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eBook Converter Full Guide with Calibre

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What is Calibre

#1 - eBook Converter.
It can convert the eBooks in almost all the popular formats. Like ePub for iPad, Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, etc; mobi, azw for Kindle; or other formats like PDF, DOC, PDB, and so on.
(Learn how to convert eBooks by Calibre here.)

#2 - eBook Library Manager.
It can manage all the eBooks in your computer, and you can put them in the order of Author, Title, or Format. The interface is absolutely clear.

#3 - DRM Removal.
you can add some plug-ins to remove Kindle Amazon DRM.
(Learn how to use DeDRM Calibre plug-in here.)

#4 - eBook Maker.
You can edit eBook's meta information, like title, author, cover in the software. You can also edit the eBook content by Calibre.

#5 - eBook Transfer.
Connect your eReader to computer, then you can send eBook to your eReader by Calibre within few clicks.
(Learn how to transfer eBooks to Kindle, Nook by Calibre here.)

As a software with so much functions, it is hard to avoid being complicated. Therefore, we collect some frequently asked qustions, and offer your the solutions here.

If you are a newbie, watch this video guide first.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Qustion Categories:

E-book Format Conversion

Device Integration

Library Management

eBook Transfer

There are quantities of questions here, don't forget to use the "Search" function of your Browser, just press "Ctrl + F", then type the key word. Because there may be  a different descripition of your question.

 

E-book Format Conversion Questions

What formats does calibre support conversion to/from?

Why does the PDF conversion lose some images/tables?

How do I convert a collection of HTML files in a specific order?

How do I convert my file containing non-English characters, or smart quotes?

How do I use some of the advanced features of the conversion tools?

 

What formats does calibre support conversion to/from?

Calibre supports the conversion of many input formats to many output formats. It can convert every input format in the following list, to every output format.

Input Formats: CBZ, CBR, CBC, CHM, EPUB, FB2, HTML, LIT, LRF, MOBI, ODT, PDF, PRC**, PDB, PML, RB, RTF, TCR, TXT

Output Formats: EPUB, FB2, OEB, LIT, LRF, MOBI, PDB, PML, RB, PDF, TCR, TXT

** PRC is a generic format, and Calibre supports PRC files with TextRead and MOBIBook headers.

 

Why does the PDF conversion lose some images/tables?

The PDF conversion tries to extract the text and images from the PDF file and convert them to and HTML based ebook. Some PDF files have images in a format that cannot be extracted (vector images). All tables are also represented as vector diagrams, thus they cannot be extracted.

 

How do I convert a collection of HTML files in a specific order?

In order to convert a collection of HTML files in a specific oder, you have to create a table of contents file. That is, another HTML file that contains links to all the other files in the desired order. Such a file looks like:

   
     Table of Contents
     First File
        Second File
        .
        .
        .
   

Then just add this HTML file to the GUI and use the convert button to create your ebook.

 

How do I convert my file containing non-English characters, or smart quotes?

There are two aspects to this problem:

Knowing the encoding of the source file: calibre tries to guess what character encoding your source files use, but often, this is impossible, so you need to tell it what encoding to use. This can be done in the GUI via the Input character encoding field in the Look & Feel section. The command-line tools all have an --input-encoding option.

When adding HTML files to calibre, you may need to tell calibre what encoding the files are in. To do this go to Preferences->Advanced->Plugins->File Type plugins and customize the HTML2Zip plugin, telling it what encoding your HTML files are in. Now when you add HTML files to calibre they will be correctly processed. HTML files from different sources often have different encodings, so you may have to change this setting repeatedly. A common encoding for many files from the web is cp1252 and I would suggest you try that first. Note that when converting HTML files, leave the input encoding setting mentioned above blank. This is because the HTML2ZIP plugin automatically converts the HTML files to a standard encoding (utf-8).

Embedding fonts: If you are generating an LRF file to read on your SONY Reader, you are limited by the fact that the Reader only supports a few non-English characters in the fonts it comes pre-loaded with. You can work around this problem by embedding a unicode-aware font that supports the character set your file uses into the LRF file. You should embed atleast a serif and a sans-serif font. Be aware that embedding fonts significantly slows down page-turn speed on the reader.

 

How do I use some of the advanced features of the conversion tools?

You can get help on any individual feature of the converters by mousing over it in the GUI or running ebook-convert dummy.html.epub -h at a terminal. A good place to start is to look at the following demo files that demonstrate some of the advanced features:

 

Device Integration Questions

What devices does calibre support?

How can I help get my device supported in calibre?

How does calibre manage collections on my SONY reader?

Can I use both calibre and the SONY software to manage my reader?

Can I use the collections feature of the SONY reader?

