How to Use Calibre

November 27, 2013 Tips & Tricks 6

I’m surprised at how many people aren’t aware of Calibre or don’t know how to use it. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a free and open source ebook library management program that gives you the ability to convert ebooks to different formats as well as letting you send ebooks to your device.

This tutorial is for those who have never used the program and aren’t sure how to get started. My aim was to make it as simple as possible. Now the steps listed below will ONLY work with DRM free books. There are plugins that will let you strip the DRM file in order for you to convert it to your desired format, but I’m not going to talk about them since I know a few people frown up such a practice and then there’s the whole Digital Millennium Copyright Act which makes it illegal for you to strip such files. I understand the argument of, “I bought it,” etc, etc. But the law is the law and make sure you check your own country laws since many have similar laws.

Step 1
Download Calibre by going to the website and picking a version that is compatible to your operating system. From there install it and pick where you want it to install. I do recommend choosing a location that is easy for you to find.

Step 2
Once you install it, launch the program and your menu should be similar to this, but do keep in mind it might vary slightly.

R: Your main menu via desktop
S: List of books in the Calibre library will be listed here
T: Any updates found either for the program or plugins will be listed here
U: Your conversion jobs will be listed here
calibre_tut01

Step 3
Adding books to convert is easy. First you’ll open up Calibre then from the menu click on add books (1). From there look for your designated file (2) and once you locate it click on it (3) and hit enter or open.
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If your files are located in one folder then just highlight them all so they are added at the same time.

Step 4
Okay, now that you have selected books and want to convert them to a file your e-reader will accept, click on the book you want converted to highlight it (4). Then click on convert books (5).
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Step 5
I tend to make minimal changes to my files and don’t mess with any thing on the screen other than what you see in red. For more in-depth changes, look at the end of tutorial for additional sources that might help you.

See where it says input format on your left? That’s your original file format and here in my example you see it as a .lit file. On the right you have a scroll down menu and you can pick your desired file format. Then you can change the title, author name, etc. There’s a white box underneath it and you can add the synopsis or perhaps your own notes here. You can also change the cover image. I’ve never done this, but it’s there if you want to change it.
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Step 6
I decided to add the name of the series and a test blurb. Here are the changes I made.
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Step 7
Once you’re satisfied with your changes click on okay and you’re taken back to the main screen. Here you’ll see the changes taking place. In option A, you see the original settings and in option B are the new changes.
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Step 8
Once I’m done with file conversions, I plug in my e-reader using the usb cord. For this tutorial, I’m using my old Sony e-reader (that I love and still use alongside my Kindle).

Now the new menu will change to reflect the device. You’ll see new menu options. Then if you click on device, you’ll get the library on your device.
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Step 9
To send books to your device, I find the usb method to be the easiest (unless I’m sending to my Kindle and will use the send to Kindle application). I know devices like the Nook and Kobo have wireless built in, etc and in theory if it’s activated you should be able to send directly as Calibre should detect it, but if it doesn’t then use the usb method.

You have 2 options. The first is Option A and just click on send to device from the menu. First highlight the file then click on the menu option.
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The second option is to right click on the highlighted file name and scroll down to device.
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Step 10
Once you’ve sent your file, click device to get the library and you should see it (sorry didn’t get a screenshot of this). Or disconnect from the desktop and then check your device.

As you can see it’s on my device and all I have to do is click on it to read it.
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**For a more detailed tutorial on Calibre and editing page setup, table of contents, etc. take a look at Paul Salvette’s tutorial. If you’re looking to use Calibre to organize your ebook collection, check out How to Geek’s tutorial.

I hope this tutorial is helpful. Any questions or thoughts?

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