calibre 1.0 has just been released. It took us only 7 years to get here ;). Yes, we are only a little more than 2 months away from calibre’s 7th birthday. This is a big moment, so allow us to indulge in a few lines of nostalgia before we go into all the cool stuff that calibre 1.0 brings.
calibre started life on 31 October, 2006, soon after the release of the SONY PRS-500, the first e-ink based reader to be sold commercially in the US. This was accomplished with the help of the fine folks over at mobileread.com (A big thank you to you guys for your support over the years). calibre was then called libprs500. At the time there were no satisfactory tools to convert content into the LRF format, used by the SONY reader, so Kovid Goyal decided to implement a converter to convert the most popular e-book formats to LRF. This converter proved to be wildly popular.
As Kovid’s e-book collection grew, he realized that managing it was quickly becoming unwieldy, so he decided to write a graphical interface to libprs500. At this point (mid 2008) libprs500 was renamed to calibre (Converter And LIBRary for Ebooks) . The libre in calibre stands for freedom, indicating that calibre is a free and open source product, modifiable by all. Nonetheless, calibre should be pronounced as cali-ber, not ca-libre. People often ask why, so I’ll clarify. It is because Kovid wanted a regular English word that most people would know. He grew up in India where we are taught English (UK) in schools and that is how calibre is spelled in English (UK). For more details on the choice of the name click here.
Ok enough with the speeches. Let’s get to the exciting stuff. A comprehensive list of features added since 0.9.0 is here. Lets look at some of them in detail.
- Cover Grid : Judge ebooks by their covers ;)This the most recent feature to be introduced. It allows you to view your ebook collection as a grid of covers. This is what it looks like:To see the cover grid click the “grid of squares” icon at the bottom right corner of the main window (left of Jobs). As it is with most calibre features many aspects of the cover grid can be customized. Go to preferences -> Look and Feel and you will see a new tab labeled “Cover Grid”. Click on it and this is what you see:
As you can see in the figure above, you can choose:If the title should be displayed below the covers in the grid.
Spacing between covers: calibre chooses the spacing between covers automatically based on your screen size. However you can customize it by typing in a spacing of your choice as I have entered 0.5cm here.
Background color: The default is grey (see first figure) but you can change it to any color of your choice by clicking the “change color” button. I have chosen pink here, the effect of which you can see in the next figure with a cover grid.
Cover sizes: calibre chooses the cover sizes automatically based on your screen size, however you can customize that by clicking on “Larger” or “Smaller” covers. In the cover grid displayed in this post I clicked on “Larger covers”. You can also enter the size you like by typing it in.
Since the release of calibre 1.7 the cover grid has been updated so you can include a background image. So when you go to preferences -> Look and Feel and you will see a new tab labeled “Cover Grid”. Click on it and this is what you see:
Click change background image under background for cover grid. A window opens with a selection of available background images. If you select light wood as selected above to give your calibre library a wooden bookshelf look your calibre library looks like this:
- A new, faster database backend The database backend in calibre has been re-written from scratch. The new code is smaller, more robust and 2-3 times as fast as the old code. No pretty pictures for this, but those of you that have large book collections should appreciate the speed.
- Allow adding images into the comments field, by clicking on the insert link button in the comments editor in the edit metadata dialog. [0.9.44]
In the “Edit Metadata” window if you click on the comments section the following button in the rows of buttons above it becomes active: Click on it and the following window opens:
Now click on “Browse” to choose the image on your computer you wish to use.Then click OK. The caveat is that if you move the image on your computer to a new location then you will have to redo this. The image I chose is High Sunderland Hall. Here is how the second image will appear under “Book Details” (right most column of main window) in the main calibre window when the book is selected:
To be able to see the image in the book details you have to go to Preferences -> Look and Feel -> Book Details and make sure “Comments” is selected.
- Conversion: Add option to embed all referenced fonts [0.9.37]
Add an option to embed all fonts that are referenced in the input document but are not already embedded. This will search your system for the referenced font, and if found, the font will be embedded. Only works if the output format supports font embedding (for example: EPUB or AZW3). The option is under the Look & Feel section of the conversion dialog.
- Conversion of Microsoft Word documents (.docx files generated by Word 2007 or newer) [0.9.34]
DOCX files created with Microsoft Word 2007 or newer can now be converted by calibre. The converter has support for lists, tables, images, all types of text formatting, footnotes, endnotes and even dropcaps. A sample docx file showing the capabilities of the converter is available: http://calibre-ebook.com/downloads/demos/demo.docx
Here is a picture of a page from the demo document in docx format converted to epub by calibre:
Notice how well it preserves the formatting.
- Virtual Libraries: Easily partition your large calibre library into smaller ‘virtual’ libraries [0.9.28] (Click on link to see earlier detailed blog post on topic)
- Metadata download: Add two new sources for covers: Google Image Search and bigbooksearch.com. [0.9.27]
To enable them go to Preferences->Metadata download and enable the ‘Google Image’ and ‘Big Book Search’ sources.
- New tool: “Edit ToC” that allows you to edit or create a Table of Contents easily in EPUB or AZW3 ebooks. [0.9.23]
(Click on link to see earlier detailed blog post on topic)
- New tool: “Polish books” that allows you to perform various automated cleanup actions on EPUB and AZW3 files without doing a full conversion. [0.9.19]
(Click on link to see earlier detailed blog post on topic)
- Allow adding user specified icons to the main book list for books whose metadata matches specific criteria. [0.9.17]
Go to Preferences -> Look & Feel and you will see a tab called “Column icons”. Click on it and the following window opens:
Click on add a rule and you see:
The rules work in the same way as the column coloring rules. After adding the rule shown in the image above the library looks like this:
Notice the little pink heart next to the titles of the the two ebooks in the list that have the Romance tag.
- Complete rewrite of the PDF Output engine, to support links and fix various bugs [0.9.13]
- 64 bit build for windows [0.9.9]
calibre now has a 64 bit version for windows, available at: http://calibre-ebook.com/download_windows64 . You can have both the 32 bit and the 64 bit build installed at the same time, they will use the same libraries, plugins and settings.
Hope you enjoy all the features calibre 1.0 offers 🙂