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Old 09-30-2010, 07:51 AM   #1
windmill
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Calibre and book covers to Sony reader

Another e-reader newbie here.

I received my Sony e-reader recently. After struggling with the Sony software for a while I concluded that I had lost that battle. Then I found this forum and discovered Calibre. This made me win the war.

I already had a few books in PDF format but without metadata. Calibre had no problem in finding that metadata and also found the book covers. Sending the data to the e-reader was also very easy with Calibre. However, I noticed one thing: the book covers were not transferred to the e-reader. If I look at the books on the e-reader in thumbnail format I don’t see them. Vice versa: the e-reader came with some sample texts and these had book covers with them. I copied those texts from the e-reader to my computer (into the Calibre library). The book covers are visible in the library on my PC.

Did I do something wrong? Or is there another reason why these book covers are not visible on the e-reader?

Computer: Windows XP pro, SP3
e-reader: Sony PRS-600
Calibre version: 0.7.20
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:01 AM   #2
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If I'm remembering correctly, the covers get updated when you make a conversion. Just use the same format for input and output, and the metadata gets updated.

A word of advice, though: PDF is not really an optimal ebook format, some might even argue that it's not an ebook format at all. While I don't want to get into that discussion, you might want to consider using a format like e.g. ePub for any new books you get.
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windmill View Post
... However, I noticed one thing: the book covers were not transferred to the e-reader. If I look at the books on the e-reader in thumbnail format I don’t see them. Vice versa: the e-reader came with some sample texts and these had book covers with them. I copied those texts from the e-reader to my computer (into the Calibre library). The book covers are visible in the library on my PC.

Did I do something wrong? Or is there another reason why these book covers are not visible on the e-reader?
Thumbnails on sonys haven't worked for some time, as far as I can tell. Try the beta (or wait until it is production), and let us know if things work better.
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Old 10-02-2010, 04:39 AM   #4
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Thank you all for your replies.
For the time being will I simply not use the thumbnail view until a good solution is available. As I am not very familiar yet with e-readers and the related software, do I think that I am not the right person to "debug" beta software.
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Old 10-02-2010, 04:41 AM   #5
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The beta is now the production release, released as 0.7.21. Let us know if things work better.
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Old 10-02-2010, 11:01 AM   #6
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I have a made a thread that explains how to make your own thumbnails, after you send the ebooks with Calibre to the new Sony eReaders (*50 models), if you're experienced with image manipulating softwares (like Photoshop) :

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=99560
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:57 AM   #7
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@chaley: thanks. I downloaded and installed the new version. Unfortunately did it not solve the issue I highlighted. And I did not expect so, as there were no remarks about thumbnails in the version 0.7.21 changelog.

@Squirsier: thanks. I do understand the procedure you explain in that thread. But I will be honest and admit that I am too lazy to do this for all books individually. It would be great if Calibre could do this automatically.
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:05 AM   #8
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@chaley: thanks. I downloaded and installed the new version. Unfortunately did it not solve the issue I highlighted. And I did not expect so, as there were no remarks about thumbnails in the version 0.7.21 changelog.
Yes, we were talking about different things. I changed calibre's code so that calibre's thumbnails are stored in the device cache and passed back to calibre for the device view.
Quote:
@Squirsier: thanks. I do understand the procedure you explain in that thread. But I will be honest and admit that I am too lazy to do this for all books individually. It would be great if Calibre could do this automatically.
I didn't know that the *50 readers have a thumbnail view. It should be possible to change calibre as needed, but as I don't have one (I have a 300) and cannot test, I won't attempt to do the work. My experience with writing code to control a Sony is that there is *always* a gotcha, and remote/cross-release debugging is too painful. Perhaps another developer who has access to one will come along. Hey -- then I could give away maintenance on the sony drivers! Please, other developer, come along.
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Old 10-03-2010, 02:21 PM   #9
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IIRC all SONY devices extract the cover from the book and use that in the browse by cover view. Why would you need separate thumbnails, unless you are sending formats that dont support covers (PDF, TXT)?
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Old 10-03-2010, 02:26 PM   #10
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IIRC all SONY devices extract the cover from the book and use that in the browse by cover view. Why would you need separate thumbnails, unless you are sending formats that dont support covers (PDF, TXT)?
The claim being made is the the *50 readers have a separate thumbnail hierarchy, that the device puts ugly B&W thumbnails in there, and that nicer higher-res ones work if they magically appear there.
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Old 10-03-2010, 02:37 PM   #11
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The claim being made is the the *50 readers have a separate thumbnail hierarchy, that the device puts ugly B&W thumbnails in there, and that nicer higher-res ones work if they magically appear there.
I suspect you could achieve the same effect by increasing the THUMBNAIL_HEIGHT parameter in the SONY drivers.
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Old 10-03-2010, 02:59 PM   #12
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The thumbnails are indeed B&W renditions of the covers and are very compressed (to save space, most probably). Obviously, with a large book collection, this could take a while to redo. I had 90 books to do. I ended up resizing them to the same resolution too (142x217) to make a coherent display (ie, no large thumbnails next to a thin one, etc...). Yes, I am a freak :P

As for Calibre doing it automatically, I don't see how. I made a test ; I sent the thumbnail using the proper file hierarchy in the thumbnails folder right after I sent an eBook (that folder had to be created, as the Sony Reader will only do so after you disconnect it from the computer) and the Reader ended up creating its own anyway. So I had to re-connect and save that new thumbnail again.

Which means that even if Calibre were to send thumbnails alongside the eBooks using the proper structure, the Reader would still re-create them when disconnected.
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:16 PM   #13
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As for Calibre doing it automatically, I don't see how. I made a test ; I sent the thumbnail using the proper file hierarchy in the thumbnails folder right after I sent an eBook (that folder had to be created, as the Sony Reader will only do so after you disconnect it from the computer) and the Reader ended up creating its own anyway. So I had to re-connect and save that new thumbnail again.

Which means that even if Calibre were to send thumbnails alongside the eBooks using the proper structure, the Reader would still re-create them when disconnected.
Sonys are extremely particular about dates. Probably it checks the date of the thumbnail against the date of the book file and some magic date in its database. If it doesn't smell right , it is rebuilt.

You can't imagine the trouble we have had defeating the Sony's date checking for books. It sometimes knows about timezones (how? unclear), and changes the comparison of the DB date against the file date. Sometimes it uses the tz variable in the database, and sometimes it doesn't.

In fact, I am surprised that your new thumbnails survive a plug/unplug.
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:41 PM   #14
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In fact, I am surprised that your new thumbnails survive a plug/unplug.
With Calibre, they do. I discovered yesterday that if you plug the reader and load the Sony Software, ALL the thumbnails get magically shrunk back to 58 pixels in height instead of 217 when you disconnect it. Never happened with Calibre!
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Old 10-04-2010, 08:34 AM   #15
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IIRC all SONY devices extract the cover from the book and use that in the browse by cover view. Why would you need separate thumbnails, unless you are sending formats that dont support covers (PDF, TXT)?
This might be the answer to the issue I raised. I am talking about transferring PDF files. I guessed that the PDF file and the metadata cover picture might somehow been sent together to the reader, as if they were a pair of files that belong together. This guess was not based on any knowledge and turns out to be incorrect, judging from your analysis.

Quote:
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I didn't know that the *50 readers have a thumbnail view.
I have a Sony PRS-600.
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