How do I use calibre with my iPad/iPhone/iTouch?

How do I use calibre with my Android phone?

Can I access my calibre books using the web browser in my Kindle or other reading device?

I get the error message “Failed to start content server: Port 8080 not free on ‘0.0.0.0’”?

Why is my device not detected in linux?

 

What devices does calibre support?

At the moment calibre has full support for the SONY PRS line, Barnes & Noble Nook, Cybook Gen 3/Opus, Amazon Kindle line, Entourage Edge, Longshine ShineBook, Ectaco Jetbook, BeBook/BeBook Mini, Irex Illiad/DR1000, Foxit eSlick, PocketBook 360, Italica, eClicto, Iriver Story, Airis dBook, Hanvon N515, Binatone Readme, Teclast K3, SpringDesign Alex, Kobo Reader, various Android phones and the iPhone/iPad. In addition, using the Save to disk function you can use it with any ebook reader that exports itself as a USB disk.

 

How can I help get my device supported in calibre?

If your device appears as a USB disk to the operating system, adding support for it to calibre is very easy. We just need some information from you:

What e-book formats does your device support?

Is there a special directory on the device in which all e-book files should be placed?

We also need information about your device that calibre will collect automatically. First, if your device supports SD cards, insert them. Then connect your device. In calibre go to Preferences->Advanced->Miscellaneous and click the “Debug device detection” button. This will create some debug output. Copy it to a file and repeat the process, this time with your device disconnected.

Send both the above outputs to us with the other information and we will write a device driver for your device.

Once you send us the output for a particular operating system, support for the device in that operating system will appear in the next release of calibre.

 

How does calibre manage collections on my SONY reader?

When calibre connects with the reader, it retrieves all collections for the books on the reader. The collections of which books are members are shown on the device view.

When you send a book to the reader, calibre will add the book to collections based on the metadata for that book. By default, collections are created from tags and series. You can control what metadata is used by going to Preferences->Advanced->Plugins->Device Interface plugins and customizing the SONY device interface plugin. If you remove all values, calibre will not add the book to any collection.

Collection management is largely controlled by the ‘Metadata management’ option found at Preferences->Import/Export->Sending books to devices. If set to ‘Manual’ (the default), managing collections is left to the user; calibre will not delete already existing collections for a book on your reader when you resend the book to the reader, but calibre will add the book to collections if necessary. To ensure that the collections for a book are based only on current calibre metadata, first delete the books from the reader, then resend the books. You can edit collections directly on the device view by double-clicking or right-clicking in the collections column.

If ‘Metadata management’ is set to ‘Only on send’, then calibre will manage collections more aggressively. Collections will be built using calibre metadata exclusively. Sending a book to the reader will correct the collections for that book so its collections exactly match the book’s metadata, adding and deleting collections as necessary. Editing collections on the device view is not permitted, because collections not in the metadata will be removed automatically.

If ‘Metadata management’ is set to ‘Automatic management’, then calibre will update metadata and collections both when the reader is connected and when books are sent. When calibre detects the reader and generates the list of books on the reader, it will send metadata from the library to the reader for all books on the reader that are in the library (On device is True), adding and removing books from collections as indicated by the metadata and device customization. When a book is sent, calibre corrects the metadata for that book, adding and deleting collections. Manual editing of metadata on the device view is not allowed. Note that this option specifies sending metadata, not books. The book files on the reader are not changed.

In summary, choose ‘manual management’ if you want to manage collections yourself. Collections for a book will never be removed by calibre, but can be removed by you by editing on the device view. Choose ‘Only on send’ if you want calibre to manage collections when you send a book, adding books to and removing books from collections as needed. Choose ‘Automatic management’ if you want calibre to keep collections up to date whenever the reader is connected.

If you use multiple installations of calibre to manage your reader, then option ‘Automatic management’ may not be what you want. Connecting the reader to one library will reset the metadata to what is in that library. Connecting to the other library will reset the metadata to what is in that other library. Metadata in books found in both libraries will be flopped back and forth.

 

Can I use both calibre and the SONY software to manage my reader?

Yes, you can use both, provided you do not run them at the same time. That is, you should use the following sequence: Connect reader->Use one of the programs->Disconnect reader. Reconnect reader->Use the other program->disconnect reader.

The underlying reason is that the Reader uses a single file to keep track of ‘meta’ information, such as collections, and this is written to by both calibre and the Sony software when either updates something on the Reader. The file will be saved when the Reader is (safely) disconnected, so using one or the other is safe if there’s a disconnection between them, but if you’re not the type to remember this, then the simple answer is to stick to one or the other for the transfer and just export/import from/to the other via the computers hard disk.

