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Old 07-16-2012, 11:39 AM   #1
horusofoz
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Lightbulb Feature Bounty - Audio Book Management/Player

I hope this is not considered rude or frowned upon. As a non-developer but appreciative user of Calibre I would like to offer a bounty to whoever is able to develop a feature for the application that I would like implemented. Again please understand it is not my intention to offend but to provide what direct support I can.

It is my request to develop audio book management.

I am aware of and appreciate the efforts of Jesse Chrisholm in developing a plugin capable of audio book management however the caveat of breaking series tracking functionality makes the plugin unusable in my library wherein I have made an effort to sort all series.

To any developer, Jesse included, interested in developing a solution to enable Calibre to manage audio books made up of multiple files in as seamless a manner as it does ebooks, I offer $100 USD upon delivery of a working beta and an additional $100 USD once the plugin is merged into the main Calibre application.

Expected features are as follows:
  • Ability to add single or multiple file audiobooks to Cailbre through the same process as required for regular ebooks (probably with an extra step to specify the multiple files required for the single book)
  • Ability to append audiobooks of single or multiple files to existing Calibre entries for text books.
  • Support for common audio formats.
  • Ability to edit metadata as per the usual or a modified version of metadata editor window.
  • Ability to copy to devices as per usual process.
  • Ability to download metadata by entering ISBN of text equivalent book.

I understand the financial incentive is not large considering the hourly wage a programmer normally receives however it is my humble offer.

Please note that I will only be paying the offers once each. If interested please reply to express your interest with any additional information below and I will select an submission in one week.

Again I hope I have not offended anyone with this request.

EDIT: 20/07/2012 Increased audio book management bounty from $50+100 to $100+$100 and removed player functionality bounty.

Last edited by horusofoz; 07-20-2012 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:18 PM   #2
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:27 AM   #3
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Just making a side note here without commenting on offering a bounty: Inclusion of functionality into the main Calibre package (as in the one you download from the page) is decided by Kovid, the main developer, not by any individual plugin developer. You might want to rethink offering anything for inclusion and/or restate your offering.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:46 AM   #4
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I am not a developer, but I will comment on your suggestions for the standpoint of a calibre user.

They strike me as just too much. Calibre already suffers from trying to cover everything. The user interface is not always, for new users particularly, easy to understand. This is caused by the cross platform nature of Calibre, to some degree, but it is also caused by the many many operations calibre can already perform.

To add all this additional functionality is like to create an impossibly complex piece of software. Calibre can be tricked into doing some of what you want. But you also want to add player technology in 3 operating systems. Kovid is one person who is helped along by others. The nightmare of trying to maintain the complex software you propose would be a headache for an organization of Microsoft's size.

Since the software is open source, it might be better to suggest a different project for others starting with some of Kovid's code base and re-aim it to accomplish to ends you are seeking. It might be possible to refer to the calibre database, once redesigned for network use, to accomplish what you want to do.

As a user, I don't want calibre to become any more complicated to address issues that don't pertain to me at all.
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:00 PM   #5
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I agree with mrmikel. But taste differs and one can always take interest only in issues pertaining to him. The OP means no harm. It is just that you happen not to care about audio books. A plugin to meet the OP's demand may be the best solution. Then again, I never use Calibre other than to convert books and fetch news, which is why I agree Calibre is already more complex than what most users would want.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:58 AM   #6
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@Manichean - Thanks for the heads up. I was not aware of the process. I will continue to offer as is for now and see what I can think of going forward.
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:15 PM   #7
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surely an audio book collection of files is like a collection of songs in an album. Equate album to a-book & use any media player / organiser, even microsoft's own free windows media player. - I don't see what functionality is lacking, except for some of the metadata nice-to-haves,
the equivalences are
author = artist
book = album
song = track
book cover = album cover art
metadata fields exist for genre, year, rating .... & lots more microsoft defined stuff that I never use but which could be adapted to suit e.g. read by = album artist

put the books in your music folder in windows using author / book title subfolders, then you have individual tracks in the loweest level folder. you can add cover art as folder.jpg to each folder if you so wish. then use playlists for playback . QED.

if you don't care for WMP there are lots of free alternative players which will organise & playback mp3 files , which is all an audio book is. ( & if you are an apple fan then itunes already does all you want, including send to portable device, retrieve metadata....)

Last edited by cybmole; 07-20-2012 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:48 AM   #8
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I am going to quote a post I made over a year ago on this subject...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mangus580 View Post
Yanno, I love Calibre for my ebooks. It does an awesome job..... now, that said, i wish i could ingetrate my audio books as well. I understand the comments about movies & music, and I agree.

