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Old 01-27-2011, 01:41 PM   #1
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Red face changing book covers

I have 4 books that I bought. The covers these came with are very plain, just the title over a gray page. I happen to own these in paperback and love the published covers, so I found images of these online and saved them and made my own covers. I have added the DRM-removing plug-in to Calibre, and re-imported the books after that, changed the covers to the preferred ones. They show up fine in Calibre, but once they go to my Sony 650, the old covers are there instead. I thought by removing the DRM I'd be able to put my own covers on them? I even did an epub-to-epub conversion in case that was needed. Any help? thanks.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:04 PM   #2
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Just had this problem. I tried several methods to change the covers. And succeeded, but I'm not sure which method worked.

1. After downloading the new cover, convert the book convert to ePub. (ePub to ePub overwrites the old ePub with the new ePub.) This will embed the new cover in the ePub file.

2. Using Windows Explorer, delete the old thumbnails on the reader e:/database/thumbnails/<all directories> (only try if nothing else works. Make a copy of the directory first, just in case.)

3. In Calibre | preferences | Sending books to devices: change "Metadata management" to Automatic. Attach your ereader to activate.

4 (If necessary, copy the ebooks to the reader again.)

5. When you open your ereader, page through your books. As you page through, you can see the ereader updating the thumbnails.


Some combination of the above five steps worked for me. Unfortunately, I don't know which of the steps are necessary and which are not.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:05 PM   #3
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delete the books from your sony, unplug it. re-connect it and resend the books. That should be sufficient.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:11 PM   #4
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Also, when in Calibre, click on "Edit metadata" and then on "Fetch Metadata from Server." This will show you several entries for the same book. Make sure you check "Automatically download the cover." In the latest version of Calibre, you will see a check mark if the version you chose has a cover.

If you don't like the cover that is downloaded, just remove the IBSN number and try again. It is also worthwhile to to sign up for the free account at isbndb.com.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:14 PM   #5
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I had already deleted the books on the reader and even in Calibre and re-imported them, converted epub to epub, changed the covers and then sent them to the reader again. I will try the other suggestions; maybe the reader holds onto thumbnails even after deleting?
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:28 PM   #6
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OK, this time it worked. I think what happened originally is that I did the epub to epub before changing the covers; I was just doing that to make sure the DRM was stripped. Does it get stripped when imported or only when doing conversions?

This time I had the covers in place then converted and now they are showing up right on the reader. thanks.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catsknit View Post
OK, this time it worked. I think what happened originally is that I did the epub to epub before changing the covers; I was just doing that to make sure the DRM was stripped. Does it get stripped when imported or only when doing conversions?
We don't give advice on DRM removal but the plugin is designed to operate on import.

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This time I had the covers in place then converted and now they are showing up right on the reader. thanks.
Glad to see it's working for you.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:41 PM   #8
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I think Kovid's advice may only work if you also go into preferences -> Sending books to devices, and enable automatic metadata management.

What happens is that Calibre sends the epub along with the configured thumbnail, but when the Sony sees a new book it extracts the original/ugly cover. Enabling automatic metadata management will cause Calibre to overwrite the cover on the next connect. Since it's no longer a 'new' book the Sony will stop overwriting it.

Converting epub -> epub is a more permanent fix, but a bit more drastic. Probably best to use the Tweak epub feature and manually change out the image, but that does require a bit of knowledge about how epub works.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ldolse View Post
What happens is that Calibre sends the epub along with the configured thumbnail, but when the Sony sees a new book it extracts the original/ugly cover. Enabling automatic metadata management will cause Calibre to overwrite the cover on the next connect. Since it's no longer a 'new' book the Sony will stop overwriting it.
@catsknit - ldolse makes a good point but if you want this to work automatically I believe you have to check some boxes in Sony's Device interface plugin (see attached).
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:27 PM   #10
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@catsknit,

dwanthny is correct and to add a little more detail...

The Sony x50 devices, in their wisdom, always extract the thumbnail from the book when a book is new. Developer chaley tried many things to stop this happening. I helped with the testing. No magic method has been found and maybe never will be.

However, the 2 checkboxes in the Sony Device Interface plugin, shown in dwanthy's post above can improve things.
  1. This is what will happen if you check both boxes Upload separate cover thumbnails... and Refresh separate covers...
    When you Send to Device some new books Calibre will also send thumbnails based on the Calibre covers. When you disconnect the Sony, it will throw away the Calibre thumbnails and extract its own from each book. When you simply reconnect the Sony to Calibre a second time, Calibre will send Calibre thumbnails again. This time they will 'stick'. This works for all Sony formats (epub, pdf, rtf, txt) whether they are DRM'd or not.

