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Old 07-29-2013, 11:17 PM   #1
smallhagrid
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Unhappy Conversion: Woe upon me.

I am not a coder of any sort.
I am grateful to those who ARE coders for the hard work they do which is very much beyond my abilities.

I am just a boring old guy who likes very much to read fiction.

After trying a number of devices I figured out what is best for me, and:
In the realm of content ALL that matters to me is the story; I don't give a hoot about covers, TOC, nuttin but the story, thanks.

As a result I am finally also facing the conversion of ALOT of ebooks from an assortment of file formats to simple, plain TXT files.
(I thought I might use EPUB files, but even that was an excessive idea for me.)

A while back I asked about conversions in this posting:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=196946
(Actually I've asked a few times altogether, each a little bit differently...)

And much to my chagrin was basically told it was Calibre, or bust.
I got cold sweats, turned bright green and could not sleep for days after hearing that - so I contented myself with reading what was already ready for my use and forgot about the entire subject for months...until now...(urp).

I have long hoped that somehow, someone would create an alternative to that which frightens me so badly - but apparently this is just not to be and Calibre remains the dominant force even after so much time has passed.

So I'm facing my doom because I want to read that which must first be converted.

And here it goes...:

There were around 600 titles in Palm format which were of zero use to me as-is, so I re-visited that thread (mentioned above) to be reminded of what it suggested.
Then I created a separate partition for the anticipated mess, got Calibre Portable ready - and added the books.
That part went OK - but after that...well...
The tirade begins below here, so be warned=>

The source was 50 folders named by author containing different amounts of titles in each.
ALL were known, titled works and there were ZERO sub-folders for each author.

The results ?!?

1.
Hours of waiting and watching a dominated PC because even with loads of RAM and multiple CPU cores Calibre was ALL that could be running during conversion. The cores were all mostly 100% used the whole time.

2.
EVERYTHING was renamed and relocated, and VERY badly.

3.
The horrid thing rearranged what had been very neatly sorted by author in the original 50 folders into a huge mess of around 300 folders with insane naming - some author's names, some kludged up titles, some numbers only, and worst of all=> the dreaded UNKNOWN folder.

4.
Somehow the UNKNOWN folder had in it another 300+ subfolders, also insanely named.

5.
Each of the aforemention folders in this mess had AT LEAST another sub-folder within it before the files could be gotten to.

6.
A goodly number of files failed to convert, error messages resulting - which kept me having to respond every few minutes for all this time.

All said and done - it will now take me DAYS and DAYS to clean up this horrid mess and to put it back into any sort of sane order by author so that they may actually be found and used in my reader.

I am reminded of being told to 'just use Calibre to convert, remove the files, done' idea and my response is...:

JUST !?!?!?!
Just.... WHAT !?!?!?!
This is a nightmare of epic proportions - and assuredly makes me wish to avoid having this happening for the larger collection I will want converted at some point in the future.

I imagine a situation of equal absurdity, thusly:

**************************
It is a lovely sunny day, and 2 friends want to go cruise around a bit and maybe go dancing later.
The car is quite dirty though.

One says: I hadn't planned to wash the car today doggone it !!
The other says: Hey, how about the nifty new spot on Main st. that is a dance club with a carwash - and the wash is included in the cover ???
OK then, sounds great, let's go there.

Off they go and it's really nifty, there's a drive-up where you pay the cover, give the car to a valet, and go right into the club (after being warned that if you drink too much they get to keep your keys overnight).

Great place, great music, great dancing, and hours later it's time to go home.
So off they now go to collect the keys from the attendant and into the well-lit parking lot.

And there's the car - shining nicely...but something seems a bit odd about it...?

Upon closer inspection there is a lump on the roof that looks suspiciously like the gas pedal; all the glass seems to be solidly black and it's impossible to see inside the car...and then they open it up, and...oh my.

Somehow the seats are upside-down and backwards - stuck to the roof, the brake pedal is someplace in where the back of it used to be, and the steering wheel is finally found inside the trunk, where, somehow, there is now a spare tire that is...
Square ?!?

Angry to a huge degree they line up at the attendant's shack who is shrugging and cringing at all the yelling by the angry mob, muttering that something must have gone wrong, he guesses - and would y'all like to use the phone to get a tow truck ??

Assuming the car can be fixed AT ALL=> it will take a month or more and cost more than it's worth (at least) to fix it, so that's going to create a huge hardship.

And -=IF=- that car EVER gets fixed, after sitting in that garage's lot so long, it's going to need another washing doggone it !!!
**************************

My view of this process:

At the start of this there was ZERO mess, but alot of files that were useless to me as they were.

After using this wonderful, FREE tool there is now a mess beyond belief and some usable files.

There needs to be an easier, better way to batch convert files that one already has (And that have no DRM); maybe Mr. Goyal can 'just' add a setting to his work that allows importing & converting without ANY renaming and no rearrangement at all ?!?