Audio books though, I feel should be included. Think about it. You have a book, and several formats of said book (epub, mobi, pdf - for instance). If you have it in mp3 format too, it should just be able to list that format as well, and offer it up to the user. I like to collect both, and it would be very nice to have all organized in the same manner.

I honestly think its a no brainer to add audiobook support to Calibre. I understand the issues around format conversion with audio - that doesnt need to be a feature (yet at least). But I dont see it being very hard to get it to recognize audio book files, and tag them appropriately just like ebooks. I suppose there might have to be some preference settings to tell it how to manage them for specific devices (as you may need to put your audio books in a different location than ebooks on your device).

Long story short... a book is a book... be it epub, mobi, pdf, azw, doc, mp3, etc... Makes sense for Calibre to be the end all 'electronic' book library, both e-book and audio...

I still feel the same way. I want to be able to look at book ABC and see what formats I have... be it epub of mp3...

I dont want to 'trick' the system either. There is no reason that calibre cant auto-zip a directory full of mp3 files (or whatever audio format) and add the zip to the library. In the thread where I post this before it was said that could make your library 'huge'... but who cares? Why would it matter?

Or like someone else said... create 2 library storage areas, referenced by the same database - one for ebooks, one for audio. Have calibre understand both. Allow the content server to serve out both.

Audio books are not just a 'music playlist' or collection of 'songs' like others have stated. They are a 'multi-part' book.

I also would be willing to partake in bounty payment for this functionality. Again - dont want to trick Calibre... just want it to work.


ETA - Obviously this company agrees with the concept... - http://www.bolidesoft.com/allmybooks.html

Last edited by mangus580; 09-01-2012 at 12:51 AM. Reason: added link
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Old 09-01-2012, 03:29 AM   #9
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nah - to do audio books properly you'd want different metadata - like bit rate / momo/stereo ( both those to indicate recording quality), read by ( = performed by)

all that stuff ALREADY EXISTS in itunes/ windows media player, along with support for cover art, full playback controls....

just put a column in calibre to say " I have this also as an audio book" & use a MEDIA library for the MEDIA - duh!

otherwise you'll next be wanting a calibre "player", support for m4b bookmarks.... mp3/aac/m4a/m4b conversions

then its onto can we include radio play adaptions...

followed by hey I have the movie of the book can I put that in calibre also ?

& I want calibre to convert my .mkv movie into .wmv. & stream it to my xbox

you already have a universal format library and playback manager - it's called WINDOWS

Last edited by cybmole; 09-01-2012 at 03:32 AM.
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybmole View Post
nah - to do audio books properly you'd want different metadata - like bit rate / momo/stereo ( both those to indicate recording quality), read by ( = performed by)

all that stuff ALREADY EXISTS in itunes/ windows media player, along with support for cover art, full playback controls....

just put a column in calibre to say " I have this also as an audio book" & use a MEDIA library for the MEDIA - duh!

otherwise you'll next be wanting a calibre "player", support for m4b bookmarks.... mp3/aac/m4a/m4b conversions

then its onto can we include radio play adaptions...

followed by hey I have the movie of the book can I put that in calibre also ?

& I want calibre to convert my .mkv movie into .wmv. & stream it to my xbox

you already have a universal format library and playback manager - it's called WINDOWS
Most of that stuff can exist in any MP3 file via ID3 tags.

How often do you select an MP3 BY its bit rate or # of channels .
That is nice to know stuff like Publisher, publication date ( I don't think I have ever chosen a book to read by Publisher or published date, in my 60 years of reading. I have gone looking for earlier editions. )
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:06 PM   #11
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Put a file link to the MP3 in the Comments - it's HTML so something like
Code:
<a href="file:///whatever.mp3/">MP3 File</a>
should do the trick. You'd then play it from Book Details - click on it and it should invoke whatever program you have associated with MP3's - WMP, WinAmp, Squawkbox etc - Note Calibre needs to have triple slash in file & folder URI's.

If you make a long text Custom column for it then it wont get clobbered if you happen to do a metadata comments download from Amazon etc.

Below are a couple of screen shots of the metadata editor and how the Book Details might be arranged to accommodate audio books. One could imagine movies and TV miniseries being handled similarly.

Calibre can be stretched quite a long way via the use of URI links to files, folders, Internet Web & FTP sites etc. A Custom Column of long text, can act as the container because it is HTML. I'm surprised its not 'more widely' used - maybe it is - and I've just not seen it mentioned. I haven't tried any Javascript yet, but maybe one would have to use CherryPy - don't laugh there is such a thing. The software industry is almost as good at confecting short lived derivatives as they are on Wall Street & at The City casino.

