Thanks for the details. It is rather late here, so I will look at it in the morning when I have a clearer head.
One thing that will help me -- if you are willing, could you send me your calibre db? Having it will allow me to do my tests using your data instead of me making some up. This is important because it may be something in your data that is causing the problem. By "calibre db" I mean the file metadata.db in the root folder of your calibre library. I don't need any of the books. I recognize that sending me the database means telling me all the books you have in your library, and I perfectly understand that you might not want to do that. However, if you are willing then send it by email to "calibre1 at charles dot haleys dot org", making the obvious substitutions.
Also, could you tell me what is in the save template box in preferences -> send to device?