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Old 12-28-2010, 03:34 PM   #1
BadGandalf
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Import books from excel, csv or similar list?

Hi,

I'm new to calibre (fantastic app, by the way!). Until now I used to maintain a list of my paper books database in excel, with author, title, editorial and so on. With my eBook collection growing fast I was wondering if there would be an option to move my old database into Calibre. I know about the ISBN import possibility but my paper book collection is very big (+2000) and I really do not feel like going through all of the to note down the ISBN...

Any ideas that would help? Thnx a lot,

Ignacio
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:30 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by BadGandalf View Post
Hi,

I'm new to calibre (fantastic app, by the way!). Until now I used to maintain a list of my paper books database in excel, with author, title, editorial and so on. With my eBook collection growing fast I was wondering if there would be an option to move my old database into Calibre. I know about the ISBN import possibility but my paper book collection is very big (+2000) and I really do not feel like going through all of the to note down the ISBN...

Any ideas that would help? Thnx a lot,

Ignacio
I think you might be scuppered in terms of existing functionality in Calibre? There are two suggestions I can offer but am sure someone else will offer a better one if it exists:

(1) Write a custom UI plugin to read your CSV file and create books for each row. This would allow you to retain your editorial data if that is important to you and whatever other columns that have a Calibre equivalent.

(2) Either write a macro in Excel or knock up your own standalone exe/script to create a directory structure of fake books named to match your calibre regex for each row in the csv. Each "book" could just be an empty text file. Then just bulk import to Calibre, and use the "Remove format" menu option to delete the fake book formats, and do a metadata retrieval to populate descriptions, covers etc.
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:57 AM   #3
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Thnks for the suggestions. Unfortunatelly both are way out of my knowledge so I'll have to keep the two databases for now. Rgds,

Ignacio
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Old 12-29-2010, 04:40 AM   #4
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Another possibility is to write a batch file/script that processes the CSV file and uses the calibredb command to add each book in turn.
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:52 AM   #5
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Another possibility is to write a batch file/script that processes the CSV file and uses the calibredb command to add each book in turn.
Indeed, the easiest of all. BadGandalf, you don't even need scripting knowledge to do that one, you could just make an extra column in your spreadsheet which is a formula that builds up the text representing a command line to calibredb. The options are all documented here. Then just grab that column of values generated, paste them into a new text file and save it as a name ending in .bat and you can then run it to actually create a whole bunch of empty book entries. The only data you will be able to specify is title and author from your spreadsheet, but you can populate whatever else from a normal metadata retrieval anyway and fill in gaps from your spreadsheet manually.

You would want to test it on a single book first (I've never used the command line myself) but if you had title in column A and author in column B the formula could look something like this:
=CONCATENATE("calibredb.exe -e -authors """&B1&""" -title """&A1&"""")
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:48 PM   #6
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Yes!
The command is slightly different: =CONCATENATE("calibredb.exe add -e -a """&B1&""" -t """&A1&""""), but it works!!!!

You're great. Thnks,

Ignacio

Last edited by BadGandalf; 12-30-2010 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:42 AM   #7
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I had the same question, how to get metadata from Excel into empty books. Your solution worked for me too on Mac OS X, after dropping the .exe off the calibredb command. You guys are awesome. Thx.


1. Formula in new column on Excel spreadsheet containing a table of Title & Author metadata, filled down to end row of table (for Mac OS X, it's calibredb, for Windows it's calibredb.exe):

=CONCATENATE("calibredb add -e -a """&Table1[@Author]&""" -t """&Table1[@Title]&"""")

yields list of values in that column that looks like this:

calibredb add -e -a "Abercrombie, Joe" -t "Best Served Cold"
calibredb add -e -a "Acevedo, Mario" -t "Jailbait Zombies"
calibredb add -e -a "Acevedo, Mario" -t "Werewolf Smackdown"
calibredb add -e -a "Adrian, Lara" -t "Kiss of Midnight"
calibredb add -e -a "Adrian, Lara" -t "Kiss of Crimson"


2. No need to write script or create other file, on Mac. I copied the range of values and pasted it directly into Terminal window, yielding:
.
Mac-5:~ unboggling$ calibredb add -e -a "Abercrombie, Joe" -t "Best Served Cold"
Backing up metadata
Notifying calibre of the change
Mac-5:~ unboggling$ calibredb add -e -a "Acevedo, Mario" -t "Jailbait Zombies"
Backing up metadata
Notifying calibre of the change
Mac-5:~ unboggling$ calibredb add -e -a "Acevedo, Mario" -t "Werewolf Smackdown"
Backing up metadata
Notifying calibre of the change
Mac-5:~ unboggling$ calibredb add -e -a "Adrian, Lara" -t "Kiss of Midnight"
Backing up metadata
Notifying calibre of the change
Mac-5:~ unboggling$ calibredb add -e -a "Adrian, Lara" -t "Kiss of Crimson"
Backing up metadata
Notifying calibre of the change


And that's it, except for populating metadata in the new empty books from the metadata sites.
Awesome. Thx again.

