Monday, January 16, 2017

How to Backup, Move and Export Your Library in Calibre

Have you ever lost your files? Crashing hard drives and accidental deletions teach us that there are two kinds of people: those who backup their files and those that will start to backup their files. Thankfully, calibre comes with tools to do just that – quickly and easily. That way you won’t lose your collection the next time your laptop crashes.

How to Export Your eBook Library

If you want to prepare for a disaster or just move your collection to your new device, make a backup. To export your calibre library:

  1. First, click on the “[your library name]” button on the main screen and select “Export/Import all calibre data”. 

  2. Then, choose “Export all your calibre data”. 

  3. In the dialog box select the library you want to export and click “OK”. 

  4. Finally, select the folder where you want to save your backup in. 

This process will create a series of 1 GB-large files with your whole library. You can then save it on a backup drive, burn them to DVDs or just stash them away somewhere safe.

How to Import Your eBook Library

You exported your library. Now, to restore your library after a loss or move it to your new computer, you need to import it:
  1. First, go to “Calibre library > Export/Import all calibre data” once again.
  2. This time select “Import previously exported data”. 

  3. Then, find the source folder of your backup. 

  4. And finally, specify where to save it.
  5. Then, click “OK”.

How to Move Your eBook Library

Say you have two hard drives and the one that has your collection on it is getting full. You decided to move it to another drive. To move your library to another location: 

  1. First, click on your library’s name and select “Switch/create library…” 

  2. On the next screen select the new path for your library and click the option to “Move current library to new location”.
  3. Finally, confirm by clicking “OK”. 

Now your library is in the new location!

Cloud Services Are Another Option

If you want to access your library from any location and keep an additional backup, but for some reason do not want to use calibre’s server option, you can add your library to the cloud service you use (e.g. Dropbox or OneDrive).
To do this, you must either move your library to your cloud service location on your device (e.g. your Dropbox folder) or add the library’s folder to be synced in the cloud’s settings. Just remember that if you do that, the cloud service provider will have access to your library. Note that there are also some 3rd party tools to help calibre and cloud services cooperate.
Important note: using cloud services with calibre is risky and may lead to data loss. It is known that Google Drive is not compatible with calibre. Use those services at your own risk and always make a backup.
To minimize this risk, synchronize your library with only one cloud service and only when calibre is turned off. Read more in the manual.
So, there you have it – the basics of staying safe with calibre.

This blog post was contributed by Bartosz Makuch, a Freelance Software Copywriter. He studied Physics and Management and loves to write stories that move people. In his spare time he listens to classic rock and reads sci-fi novels. You can find him at

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Managing Your Kindle Library Is Easy With calibre

Are you tired of spending so much time looking for your eBooks on an ugly Amazon page? Did you download an eBook from another website, but it’s an epub and you can’t easily send it to your Kindle? Well, let me help you with that.
Kindle devices are incredibly popular and sometimes they’re used to back up arguments that paperbacks are dead. You can fill them with eBooks in an impressive pace. eBooks are everywhere: on Amazon and in hundreds of other stores, you can also find millions of free ones online. When you do, you might find it hard to get them on your device. Kindles are very particular when it comes to file formats.
There’s this powerful tool called calibre. It can manage all your eBooks, no matter where they came from and help you select the ones that will get on your device. With it, you can track which books you read and which ones you liked. It can download covers and metadata or compile a series of novels. It can also convert books from one format to another and even make your personal documents into eBooks. Kindle applications just don’t measure up to what calibre is capable of.

How to Set Up Your Library

You open calibre and plug your Kindle with USB for the first time. The program will scan its contents and create a file with metadata – this will allow you to control what eBooks from your library are on the device and vice versa.

Unfortunately, you cannot transfer eBooks you bought on Amazon from your Kindle to the calibre library directly. If you want to copy them:
  1. First, log in to your Amazon account.

  2. Then, choose “Manage Your Content and Devices” from the “My Account” tab.
  3. Finally, click “Download & transfer via USB” from under the “Actions” button.

You will be prompted to select which device you’ll read this eBook on. This question pops up because of the DRM protection Amazon puts on eBooks they sell.
To add the files, you just downloaded, to your calibre library, just drag-and-drop them to the calibre’s main window.
Sending content from your calibre library to your Kindle is much easier. We’ll get to that in a bit.