In the simplest terms - all the above is why I do truly and sincerely despise using Calibre; it seems alot like trading in a nagging headache - to instead have a massive bleeding ulcer.
Not good.

That's my 5 cents, and I am sorry if it ruffles any feathers.
I simply believe that it needed to be said, and so here it is.

Last edited by smallhagrid; 07-29-2013 at 11:22 PM. Reason: eye kent spill tu gud.
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:54 PM   #2
DoctorOhh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallhagrid View Post
There were around 600 titles in Palm format which were of zero use to me as-is, so I re-visited that thread (mentioned above) to be reminded of what it suggested.
Then I created a separate partition for the anticipated mess, got Calibre Portable ready - and added the books.
That part went OK - but after that...well...
The tirade begins below here, so be warned=>
Adding the books did not go OK or the titles and authors would be all sorted properly prior to attempting the conversions. Doing a conversion does not alter the name or folder structure of calibre.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smallhagrid View Post
The source was 50 folders named by author containing different amounts of titles in each.
ALL were known, titled works and there were ZERO sub-folders for each author.
When adding these books it would be best to add one author folder at a time and make sure the newly added books have the proper author and title before moving to the next folder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smallhagrid View Post
Hours of waiting and watching a dominated PC because even with loads of RAM and multiple CPU cores Calibre was ALL that could be running during conversion. The cores were all mostly 100% used the whole time.
Calibre will use as much cpu during conversion as you allow. Personally I go to Preferences - Behavior and change Job priority from Normal to Low this will allow you to do other things while the conversion is taking place. Either way the cores will most likely run about 100%. You can limit the number jobs per core by going to Preferences - Miscellaneous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smallhagrid View Post
EVERYTHING was renamed and relocated, and VERY badly.
This happened during the adding books process and as I indicated you should tend to this step before trying to convert any books.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smallhagrid View Post
All said and done - it will now take me DAYS and DAYS to clean up this horrid mess and to put it back into any sort of sane order by author so that they may actually be found and used in my reader.
Your original source folder structure should have been unaffected by adding books to calibre. I would remove the books from calibre and start fresh by adding one author folder at a time as I indicated above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smallhagrid View Post
I am reminded of being told to 'just use Calibre to convert, remove the files, done' idea and my response is...:

...~~~...

There needs to be an easier, better way to batch convert files that one already has (And that have no DRM); maybe Mr. Goyal can 'just' add a setting to his work that allows importing & converting without ANY renaming and no rearrangement at all ?!?
The ability to batch convert books without adding any books to calibre already exists via the command line interface. I am not knowledgeable enough to give you guidance in this area but the manual covers the topic here. You would need to look specifically at ebook-convert.

Last edited by DoctorOhh; 07-30-2013 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:21 AM   #3
PeterT
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Why not use one of the command line suggestions from the previous thread; you would have to change the extensions on the input and output files from mobi and epub to whatever you desire.

There would be no crud; no extra directories; just a file with a different extension in the same location as the original.

I hate to say though that the reluctance to try to fully use a tool is a real shame. Yes; some of your loving configuration and happiness will be lost, but, try to seriously work with the tools.

After adding material, take the time to ensure that the datum for it is correct before rushing headstrong to conversion; take time to loving massage the author and title fields, maybe even the series info.

Only when the initial work is done start on the conversion exercise.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:41 PM   #4
Sabardeyn
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Smallhagrid,
I would suggest trying to add and convert books in vastly smaller quantities.

As DoctorOhh mentions, your Add Books process was not optimal. There are a number of possible reasons, but most likely you have "Use Metadata From Ebook" checked (probably misnamed here, but the option is similarly named in Preferences>Adding Books, I believe) which caused some metadata to be added from internal, hidden sources in the ebook file itself and not from the file name.

Secondly, if all of your ebooks don't follow an exact file naming scheme, then you will also have problems adding books based on the file name.

Take a look at my message in this topic: Tyrranasaurus Regex. Ignore all the Regex (or anything else that seems too technical), just look at the required format and read the warnings about how the import/adding process can be broken. Why is this relevant? Because if your filenames don't follow one exact scheme, adding them will result in a mess. For every naming scheme used, you would need a separate import regex. Your computer OS doesn't know what portion is a title, author or series. All it knows is the individual character string that makes up the unique file name. Calibre is slightly more intelligent, but only as good as the regex used to add books.

Remember also not to store your calibre library into the same folder as your original ebook source library. Calibre is going to make a single copy of each book in whatever folder you designate. But if you point it to your old library, you're going to have a library inside a library. (I don't think you did this, just figured I would mention it - just in case.)

At this point, your best bet might be to delete the entire messed-up calibre library and start all over again. Just make sure you didn't put a library in a library (as mentioned above) before deleting things or you might delete your original ebook files.

Last edited by Sabardeyn; 07-31-2013 at 09:45 PM.
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