The Related Materials tables you see in the screen shots, is how I'm starting to deal with the "Supplementary Files" issue, its come up several times in this forum in just the few months I've been using Calibre. I will write something up in the next few days - its actually worked out easier than I thought.

If Audio Books were an issue for me then I'd probably utilize another table with details like Reader, duration etc. Some book reading audios are in 'episodes' so one might need separate entries for each episode, a tabular approach would be useful in that circumstance. you'd want that for TV miniseries too.

BR
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:52 PM   #12
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Most of that stuff can exist in any MP3 file via ID3 tags.

How often do you select an MP3 BY its bit rate or # of channels .
very often - i would never buy an mp3 which has been compressed to 128 or lower. Rather than do that would opt for buying the CD & ripping it myself at a higher bit rate.

For music I want at least 192, voice can be much lower but a bit rate of say 32 or less could indicate that the original source was low quality cassette tape & you can expect fuzzyness / drop outs. recorded in mono is also often a sign of an old book reading which is being re-packed as a "new" CD version.

the ID3 tags are there so that a good media player, with customisable columns will show you exactly what you want -to see, no more, no less. it's part of may case for arguing NOT to add audio support to calibre as it already exists in so much other software

we get many audio books from local lending libraries for my ageing mother-in-law & there are big quality differences as you go from book to book. And quality matters when choosing for older folks whose hearing is not what it used to be!

as another example , a while ago I tracked down a MP3 copy of author William Gibson reading his book Neuromancer.
This was probably originally recorded on cassette tape in mid-80s, and the audio quality was so bad that it was better to pass on hearing the author read his own work & instead get a modern professionally read version
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cybmole View Post
very often - i would never buy an mp3 which has been compressed to 128 or lower. Rather than do that would opt for buying the CD & ripping it myself at a higher bit rate.

For music I want at least 192, voice can be much lower but a bit rate of say 32 or less could indicate that the original source was low quality cassette tape & you can expect fuzzyness / drop outs. recorded in mono is also often a sign of an old book reading which is being re-packed as a "new" CD version.

the ID3 tags are there so that a good media player, with customisable columns will show you exactly what you want -to see, no more, no less. it's part of may case for arguing NOT to add audio support to calibre as it already exists in so much other software

we get many audio books from local lending libraries for my ageing mother-in-law & there are big quality differences as you go from book to book. And quality matters when choosing for older folks whose hearing is not what it used to be!

as another example , a while ago I tracked down a MP3 copy of author William Gibson reading his book Neuromancer.
This was probably originally recorded on cassette tape in mid-80s, and the audio quality was so bad that it was better to pass on hearing the author read his own work & instead get a modern professionally read version
Your point on Quality is valid, But as you also pointed out, you would take care of that BEFORE adding it to a Library.
BTW This duck started his audio collection before the 'Stereo LP' was available in stores
Dropouts for well cared for tape should not be a problem (looks at shelf of Quad open reel tape )
Copies of copies always = cr*p (wow, flutter and poor speed control in cheap DC motors)
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:25 AM   #14
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Your point on Quality is valid, But as you also pointed out, you would take care of that BEFORE adding it to a Library.
..
you are right - I did not think that through fully.

the "use custom columns" solution a few posts back ( by BetterRed ) looks good & should satisfy most people.

I use calibre only for reading material,
I don't collect audio books ; I do have a collection of music tuition/playalong books - typically a PDF + a bunch of associated MP3 tracks, but I've never has any desire to put that stuff into calibre -
it goes into my windows 7 music library, with a spare copy of the PDFs in my windows documents library. . both those are very searchable & easy to backup. Music books are not the sort of PDFs that would ever convert well into e-book formats. In most cases I have the physical book + a dodgy downloaded scan ( convenient for printing single pages / displaying on monitor, as I don't want the hassle of scanning my own)

Last edited by cybmole; 09-05-2012 at 03:28 AM.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:21 AM   #15
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Put a file link to the MP3 in the Comments - it's HTML so something like
Code:
<a href="file:///whatever.mp3/">MP3 File</a>
should do the trick. You'd then play it from Book Details - click on it and it should invoke whatever program you have associated with MP3's - WMP, WinAmp, Squawkbox etc - Note Calibre needs to have triple slash in file & folder URI's.

...

Calibre can be stretched quite a long way via the use of URI links to files, folders, Internet Web & FTP sites etc. A Custom Column of long text, can act as the container because it is HTML. I'm surprised its not 'more widely' used - maybe it is - and I've just not seen it mentioned. I haven't tried any Javascript yet,

...

BR
Thanks a lot for this trick!!
It is indeed very powerful; but please post at least an small HOWTO. Did you manage the Javascript part?
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