How to Convert eBooks Using calibre

Let’s say you downloaded an eBook from somewhere on the Internet (say, The Gutenberg Project). But it turns out it’s in a different format than mobi or azw. Most likely, epub.
Epub is the most popular eBook format and most eReaders support it because it’s open-source. Kindle devices, however, do not. Amazon uses its own two file formats: the older, mobi and the newer, azw (also: azw3). Both are Amazon’s property but offer a wider selection of options (e.g. adding a built-in dictionary or support for annotations and comments). The azw format was built upon mobi and offers better compression and encryption.
If you want the eBook on your Kindle, you need to convert it to mobi or azw first. When you opened calibre for the very first time, you went through the configuration wizard. During this process, you already told calibre what device you use. Because of that calibre already chose the best file formats to convert to and you don’t even have to convert your eBooks by yourself, just send them and calibre will do the rest.

How to Send Your eBook to Kindle Using calibre

Okay, you prepared your eBook. Now, what? How to transfer them to your Kindle and start reading? Let’s dive in.

Sending eBooks To Kindle Via USB

To send the eBook to your Kindle, just right-click on it and select “Send to device > Send to main memory”. Note, you should still be keeping your Kindle plugged in via USB. Your eBook will be on your Kindle in seconds.

Sending eBooks To Kindle with Email

If you prefer to send your files with email, right-click on the eBook and select “Connect/share > Email to …”. The “…” bit should be your Kindle email you set up on Amazon.

If you want to setup or change this email, log in to your Amazon account and then:
  1. Go to “Manage Your Content and Devices” and choose the “Your Devices” tab.
  2. Then, click “Edit” by the mail listing. 
To manage your emails in calibre:

  1. First, click “Preferences” in the main window.
  2. Then, select “Sharing books by email” in the “Sharing” section.
  3. Finally, you can add new emails by pressing the “Add email” button and remove old ones by pressing the “Remove email” button.
  4. The e-mail displayed in the menu in “Connect/share” is whichever address you made default. To make an address default, press the “Make default” button.
If you don’t get the eBooks you sent with email on your Kindle shortly, consider using an email relay like GMX.


Remember that when you transfer your eBooks with email, Amazon will have access to them and will convert your files once again. Transferring via USB ensures that no one has access to your files but you. It also gives you more control over the content.
That’s all you need to know to start managing your Kindle library with calibre. This program, however, has a lot of other options. To explore them, browse through the User Manual or other posts on this blog.

This blog post was contributed by Bartosz Makuch, a Freelance Software Copywriter. He studied Physics and Management and loves to write stories that move people. In his spare time he listens to classic rock and reads sci-fi novels. You can find him at

Friday, December 30, 2016

Is calibre Safe? All You Need to Know

Broken passwords, leaked photos, stolen credit card numbers. Have you been affected by at least one of these crimes? I bet you did, even if you didn’t realize that. You and I both give out our private information like it’s candy. And then we must trust this data stays safe. But – as you probably heard – it doesn’t. Just this year we learned that personal information of 1 billion users of Yahoo!, 165 million users of LinkedIn and 68 million users of Dropbox were compromised. And just two years ago, we’ve seen an enormous leak of Sony Pictures correspondence and files.
Personal data is stolen by hackers in large numbers.
As we stay online, day and night, we also encounter bad and malicious websites and software. Programs that can steal directly from our devices. It’s not unusual that you wonder if calibre is safe.

Calibre is one of the most popular eBook library managers. It’s used on more than 3 million devices and is widely recommended online. Most avid eReader users have heard the name “calibre”. It’s free, it’s powerful and it’s easy to use. But what makes calibre safe? Let’s break it down.

Calibre Has No Secrets

First of all, calibre is open-source. It means that its source code is publicly available to inspect, change and distribute. You can see it for yourself on the most popular source code repository, GitHub. It might sound dangerous, but it’s not. And here’s why: every change made to calibre is checked and approved by the community of its developers. And calibre’s creator, Kovid Goyal, keeps a close watch. All calibre’s developers hang out at an open forum and you can see for yourself what they’re up to.