    This is the 'easiest' way to keep your Sony thumbnails in sync with Calibre covers. However, if you have a large number of books on the Sony, refreshing the thumbnails every time you connect the Sony may be rather slow.
  2. This is what will happen if you check just one box Upload separate cover thumbnails...
    When you Send to Device some new books Calibre will also send thumbnails based on the Calibre covers. When you disconnect the Sony, it will throw away the Calibre thumbnails and extract its own from each book. If you Send to Device a second time (only the books with a "wrong" thumbnail necessary) Calibre will send Calibre thumbnails again. This time they will 'stick'. This also works for all Sony formats whether they are DRM'd or not.

    This is not as convenient but there will be no performance penalty each time you connect the Sony to Calibre.
My advice would be to try checking both boxes and see whether the performance is acceptable. If it isn't uncheck Refresh separate covers...


On the other hand, if you only ever send non-DRM epubs to your Sony and these epubs have been created by Calibre with the correct cover, the thumbnail the Sony automatically extracts after the initial Send to Device will be correct first time and you can leave both boxes unchecked.

Confusing, I know, but hope this explains the current situation.

*** Edit: As of Calibre v7.44 the problems detailed above have been fixed. Thumbnails are now created correctly first time ***

Last edited by jackie_w; 02-04-2011 at 06:37 PM. Reason: Calibre v7.44 fixes thumbnail problems
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:51 PM   #11
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Root of problem?

The root issue is not restricted to Sony Readers.
I have just started evaluating Calibre to manage my ePub library for my iPad.
I have imported a couple of hundred ePubs, and gone through them and updated the covers of those I didnt like with better ones - this would be a very common first step for Calibre users I would imagine, its the next most important thing after getting your book in the right format for your reader of choice, getting a cover that actually inspires you to read it rather than wanting to barf.
And yet this very simple step is not actually simple in Calibre. The new cover doesnt show up in iTunes or on the device itself when the updated title is dragged from the Calibre library.
It looks like just updating the cover in "Edit metadata" should do it, but it doesnt. Calibre now shows the new cover, but doesnt actually update the ePub! It doesnt tell you anywhere its not updating the ePub.
Its not in the FAQ.
In fact everything in the help section would make you think you only had to edit the metadata via the menus, but its not true.
It actually looks like you need to manually save the file as another version to pickup the changes - which just seems crazy! Why do we have to go through all that, having either multiple copies of the same file, or risking screwing up a nicely formatted ePub by 're-converting' over the top of it!
Am I missing something, or is changing the cover this counter-intuitive?

Last edited by BoyWombat; 01-29-2011 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:56 PM   #12
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Covers should, if I remember correctly, be updated on the book files on export from the library, just like the rest of the metadata (the export options are "save to disk" and "send to device"). If the file has DRM, the update may not happen, though.
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Old 01-29-2011, 02:38 PM   #13
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It looks like just updating the cover in "Edit metadata" should do it, but it doesnt. Calibre now shows the new cover, but doesnt actually update the ePub! It doesnt tell you anywhere its not updating the ePub.
Its not in the FAQ.
In fact everything in the help section would make you think you only had to edit the metadata via the menus, but its not true.
It actually looks like you need to manually save the file as another version to pickup the changes - which just seems crazy! Why do we have to go through all that, having either multiple copies of the same file, or risking screwing up a nicely formatted ePub by 're-converting' over the top of it!
Am I missing something, or is changing the cover this counter-intuitive?
You are not meant to ever manually extract files from the Calibre library folders by accessing the files outside Calibre. If you do it using one of the recommended ways (such as Save to Disk, or Send to Device) then the file WILL be updated. As you found simply changing it via the metadata editor has not actually changed it in the underlying ebook file held within the Calibre library folders.

Part of the reason for this is that the process of updating a cover is potentially destructive, so Calibre does not change its own internal copy unless it really has to or unless you explicitly tell it do do so.
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:35 PM   #14
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I'm having trouble with about 1/2 the covers not displaying properly on my Sony PRS-350. Instead of the cover graphic, it's a plain white page with the title and author.

The Calibre Library has correct covers for every book. If it didn't, I loaded my own cover through edit metadata. Then I plug in the device, upload to device, but still about 1/2 of them show the plain white text page only. I tried deleting the books from the 350, and noticed that the thumbnail image remains so I manually removed any leftover. Then sent the books to the device again, and same thing happens with same books, the thumbnail is the plain white text page. It doesn't matter if I send multiple or single books at a time.

I changed Metadata management in Preferences to Automatic management, and that didn't help at all. I tried resizing the original images thinking they were too narrow and when they were turned into thumbnails, the size was causing the problem, but that didn't work either.

What I finally did was to just edit the thumbnails directly on the Sony using my original color image and resizing it to 168x217 in greyscale.

Although I really don't mind doing the edits manually, I'd prefer the program do it correctly in the first place but can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. I'm using the newest Calibre, 0.7.43.
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:46 PM   #15
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I'm having trouble with about 1/2 the covers not displaying properly on my Sony PRS-350. Instead of the cover graphic, it's a plain white page with the title and author.
Did you customize Preferences - Plugins - Device Interface - Sony as per post #10 above.
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