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Old 02-14-2012, 03:25 AM   #1
Markanthonylbc
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Exporting Books in a Series

Hello!

New to Calibre as of last night. It's been terribly useful and fairly easy to figure out the more advanced features. I have had one problem, however, and that's books in a series. The only way I've been able to get Calibre (and my kindle) to organize my books in the order they ought to go is to put a number in the title. It would seem, though, that via 'Edit Metadata' there would be a better way to have books show up in the order that they appear in the series without that number.

I hope that makes sense. Thank you!
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:32 AM   #2
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There is an inherent problem in that Kindle's do not have any inherent support for series.

The best way to handle this is by the use of what Calibre calls Metadata plugboards. What these do is allow you to keep your metadata in the correct fields at the calibre level, and then massage this into other fields within a book's embedded metadata during transfer to a device to support that devices particular quirks and methods of operation.
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:45 AM   #3
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hmm..

That sounds like a very clever fix! I'm at work atm, but as soon as I am able I'll find what I can on Plugboards and let you know if I was able to make that work. I'm hoping it sounds more complicated than it is.

A plugboard comes standard with the software, right? They aren't a separate plug-in or anything?

Thanks for the spooky-quick reply!
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:33 AM   #4
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See this sticky at the top of this forum.
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:49 AM   #5
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Did I mention I'm not terribly tech savvy?

When I searched "plugboards" in help, the explanation seemed straightforward enough (if a bit esoteric), but it didn't seem to highlight exactly how to make book titles show up in series order without the book number being present. Perhaps it did and I just didn't recognize that that's what it was.

What I got from reading the tutorials (and your sticky link) was that there are back channels, longhand ways, to doing what the edit metadata field options allow.

Also, under the edit metadata tab, I have been unable to find an option for plugboards.

Gahhh. Forgive my newbness.
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:05 AM   #6
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The solutions discussed in the sticky thread are predicated on you populating your "series" column in your library (either manually, or using a metadata download plugin that supports series information like Goodreads, FantasticFiction).

So your book in the calibre library should look something like:
Title: The Blade Itself
Series: First Law Trilogy [1]
Author: Joe Abercrombie

Then just configure a metadata plugboard as described in the sticky thread. It tells you right at the top of that thread to use Preferences -> Metadata Plugboards.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:17 AM   #7
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Ahh, I see it in the preferences screen now. Oops.

btw, I just saw that you created a GUI plug-in specifically for managing series. I downloaded the other one you recommended, too, but won't that series manager do what I'm looking for without having to copy and edit code in the back end? I'm really not savvy enough for this.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:25 AM   #8
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In Calibre, under Preferences -> Metadata Plugboards use something like (MOBI - Kindle - title):
Code:
{series:|| }{series_index:0>2s|| - }{title}
With this approach, the title is augmented only when writing to the Kindle. As mentioned above, see Techniques to use plugboards, custom columns and templates for other examples.
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markanthonylbc View Post
btw, I just saw that you created a GUI plug-in specifically for managing series. I downloaded the other one you recommended, too, but won't that series manager do what I'm looking for without having to copy and edit code in the back end? I'm really not savvy enough for this.
Not sure what you mean by "copy and edit code in the back end"?

If you don't know that a book belongs to a series, or what number in the series it is, then doing a metadata download with a plugin like Goodreads means that the series name column can get automatically populated for you. Provided you are happy with what it returns, or are happy to manually edit the series column to make any changes, that is fine for most people.

However there will be circumstances where for whatever reason you decide you want to manipulate the series yourself. Maybe you want to bulk reorder or rename it. Maybe you want to create your own chronological series. Maybe you arent using the Goodreads plugin at all. Maybe you just want to be able to drag/drop books around into the order you want while creating empty books for gaps in the series etc. It is for these latter scenarios the Manage Series plugin is designed.

Those are all concerned with getting your series name column populated. Once that is done, then the metadata plugboard you have configured your Kindle like wallcraft suggests means that your title displayed on your Kindle gets magically transformed to include the series information so you can sort by it.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:35 PM   #10
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Maybe that's why I'm not making any sense, because I DON'T want the series information in my book titles. I have no problems populating the series columns in Calibre and I've had no problem getting them to appear in Calibre in order. What I want is for those series to appear on my kindle, sans series info in the title, to appear in chronological order.