Because the work is so transparent, everyone who spots a problem can report it to others. Commercial software usually doesn’t allow people who don’t work for them to see the insides of their product. Fewer eyes mean fewer chances to catch a bug and fix it.

Because everyone can change calibre, it’s important to download it from its homepage. That way you can be sure it’s unchanged and safe. You can also double-check the files using checksums: they’ll tell you if the file was changed by anyone.

Calibre Does Not Collect, Store or Share Your Personal Information

Personally identifiable information about your collection, devices and usage are not collected or shared with anyone. The only data calibre will send outside your device without asking is anonymous: your IP address (just to find out in which country you use calibre), the program’s version and your operating system. If you use the news fetching feature, the only information left on calibre’s server about that is that someone downloaded news from a particular source.

This allows the developers to make calibre better suited to your needs and be sure the program runs smoothly for everyone. Compiled stats are available publicly on calibre’s homepage and no individual user’s statistics are kept.

Information About Your Device Stays on That Device

When you first connect your device to calibre, the program will scan its contents: it will check all the books and save their metadata in a file on that device. Thanks to this, you will be able to quickly check if your eBooks are already on this device or vice versa. The way calibre manages your devices can be changed in the program’s preferences.

Share Your Library Securely With calibre

If you want to send eBooks to your device without connecting it with a cable, you can email them. Using calibre you can also email eBooks to anyone else. There are two mechanisms you can use: direct mail (default) and send via a provider.
Direct email sends the messages without intermediaries, using your just your computer to connect to the recipient’s host. Because this method can also be used to send fabricated emails, many email providers do not accept emails sent in this fashion.

The second method makes calibre act as an e-mail manager in that way that it uses email login information you provide to connect to your account and send the message with the eBook attached. It can be your personal account, but you can setup a separate account, e.g. on GMX. This login data is stored securely on your device and no one else has access to it. Both TLS and SSL encryption are available. Remember, that if you send your eBooks to your device using email, you will use your device manufacturer’s cloud services and they will have access to the content you sent.

Another way to share your library is to enable calibre Content Server. That way, based on your internet provider and hardware, you can set up a public or a local site that will enable guests to download eBooks straight from your computer. Calibre supports protecting this content with a username and a password you set up and makes all logs accessible only to you, so you can check who accessed what and when.

More Than Ten Years of Excellence

Since its creation in 2006, calibre has received numerous positive reviews from experts and users alike. called calibre “the best eBook manager available”, PC Advisor said that calibre “belongs on every serious e-bookshelf”, while said it’s “an all-in-one solution for handling your eBooks”. Source Forge users gave calibre 4.7/5.0 rating. It has been featured in the New York Times, the Kindle Chronicles, Wired and many more.
Calibre also has many options and features you can use to manage your privacy and safety of your data. You just need to dive in to the “Preferences” tab.
So – don’t worry, calibre is safe. It is used by millions. It doesn’t collect your personal data. And dozens of developers strive fix any issues and harden its security. The only thing you need to remember is to download it from its official website.

This blog post was contributed by Bartosz Makuch, a Freelance Software Copywriter. He studied Physics and Management and loves to write stories that move people. In his spare time he listens to classic rock and reads sci-fi novels. You can find him at

Thursday, November 5, 2015

calibre icon themes

Over the years we have had some complaints about calibre's appearance. We have had just as many appreciative emails from people loving the look. While some people find large clear icons easy to use, other feel it makes the interface clunky.

The problem with choosing a particular look is that you can never make all of the people happy. We have also had people contribute icon designs over the years. But a change always leaves some people unhappy while making others happy.

The way we like to do it in calibre is to give as many options and as much power as possible to the user. So calibre now (since version 2.36) has multiple icon themes. You choose the icon theme that you like best and you don't have to compromise with other users.

To select an icon theme go to Preferences -> Look and Feel and you'll see:

Then click the second entry on the right 'Change icon theme'.

A window opens with 11 different options for icon themes: (these themes are all available in version 2.42 and some may be missing in earlier versions)

Select the one you are happy with and click 'OK'. Calibre then downloads the selected icon theme. Now click 'Apply' and then restart calibre. I switched from the default icon theme that looked like this:

to the one called 'Sphere':

And that is not the end of it. If you don't like any of the options and have some talent at creating icons you can create your own icon theme. To do so, go to Preferences->Miscellaneous-> Create icon theme, select the folder where you have put your icons (usually the resources/images folder in the calibre config directory). Then fill up the theme metadata and click OK. This will result in a zip file containing the theme icons. For more details click here.

