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 …@kindle.com”. The “…@kindle.com” 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.

Engage!

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 prowriter.biz

5 comments:

  1. I have 500 plus books on my kindle. Would I need to do step 3 on each individual book, or can this be a bulk operation? And then each time I buy new books, I'll need to add it manually? Ugh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Denise! Unfortunately, there's no way to download copies of ebooks from Amazon in bulk.
      If you need a backup quickly, you can plug your kindle in with an USB cable, open its contents with Windows Explorer (it'll show up as a removable drive) and copy it somewhere else. Most likely you won't be able to open them with calibre though.
      calibre has no way to overcome this obstacle, as it's just Amazon's way of fighting with intellectual theft...

      Delete
  2. Will or would Bartosz publish this article in Polish? I would help with it and I would like to publish it on my blog (https://robsik.com). Please let me know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello robsik!
      I don't plan to publish a Polish translation of this article on my own.
      I will gladly talk it over with you though :)
      Just send me an e-mail (you can find it on my website, prowriter.biz) or a message on twitter (@b_makuch).
      Hope to hear from you soon!

      Delete
    2. You have the all clear from us :)

      Delete