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Old 03-22-2011, 12:30 PM   #1
TheD0ct0r
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Update metadata without re-converting?

I have several .epub books that have no cover. I have the "Update meta in saved copies" option checked, but when I loaded them into Calibre, downloaded the covers, then resaved them to disk, the covers were not updated.

If I convert them from epub to epub then save to disk the metadata gets updated.

Is there a way to force an update of the metadata in the Calibre GUI without reconverting? Or, can the command-line utility ebook-meta be configured to download metadata?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:33 PM   #2
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If your original epubs have a well defined cover, it will be updated. Unfortunately, many epubs do not, instead using the "first page" of the actual content as a cover.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:39 PM   #3
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These are epubs converted from other formats, and have no cover at all. In this instance, the only way to add a cover is to convert?

What about this:

If I convert from pdf to epub using the command-line utility ebook-convert, can I then slip a bogus cover into the epub using the command-line utility ebook-meta, then update the cover and the other metadata in the GUI without having to convert again?
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:49 PM   #4
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No. if your epub has no cover then the only way to add a cover is to convert.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:56 PM   #5
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Thanks. I appreciate your time.
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:06 PM   #6
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Bump to a few months old thread...

As far as I can tell, there's still no way to update the metadata & cover of a file without reconverting, correct?

It would be really handy to be able to change the cover on an epub without running a whole reconvert. Once in a while I've found the re-conversion does something undesirable to an epub. In those cases I've been cracking the epub open with sigil and swapping the cover image with the new one...seems like the kind of action Calibre would be great at.

Is there any reason there's not an open feature request for this? I didn't see any requests for it on the Calibre bug tracker...? Maybe it would difficult for some reason? It would be nice to be able to update that stuff without re-processing a whole book...

Last edited by GreenMonkey; 06-14-2011 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:43 PM   #7
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You can always use the tweak ePub feature for exchanging the cover.
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:46 PM   #8
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Calibre will already update the cover in an ePub if you use the Save to Disk or Send to Device options as long as the ePub is correctly identified in the ePub so that Calibre can easily lacteals it.

However many epubs do not have their cover correctly identified and then you need to either do a conversion or to change the cover by manipulating the ePub manually.
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:46 PM   #9
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Or you could try the Modify ePub plugin on this thread...
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=134249

The latest beta version is on the last post.
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manichean View Post
You can always use the tweak ePub feature for exchanging the cover.
Yeah. I was doing that also. I'm finding using Sigil is best for me since I can double check if it calls out the cover size in the html.

Quote:
Originally Posted by itimpi View Post
Calibre will already update the cover in an ePub if you use the Save to Disk or Send to Device options as long as the ePub is correctly identified in the ePub so that Calibre can easily lacteals it.

However many epubs do not have their cover correctly identified and then you need to either do a conversion or to change the cover by manipulating the ePub manually.
Yeah. My success rate so far...not so good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwidude View Post
Or you could try the Modify ePub plugin on this thread...
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=134249

The latest beta version is on the last post.
Thanks Kiwi. I was looking through your plugins but I didn't see this one did covers. I installed it - I'll give it a try.

Last edited by GreenMonkey; 06-15-2011 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
It would be really handy to be able to change the cover on an epub without running a whole reconvert. Once in a while I've found the re-conversion does something undesirable to an epub. In those cases I've been cracking the epub open with sigil and swapping the cover image with the new one...seems like the kind of action Calibre would be great at.
I always just reconvert, even when just updating series metadata. What are these undesirable changes? Serious question. When I have questionable output like page numbers etc, generally it is in the original source. But some files take longer to turn pages on my reader, could this be caused by converting too much?

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Old 06-18-2011, 04:10 AM   #12
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There are those books that originally come in the format you want to use. Those wouldn't need to be converted in the first place, doing so anyway may mess up formatting.
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
There are those books that originally come in the format you want to use. Those wouldn't need to be converted in the first place, doing so anyway may mess up formatting.
Guess I have been lucky so far in that none have been messed up so far that weren't messed up to start with.

I wasn't very clear in that I was asking about the reconversion process and if multiple conversions caused errors.

Probably I am off topic from the original post.

Sorry
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:23 PM   #14
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There are three types of problems I have seen from doing a conversion:

(1) User error - some setting in the conversion dialog makes changes to the ePub you did not intend to make, perhaps because they were your "defaults". A good example is splitting on h1/h2. In some books which use headings for other reasons it results in pages being split where you did not intend them to be. Or perhaps you have heuristics turned on and find the text content changed undesirably. Or you end up with double covers etc. Or perhaps you get an encoding issue which results in quotes being lost etc. You have to be very careful to make sure your "defaults" do not accidentally corrupt the book.

(2) Calibre conversion error - where despite your best efforts at disabling anything you can think of that might touch the ePub, Calibre insists on making changes anyway. An example I have hit several times is where despite having splitting turned off (the xpath set to '/') Calibre decides it will still go ahead and split some pages, in particular ones that contain images. This can be a problem when you have a title page and find it now gets split across multiple pages. The LOTR retail books are a good example of where this goes wrong that I hit yesterday.

(3) Internal structure changes. For a start the CSS gets "flattened" and considerable changes made to things like font sizes etc. Calibre also makes changes to the directory structure internally on the ePub. Calibre will also add attributes into the manifest and introduce other "foreign objects". For most users this stuff doesn't matter, but for some people it does, particularly those who use other tools with their ePubs.

Now provided you are careful, "most of the time" these things are not a problem if you are careful (or less picky about the result). However you should always inspect your ePub after a conversion to make sure it gives you the result you want. I cringe when I see people doing thousand+ book conversions - but that is because I have a very high level of quality I want in my books, to each their own.

The Modify ePub plugin is being developed as a halfway house between complete manual editing using Tweak ePub, and tasks that would normally require a conversion. It intentionally has limited scope of the changes it can "safely" make to an ePub, but it does not touch in any way the structure of the ePub or content outside of the specific options you check for it.
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:09 PM   #15
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@Kiwidude: Very informative post

I have done 1000 book conversions but have looked at every one individually and entered the appearance, headers, page numbers etc. in a custom column so I could fix them when I was in the mood.

I don't add many these days but am still updating, fixing metadata as a lot of series names have changed (different publishers? or new editions?)and if I have 10 books in a series I like the series name to be consistent.

So I just reconvert. I know for practical purposes on my Sony it doesn't matter but if I look at the info in the calibre ebook viewer I want it to match the database and it doesn't unless I reconvert.

My only reason for posing the question is that occasionally the page turns take seconds and was wondering if this was due to too much converting.

Thanks
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