Since calibre is open source you can share your icon theme with other calibre users, if you want to. To share an icon theme you have created,  upload it to the calibre forum at Mobileread and then Kovid will make your theme available via calibre’s builtin icon theme system. You will of course be credited for your contribution. For example the 'Sphere' icon theme was contributed by 'Potzblitz7' as everyone choosing that icon theme will see.

Enjoy playing around with the icons and creating your own! And a big thank you to all those who have contributed icon themes.

Monday, September 29, 2014

calibre cover designs

Bored of all your default covers looking like this:

Since calibre 2.4,  released on 25 September 2014, calibre has added a selection of different cover designs with customizable fonts, font sizes and color schemes. Here are the set of default covers:

There are 4 color scheme choices, namely: grass, silver, earth and water as you can see in the above picture from top to bottom. There are also 4 style choices, namely: banner, cross, half and half and blocks, from left to right in the above picture.

But that is not all. The color schemes can be customized to taste as can the fonts!

Customizing the color schemes:

Select the book whose cover you want to design and click on the "Edit metadata" button in the main toolbar. A new window opens. In the cover section of the window you see:

If you click on the "Generate cover" button, one of the covers in  the showcase shown in the second picture will be randomly generated. If you click on it again another one will take its place. However if you  long-click (hold down the left mouse button) the "Generate cover" button you will see the option "Customize the styles and colors of the generated cover". Now you can click on that option and you will see a new window:

As you can see there are the 4 previously mentioned color schemes available by default. Now to create a custom color scheme click on "New color scheme". Then the following window opens:

The default name of this new color scheme will be "#My Color Scheme" but you can change it. To change the colors click on the color you want to change and the following window opens:

Now you can choose what color you want. You can change all the colors one by one. I have replaced all 4 colors in the previous scheme with a set of whites and pinks as you see below:

Now if you click OK you will see:

Now you see at the top of the list is the new color scheme i have created. If you don't like it you can remove it by clicking the "Remove color scheme" button. I am going to save these settings for future use by checking the relevant box before clicking OK.

Customizing the Fonts:

You can change the fonts too. To do that click on the Fonts and Sizes tab in the above window. Then you will see:

To change the title font click on the "Choose font family" button next to the "Title font family" entry. In the following I have changed the "Title font family" to "Purisa" and as you can see in the preview window below the font of the title has changed to Purisa.

Similarly you can change the title font size. Below I have changed the title font size from 120 pixels as chosen in the above picture to 160 pixels.

As you can see in the preview window above the title automatically spreads over 2 lines to accommodate the new font size. Similarly you can change the footer font family and size to change the font family and size of the author. I have changed the footer font family to Purisa:

Customizing the text:

You can also change what you see for the footer name or how the title is presented by going to the "Text" tab. When you click on the "Text" tab you see:

You can click on the change the template buttons to customize the Title, footer and subtitle information appearing on the cover.

Below is a showcase of the covers in different styles with our new color scheme and fonts:

This post gives you the basics but there is a lot to play around with particularly in modifying the templates. Hope you have fun with this new feature.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Announcing calibre 2.0

It has been about a year from our last big release, so it is time for another one. calibre 2.0 was released today.

Since calibre 1.0 most of the development has focused on the e-book editor. calibre aspires to be the one stop solution to all your ebook needs. That is what we say on our home page.

Until  calibre 1.0,   development mostly focused on the needs of e-book users. Sigil on the other hand, catered to ebook creators. But once the active development of Sigil came to an end, it was important to develop an ebook editor as well and that is what we have been doing for most of the last year.  I made a detailed post about calibre's ebook editor when it was first released. Since then more functionality has been added to it which I will briefly discuss here. A video outlining the key features of the editor is available here.

There have been some cool new features for e-book users as well. I will report some of the highlights in this post.

For a comprehensive list of new features since 1.0 click here.

First there is some good news for OS X users:
Calibre 2.0 released today has support for Android phones and tablets on OS X, calibre should now detect and connect to them, just as it already does on windows and linux.

