Originally Posted by Webstar
Can anyone throw any light on this? I have an iphone. You'd think getting books on to an iphone might be one of the commonest tasks, and therefore pretty automated. Wrong. First off, Calibre doesn't accept .doc files as a source. But it doesn't say so straight out. It allows .doc files to be imported, but it won't convert them. (Why reject so common a format?). However, I then found out it accepts .rtf, so that problem was solved. But that was the easy part. How to get the resulting epub file onto the iphone? That took me at least an hour. Eventually I found I could drag it (not from within Calibre, but from the Calibre folder) into the Stanza section on the apps page of my iphone in iTunes. And, yes, I did study the 'help' provided in Calibre. And I did struggle with Stanza on my iphone. But when it comes to entering the IP address of my computer (a matter unknown to me), etc., etc. and some stuff about having Calibre as a server, I more or less have to give up. I know it's a free program, but really - putting an epub file on to an iphone...? Shouldn't that be simple?
Ok, first up, while you think that it is common putting files onto an iPhone, actually getting it to work is tricky, because Apple doesn't like people leaving their walled garden. They want people to stick to iTunes for transferring stuff back and forth between iPhones and iPods. Apple makes it very difficult sometimes to use their hardware with out their software. I'm a Linux user with ipods and such, so I'm speaking from experience. Even on the hardware front, they made it so only apple authorized accessories will work, so that hardware makers have to pay Apple to make iPhone accessories. When it comes to putting stuff onto any device, you have to have stuff on both sides. Something on the computer to send it to the device, and something to accept it on the device. The stuff on the device side is Apple created, and so, makes the job difficult for anyone who isn't Apple. Hell, to give you an examle of how restrictive Apple is, the books sold by Apple via the iBookstore, can only be read within iBooks. iBooks only runs on iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone. They do not even have a Mac version, so while it is technically based on the ePub format the DRM they use is so restrictive, it is impossible to read books you've legally bought from iBooks on a computer.
Next up, Calibre is for ebooks, and Word documents aren't ebooks. Plus, it is a proprietary format, and while Microsoft within the past few years released the spec to the public, it is very incomplete. Basically, think of it as having a roadmap that only showed interstates, and you had to use it to find some backwoods podunk town about 30 miles from the interstate. On top of that, if you attempt to work with the format anyway, you're still under restriction from MS on how you can use it. Plus, the restrictions MS has in place also causes complications legally speaking since it doesn't totally jive with the GPLv3 (an extremely popular software license for open source code, which Calibre uses).
Long and the short of it, Calibre is being restricted by two corporate giants, and to do what you want would open up a legal can of worms, as well as just be a complicated mess. Yes, it is technically possible for Calibre to reverse engineer how Apple handles ebook transfer, and then mimic it. And yes, it is technically possible for Calibre to add support for the Doc or Docx formats. The problem is, it would be a crap ton of work, and they could get sued. Is it really worth the hassle for them? Plus the format itself is largely problematic. Way too bloated and complicated.
All that considered, Calibre is a ebook manager, meant for communicating with dedicated ebook readers. The file format you want to convert from isn't an ebook format (trust me, there are some pretty big technical differences), and the device you want to put the ebooks on is not an ebook reader. With that in mind, it makes the hassle even less worth while. If you want someone to blame for Calibre being "difficult", blame Apple and Microsoft. Those of us who live outside their walled gardens find Calibre to be extremely simple to use.