Last edited by unboggling; 01-06-2011 at 11:31 PM. Reason: changed my name
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:45 AM   #8
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Though I'm not sure how big the clipboard buffer is. With many thousands of records it might need a script after all.
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Old 01-05-2011, 03:34 AM   #9
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Mino worked with over 2000 books. Rgds, Ignacio
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Old 01-05-2011, 03:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwidude View Post
or knock up your own standalone exe/script to create a directory structure of fake books named to match your calibre regex for each row in the csv. Each "book" could just be an empty text file. Then just bulk import to Calibre, and use the "Remove format" menu option to delete the fake book formats
Note this issue. If you did create a fake book, it doesn't seem wise to remove it. The way I added empty books above without a script, I didn't create a fake book for each empty book. Without a fake book format file along with the metadata for an empty book, calibre seems to ignore it when bulk sending to disk. So that empty book metadata is lost for that send/backup. Or did I miss a tweak or hidden feature somewhere?
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:19 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by unboggling View Post
Note this issue. If you did create a fake book, it doesn't seem wise to remove it. The way I added empty books above without a script, I didn't create a fake book for each empty book. Without a fake book format file along with the metadata for an empty book, calibre seems to ignore it when bulk sending to disk. So that empty book metadata is lost for that send/backup. Or did I miss a tweak or hidden feature somewhere?
I'm a bit confused, why would you want to do a "send to disk" for a book that you don't actually have an electronic version of? AFAIK Calibre is doing exactly what I would expect it to do in that situation.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:02 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by unboggling View Post
Without a fake book format file along with the metadata for an empty book, calibre seems to ignore it when bulk sending to disk.
I'm curious though did you have the options (Preferences - Saving books to disk) of Save cover separately and Save metadata in OPF file checked?

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So that empty book metadata is lost for that send/backup. Or did I miss a tweak or hidden feature somewhere?
Sending to disk isn't designed as a backup solution. The metadata is stored in the metadata.db file.

To effectively backup your entire library, copy the library folder and all contents and the configuration folder and contents to a backup location. You can do incremental syncs between the two locations (local and backup) nightly to keep your backup current.

Last edited by DoctorOhh; 01-05-2011 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:03 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by kiwidude View Post
I'm a bit confused, why would you want to do a "send to disk" for a book that you don't actually have an electronic version of? AFAIK Calibre is doing exactly what I would expect it to do in that situation.
I see your point. I was thinking about overall consistency in metadata in the db, but that's already covered by the empty book metadata. How about consistency in the files? Thinking further about it, yes, there's no need I can think of. Thx for the response.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:33 AM   #14
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I see your point. I was thinking about overall consistency in metadata in the db, but that's already covered by the empty book metadata. How about consistency in the files? Thinking further about it, yes, there's no need I can think of. Thx for the response.
Something that might be of interest: calibre automatically creates an OPF file in the book folder in the library. This file will be created whether or not there are any book formats. Its purpose in life is to permit rebuilding the database in the event the db gets corrupted and the user has no backup.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:43 AM   #15
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How about consistency in the files? Thinking further about it, yes, there's no need I can think of. Thx for the response.
Scratch that. Here's a case needing consistency in files as well as metadata.

I need to bulk change a bunch of metadata in the format files on a bunch of books, both e and p, because i just changed from FN LN to LN, FN in authors and I want to incorporate all those metadata changes in the actual book format files which I had previously set to contain the old FN LN metadata.

Normally as I understand it I accomplish this by doing a send to disk then creating a new library and then bulk adding all my books to it. But, the empty books in Library1 aren't there in Library2. What do I have to do to get them there? Add them to Library2, which is a clunky should-be-unnecessary extra step.

And if I later add eBook formats to those empty book files, as I gradually convert from p to e, I'll have inconsistent metadata within my library and have to hand edit it when that could have been avoided.

It's not a huge issue. A temporary solution now would be for me to write a script for empty txt files after all, as earlier suggested in this thread. I assume in a send to disk, calibre would write the new metadata to the dud-book empty txt files if I had them, which would solve the problem.

But it is a consistency issue. There may be other cases.
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