Improvements to the editor:

The following is a list of improvements to the editor since my last blog post on the subject. For an introduction to the editor click here.
  • Spell Check:
  • The calibre book editor has built in spell check since version 1.33. You can install new dictionaries via Preferences->Editor->Manage spelling dictionaries. It comes with builtin dictionaries for English and Spanish. You can add OpenOffice dictionaries (in .oxt format). The tool checks spellings in all HTML/OPF/NCX files in the book, taking into account any language declarations in the book, so that it will work correctly on multi-lingual books as well.

    Live spell checking in the code view was implemented in version 1.37. Spelling errors are highlighted in the code view for convenient correction as you type. This can be turned off via Preferences->Editor.
    The spell check icon in the toolbar of the editor is

  • Special character insertion:
    Since calibre 1.19, you can insert characters that are difficult to type by using the Edit->Insert special character tool or click the "insert special character" icon in the toolbar, which looks like this:

    This shows you all unicode characters, simply click on the character you want to type. If you hold Ctrl while clicking, the window will close itself after inserting the selected character. This tool can be used to insert special characters into the main text or into any other area of the user interface, such as the Search and replace tool.

    Because there are a lot of characters, you can define your own Favorite characters, that will be shown first. Simply right click on a character to mark it as favorite. You can also right click on a character in favorites to remove it from favorites.

    You can also directly type in special characters using the keyboard or by by using HTML named entities. For details click here.

  • Add in-context help for HTML and CSS:
    Now, you can right click on any HTML/OPF/NCX tag name or CSS property and the editor will open some help for that item in your browse. For example if you right-click on the font family CSS property you will see:

    Now if you click on the first entry "Show help for: font-family" it will open this page in a browser. The same would happen if you right clicked on an HTML tag in an HTML file.

  • Support for third party plugins to extend the editors functionality:
    Since version 1.46 the editor supports plugins that can be used to extend its functionality. Documentation of the plugin API and an example plugin are here.

Improvements to the cover grid:

Since version 1.47, user defined emblems (icons) can be displayed next to covers in the cover grid mode. This is similar to the column icons feature introduced in version 0.9.17 discussed in this post.

You can have your own custom icons displayed next to covers in the cover grid, based on simple rules you create.  To create these rules go to Preferences->Cover Grid and click the Emblems tab on the left and you see the following window:

Now suppose you want to insert a rule that all books by the author P. G. Wodehouse appear with an icon "W" next to them then, click on the "Add Rule" button in the above window and insert the following rule:

To add the image just click on "Add new image" and select the image stored in your files.

Now click "OK" on the bottom right corner of the "rule " window and then click "Apply". Here is what you will see in the cover grid view:

As you see in the above picture books by Wodehouse, like "P smith Journalist" and "Right Ho, Jeeves" have a picture of "W" on the left of the book cover. You can change the location of the custom icon by going to preferences -> Look and Feel -> Cover grid. At the bottom of this window you will see

Here you can choose the size of the icon in pixels and you can have the icons located at the bottom, top, right or left of the book cover. You can also have multiple icons per book. In the following example I have added a rule that books tagged as humor or satire have a smiley face icon. I have also moved the icons to the top instead of keeping them at the left. Then this is what I see:

In the above picture the books by Wodehouse, which I have also tagged as humor have both icons of "W" and the smiley face on top. The book "Press Cuttings", is not by Wodehouse, but  is tagged as a satire has only the smiley face icon. The location of the icon/s is not on the left as shown for the books by Wodehouse two pictures ago but on top.

Also as you can see I have used the smiley face icon for multiple tags, i.e, humor and satire. You can do this by separating the different tags by a comma when adding the rule.

Miscellaneous new features:

  • Since version 1.25, calibre can read and write XMP metadata from PDF files. This means that all metadata that you can create in calibre, including custom columns, can be stored in the PDF files. It is also useful when importing PDF files created by some academic publishers, that sometimes have good XMP metadata, such as DOI identifiers, tags and so on.

  • Since version 1.24 the builtin viewer in calibre supports touch screens on Windows tablets. You can tap or swipe to turn pages. Swipe up or down to jump between sections. Swipe and hold to flip through pages rapidly and pinch to zoom in and out.

Hope you enjoy all the features calibre 2.0 offers :)