a great tool it is.

Bob Tudley November 3, 2016 um 10:37 am

I use Calibre regularly. I’m a Kobo owner, so I manage anything I get from other sellers through Calibre. I appreciate the third-party DRM removal plugins because it means I can get the DRM-infested Kindle books I’ve bought onto my Kobo. And I’ve donated.

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