I think that's what you've been trying to teach me how to do, but I am so baffled by the language and syntax of plugboards (I'm an English teacher, btw, who wants to be, but has no delusions of being, a tech guy).

I do appreciate all your help and patience. Perhaps it'd be best to simply suck it up and have the series info in the book titles.
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Old 02-15-2012, 12:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markanthonylbc View Post
Maybe that's why I'm not making any sense, because I DON'T want the series information in my book titles. I have no problems populating the series columns in Calibre and I've had no problem getting them to appear in Calibre in order. What I want is for those series to appear on my kindle, sans series info in the title, to appear in chronological order.
I do not believe that is possible on the Kindle as it does not understand the concept of series. You need to have the series information in one of the fields that the Kindle supports sorting on. Most people opt for adding it to the title.

I am not sure if the Kindle collections plugin provides a way of doing this, but I suspect not or more people would use it for this purpose.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:08 AM   #12
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itimpi has it spot on. The Kindle has no concept of series - so you have to put it in the title. Some people use approaches with a custom column to shorten the series name before sending to their device if it is the length that bothers you, instructions for doing that were also on that sticky thread IIRC.

Your only other way of sorting books is that if you have your Kindle set to sort by Author, then the Kindle will use the published date column and display in reversed order (at least on a Kindle 3 it does). So if you mangle your publication dates you might get close to what you want.

However if an author writes multiple series, you aren't going to be able to tell when one starts and another ends without it being in the title. So I suggest if you want to read them in order then just suck it up

The Kindle Collections plugin won't help you with books order, it is all about collections. The only "ordering" feature that I can think of is that if on your Kindle you choose to show "By Collections", then after using the plugin your collections will be sorted alphabetically. However as soon as you open a book in one, the Kindle standard behavior of "Most recent first" kicks in, and your collections are no longer alphabetical. Which is why many Kindle users instead use prefixes for their collection names like _ and ~ using the plugin, then set their Kindle to sort by Title, so all the collections appear alphabetically before the books and stay that way.

Edit: I should add - your profile shows a Kindle Touch, which the Kindle Collections plugin doesn't work with anyway (blame Amazon for their crappy 4th gen model decisions). My response above was more to answer itimpi's question than your original problem

Last edited by kiwidude; 02-15-2012 at 06:14 AM.
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Old 02-15-2012, 08:27 AM   #13
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Wow, folks, thank you so much for the thorough responses. While a bit disheartened, it's good to clear the air and know that Kindles cannot do what I want them to do (the problem isn't with me!)

Messing with the publication dates sounds like a viable, unobtrusive option. When I'm less bitter about messing with this stuff for hours -- all for naught -- I'll give it another look. lol

And no, no Collections Plugin for me. Not yet, anyway. Amazon has already released 3 firmware updates, though, since I got my Kindle in December, so I suppose it can't hurt to hope that they continue to develop and distribute.

Thanks again for all the help kiwidude and itimpi. Tbph, I still don't really see the need to use plugboards when the software is as phenomenal as it is and the plugin developers are clearly so top notch. I suppose that could be because I only have 25 books in my library atm.

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Old 02-15-2012, 09:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markanthonylbc View Post
Thanks again for all the help kiwidude and itimpi. Tbph, I still don't really see the need to use plugboards when the software is as phenomenal as it is and the plugin developers are clearly so top notch. I suppose that could be because I only have 25 books in my library atm.
The problem comes is that there are times one works around the limitations of devices.

It is possible to manually enter information relating to series into the Title field in Calibre. However this then means that you cannot take advantage of Calibre knowing which IS series information, whereas you can if the information at the Calibre level is kept 'pure' and the fields used for their intended purpose.

As an example I have to worry about both Sony and Kindle devices to worry about. On the Sony devices it IS possible to get collections in series order when loading the books via Calibre and I make heavy use of this capbility. On the Kindle devices I then use a plugboard to "massage" the series information into the start of the title when loading books onto Kindles so that sorting by title also puts books into series order.

The is also the fact that some of the plugins can only be utilised to their full if series information is stored in the right fields at the calibre level.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:04 PM   #15
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Plugboards can be a bit complicated at they start because there are so many options and devices that they support.

But once you get it working the way you want, it just keeps on working. Unless you decide to do things differently you only have to worry about the plugboard once.

Helen
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