If you do need to reset your metadata due to problems caused by using both at the same time, then just delete the media.xml file on the Reader using your PC’s file explorer and it will be recreated after disconnection.

With recent reader iterations, SONY, in all its wisdom has decided to try to force you to use their software. If you install it, it auto-launches whenever you connect the reader. If you don’t want to uninstall it altogether, there are a couple of tricks you can use. The simplest is to simply re-name the executable file that launches the library program.

 

Can I use the collections feature of the SONY reader?

calibre has full support for collections. When you add tags to a book’s metadata, those tags are turned into collections when you upload the book to the SONY reader. Also, the series information is automatically turned into a collection on the reader. Note that the PRS-500 does not support collections for books stored on the SD card. The PRS-505 does.

 

How do I use calibre with my iPad/iPhone/iTouch?

 

1 Over the air

The easiest way to browse your calibre collection on your Apple device (iPad/iPhone/iPod) is by using the free Stanza app, available from the Apple app store. You need at least Stanza version 3.0. Stanza allows you to access your calibre collection wirelessly, over the air.

First perform the following steps in calibre

Set the Preferred Output Format in calibre to EPUB (The output format can be set under Preferences->Interface->Behavior)

Set the output profile to iPad (this will work for iPhone/iPods as well), under Preferences->Conversion->Common Options->Page Setup

Convert the books you want to read on your iPhone to EPUB format by selecting them and clicking the Convert button.

Turn on the Content Server in calibre‘s preferences and leave calibre running.

Install the free Stanza reader app on your iPad/iPhone/iTouch using iTunes.

Now you should be able to access your books on your iPhone by opening Stanza. Go to “Get Books” and then click the “Shared” tab. Under Shared you will see an entry “Books in calibre”. If you don’t, make sure your iPad/iPhone is connected using the WiFi network in your house, not 3G. If the calibre catalog is still not detected in Stanza, you can add it manually in Stanza. To do this, click the “Shared” tab, then click the “Edit” button and then click “Add book source” to add a new book source. In the Add Book Source screen enter whatever name you like and in the URL field, enter the following:

http://192.168.1.2:8080/

Replace 192.168.1.2 with the local IP address of the computer running calibre. If you have changed the port the calibre content server is running on, you will have to change 8080 as well to the new port. The local IP address is the IP address you computer is assigned on your home network. A quick Google search will tell you how to find out your local IP address. Now click “Save” and you are done.

If you get timeout errors while browsing the calibre catalog in Stanza, try increasing the connection timeout value in the stanza settings. Go to Info->Settings and increase the value of Download Timeout.

2 With the USB cable

As of calibre version 0.7.0, you can plug your iDevice into the computer using its charging cable, and calibre will detect it and show you a list of books on the device. You can then use the Send to device button to send books directly to iBooks on the device. Note that you must have at least iOS 4 installed on your iPhone/iTouch for this to work.

This method only works on Windows XP and higher and OS X 10.5 and higher. Linux is not supported (iTunes is not available in linux) and OS X 10.4 is not supported.

 

How do I use calibre with my Android phone?

First install the WordPlayer e-book reading app from the Android Marketplace onto you phone. Then simply plug your phone into the computer with a USB cable. calibre should automatically detect the phone and then you can transfer books to it by clicking the Send to Device button. calibre does not have support for every single androind device out there, so if you would like to have support for your device added, follow the instructions above for getting your device supported in calibre.

 

Can I access my calibre books using the web browser in my Kindle or other reading device?

calibre has a Content Server that exports the books in calibre as a web page. You can turn it on under Preferences->Network->Sharing over the net. Then just point the web browser on your device to the computer running the Content Server and you will be able to browse your book collection. For example, if the computer running the server has IP address 63.45.128.5, in the browser, you would type:

http://63.45.128.5:8080

Some devices, like the Kindle (1/2/DX), do not allow you to access port 8080 (the default port on which the content server runs. In that case, change the port in the calibre Preferences to 80. (On some operating systems, you may not be able to run the server on a port number less than 1024 because of security settings. In this case the simplest solution is to adjust your router to forward requests on port 80 to port 8080).

 

I get the error message “Failed to start content server: Port 8080 not free on ‘0.0.0.0’”?

The most likely cause of this is your antivirus program. Try temporarily disabling it and see if it does the trick.

 

Why is my device not detected in linux?

calibre needs your linux kernel to have been setup correctly to detect devices. If your devices are not detected, perform the following tests:

grep SYSFS_DEPRECATED /boot/config-`uname -r`

You should see something like CONFIG_SYSFS_DEPRECATED_V2 is not set. Also,

grep CONFIG_SCSI_MULTI_LUN /boot/config-`uname -r`

must return CONFIG_SCSI_MULTI_LUN=y. If you don’t see either, you have to recompile your kernel with the correct settings.

