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Old 03-14-2012, 07:11 AM   #1
Megahurts
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Some advice needed - Android

Apologies if this is in the wrong place.

I've been using Calibre for a while to (slowly) combine the various collections of ebooks my wife and myself have scattered over various PCs, Laptops and network shares. I've finally got my library to a point where most of the books have metadata and covers, and are in consistent formats and I can export books to my Android phone via the 'connect to folder' option in the content server. The library is on a network share and at the moment Calibre is running locally on my desktop, although I can move it to a dedicated PC if required and I'm familiar with opening ports on my router etc.

However I've just gotten hold of two Archos 80 G9 Android tablets, which appear as media devices rather than a drive letter. What I'd like to be able to do is access the library directly from a reader app without using a browser to make it as easy as possible for my wife to use. The problem is I've managed to confuse myself greatly reading topics about Calibre2OPDS and various Android readers.

So I guess what I'm asking is what Android app with allow me to access my Calibre library directly, and should I be using the Calibre content server or Calibre2OPDS?
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:36 AM   #2
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I am assuming that you want to access the ebooks via the network rather than over a USB cable? On that basis with both the Calibre Content server and Calibre2Opds it will depend on whether the reader you select has support for the OPDS standard for online catalogs.

The main reason one chooses Calibre2Opds over Calibre Content Server is that it can be used in scenarios where you cannot (or do not want to) run the Calibre Content server) but can have a web site.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:42 AM   #3
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On this point, I wonder if it might be possible for Calibre to add support for Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) that is now used by newer versions of Android in lieu of USB Mass Storage. Probably a difficult undertaking, though, particularly given the general lack of support in Linux and Mac.
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Old 03-14-2012, 01:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post
On this point, I wonder if it might be possible for Calibre to add support for Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) that is now used by newer versions of Android in lieu of USB Mass Storage. Probably a difficult undertaking, though, particularly given the general lack of support in Linux and Mac.
Kovid has been thinking about adding MTP support. He says there be dragons there, so only he can say yes/no or discuss 'when'.

Related topic: I recently got an android 4 (ICS) device, so solving the connection issue has moved up my list. My son and I are considering making an "over-the-air" Android device connector.

I would do the device work in calibre, and he would do the Android app. Our current thought is to have the phone connect to calibre over wifi when the app is started, which would then appear as a connected device in calibre. Destination folders, formats, and the like would be chosen on the phone instead of calibre, easing using more than one phone at a time. There are some interesting issues to work out, such as detection of books already on the device.

If things go well, then we will consider adding program-specific support, such as directly importing books into Aldiko's DB. This isn't needed for FBReader (which I use), but it might be useful for other reader programs. We will see.

We should start working on this stuff in a couple of weeks.

Full disclosure: although the calibre side will be free and open source, the android app won't be free. My guess is that he will charge around $1.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:29 PM   #5
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@chaley,
I'm glad to read that you're looking at this. I've just bought my very first Android smartphone (Samsung Galaxy Note) and was wondering what the best Calibre data transfer options might be once the promised upgrade from Android 2.3 to 4 happens. So far, I've successfully used both the USB connection and Dropbox, but I think I read that the former isn't available in Android 4.

I'm still such a newb with this Android stuff that I don't know whether I'll be able to time the upgrade to suit myself or whether it will 'just happen' one day when I switch on the phone.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:51 PM   #6
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I'm still such a newb with this Android stuff that I don't know whether I'll be able to time the upgrade to suit myself or whether it will 'just happen' one day when I switch on the phone.
On my phones, it appears to be well behaved and hasn't forced me to upgrade when I don't want to.
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
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On my phones, it appears to be well behaved and hasn't forced me to upgrade when I don't want to.
Thanks, that's a relief I normally like to let more knowledgeable people discover the teething problems.
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Old 03-16-2012, 05:19 AM   #8
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So here's what I did:

I moved my library and Calibre to an old laptop (IBM T41 - these things seem to last for ever) that I can leave running behind my monitor. After converting my books to .epub format I enabled the content server and installed Moon+ Reader on the tablets, and configured it to point to my library's new IP address. I've got VNCserver installed on the laptop, so I can do minor administration like there or shut down Calibre on the laptop so I can run it on my desktop (much faster for converting large numbers of books) via a normal network share to the library db. I also set up port forwarding (random high-range port number) and dymanic DNS on my router, so on the off chance I need a book whilst away from home I can connect externally as well.

Apart from a few odd book conversions that I'm going to need to tweak manually it worked like a charm.
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