With that said, as soon as you need just one more feature like converting book formats, you have a game changer.
You can try to wrap it up in a really dumbed down UI, but users like my Mum would still never "get it",
I don't agree with this analysis, with respect. The two most important things a user needs to do are a) strip the DRM and b) backup the eBook files c) Change format when they change eReader or want to use another device.
I don't agree that these needs are limited to advanced users and people who are not advanced are not a target market for Calibre, because they NEED to do all of these things and the Kindle app does not help !
I am in a similar situation with a friend of mine who is 35, works in a local small factory and hasn't much of a clue about her computer. She would like to be able to strip the DRM, do the backup and format change but Calibre scares the bejaysus out of her. So I have to do them for her. Why the format change ? because she dropped her kindle a couple of months ago and changed to a Nook. Then she bought an iPhone 5 and wants to use both it and her Nook to read. This kind of situation is becoming typical for a huge swathe of people imho.
Unfortunately as I see it there are too many engineering types and computer types involved in the Calibre community and they just don't see what is happening out there in the eBook revolution. There seems to be a crazy view of users as being either befuddled idiots that are beyond Calibre's reach or fellow experts well able to 'figure' calibre out.
In my view the solution is simple. A Calibre shell, with two modes. Where the Basic Mode is a much simpler graphical UI, dealing with the following functions:
- DRM stripping
- Format Conversion (device driven and not technical nerdy file format name driven)
- Backups (meaning storing files in a user determined location most likely to get backed up, not deep in profile folders no one can find)
- Transfer to Device
- Ordinary English
- Monitoring which device has what eBooks
- Drag and drop UI.
- Book cover library display.
Advanced users can then turn on the Advanced Mode, where the UI is populated with the present huge range of tasks and sub menus etc. etc. and fiddle and convert and manage their database and Meta data to their hearts content.