 

Library Management Questions

What formats does calibre read metadata from?

Where are the book files stored?

Why doesn’t calibre let me store books in my own directory structure?

 

What formats does calibre read metadata from?

calibre reads metadata from the following formats: CHM, LRF, PDF, LIT, RTF, OPF, MOBI, PRC, EPUB, FB2, IMP, RB, HTML. In addition it can write metadata to: LRF, RTF, OPF, EPUB, PDF, MOBI

 

Where are the book files stored?

When you first run calibre, it will ask you for a folder in which to store your books. Whenever you add a book to calibre, it will copy the book into that folder. Books in the folder are nicely arranged into sub-folders by Author and Title. Metadata about the books is stored in the file metadata.db (which is a sqlite database).

 

Why doesn’t calibre let me store books in my own directory structure?

The whole point of calibre‘s library management features is that they provide a search and sort based interface for locating books that is much more efficient than any possible directory scheme you could come up with for your collection. Indeed, once you become comfortable using calibre‘s interface to find, sort and browse your collection, you won't ever feel the need to hunt through the files on your disk to find a book again. By managing books in its own directory struture of Author -> Title -> Book files, calibre is able to achieve a high level of reliability and standardization. To illustrate why a search/tagging based interface is superior to folders, consider the following. Suppose your book collection is nicely sorted into folders with the following scheme:

Genre -> Author -> Series -> ReadStatus

Now this makes it very easy to find for example all science fiction books by Isaac Asimov in the Foundation series. But suppose you want to find all unread science fiction books. There’s no easy way to do this with this folder scheme, you would instead need a folder scheme that looks like:

ReadStatus -> Genre -> Author -> Series

In calibre, you would instead use tags to mark genre and read status and then just use a simple search query like tag:scifi and not tag:read. calibre even has a nice graphical interface, so you don’t need to learn its search language instead you can just click on tags to include or exclude them from the search.

eBook Transfer Question

Transfer eBooks to device with USB cable

Transfer eBooks to device with Content Server feature

How to transfer eBooks to my eReader / tablet device like Sony, Kindle, Nook, etc with USB Cable?

Calibre is able to detect your eReader device, if you plug your device to your computer, there will be two icons newly generated as the images shows.

If the icons doesn't show up, please refer to this answer.

Then choose the book you want to transfer, click "Send to device" button. In most cases, you can simply choose "Send to main memory", but if you need to save the book with a specific format, you should choose "Send specific format to". If you have plugged a SD card or something similar, just choose the correct place where your books stored.

calibre send to disk

How to transfer books to eReader or tablet devices through WiFi with Content Server feature?

If you don't have a USB cable, and you are in a WiFi environment, you can directly transfer the books to your reading device with Calibre's Content Server feature through WiFi, no need to connect your device to computer with a cable.

Before operating this method, please make sure your device and your computer are connected into the same network. Then click "Content / share", choose "Start Content Server" as the left part of the image below.

calibre content server

Then then content server will be active like the right part of the image above show. Now open the browser on your reading device, go the url "192.168.1.xxx:8080" (the exact url is showed on the calibre just like the image).

Then you will see this page on your reading device.

The left part of this image is the homepage of Calibre's content server, click "Newest" or "All books", you can see the list of all the books in your Calibre library, find your book, click "Get" button under the book's cover image, the book will be downloaded into your browser's default saving folder. Then find the book in your device's storage and open it with the reading app on your eReader or tablet.

author

works for Epubor and writes articles for a collection of blogs such as ebookconverter.blogspot.com.

5 Comments
reply
reply
05/16/2012 20:38:09
I would like to convert my book-50MB to epub. I tried using PDF to epub but it was a complete caos. Also I have tried changing from .docx to .html filtered and later to .epub but after two hours Calibre only converted 1% of task 1. How can I do easily and saving time?
reply
05/16/2012 22:22:03

Do you want to convert .docx to .epub books, or convert PDF to ePUB?
It's easy to convert PDF to ePUB with Calibre, but the quality is not perfect.
For converting .docs to .epub, you need convert .docx to .pdf at first.

Here you can convert PDF to ePUB with better quality.

reply
05/17/2013 01:19:24
I want to transfer my calibre library from one computer to another (XP to win 7) Can you suggest how to do this. Thanks for any help
reply
06/14/2013 01:15:33

Hi, ron

Sorry for the late response. We specially wrote this guide.

Please check:
www.epubor.com/transfer-ebooks-to-ereader-or-computer-with-calibre.html

reply
12/13/2013 18:55:11
How do I get the epub output from calibre mobi conversion to just keep the same file name as the input file???
reply
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