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Old 09-29-2014, 04:09 PM   #1
guymcd
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Managing a library for the intolerant

Hi All,

I am looking for some advice on moving forward. For Christmas I would like to present my 72 y/o really grumpy (but I lover her to death) spinster aunt with some form of ereader containing 4000+ books. I can safely say she will not be tolerant of all the idiosyncrasies the general population accepts as part of daily interactions with our beloved ebooks.

I have looked at several ereaders and several apps. What I can't come up with is a solution where she won't have to scroll through hundreds of icons to find a book to read. She will not have the benefit of Calibre and even if I print her a catalog it doesn't solve the interaction issue. In looking at the new Kindle app it has the concept of catalogs which may work as each catalog contains direct links to books on the device. So you can select a book to read from the catalog as opposed to finding a book in a list and then attempting to swipe to it in the interface. This is not a perfect solution but, with some thought, catalogs could be put together that would model a binary search such that the number of icons to view to find a book of interest is significantly reduced. That said, it won't happen manually and I spent about 3 hours last night trying to find where this magic file is stored without success. If I can't find it I can't reverse engineer it for programmatic creation.

What I hoping is that someone has already encountered a similar situation and can provide some ideas about how to move forward. Keep in mind, she does not have a computer nor does shoe have access to the cloud.

Thanks!
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Old 09-29-2014, 04:31 PM   #2
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If you want to manage 4000+ eBooks, you might be best off with the T68 using Calibre Companion to manage these eBooks.
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:51 PM   #3
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Since the device, T68 if you will, will not have network access I don't understand the value of Calibre Companion but maybe I am missing something. The base premiss here is that all books are on the device and only accessible through the reading interface.
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Old 09-29-2014, 10:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guymcd View Post
Since the device, T68 if you will, will not have network access I don't understand the value of Calibre Companion but maybe I am missing something. The base premiss here is that all books are on the device and only accessible through the reading interface.
Calibre companion is the library interface for android devices. Once you send all the books to her device thru calibre. She might not need to send the books again but she will be able to use the library interface to find books by author/genre/title/series. If you have an android device you might try out the demo version to see how it works
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...e.ccdemo&hl=en
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Old 09-29-2014, 11:21 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info and I hate to sound non-receptive but how does locating a book in Calibre Companion bypass the need to locate that same book in the reader? This wouldn't be such a big deal but every reader/app I have found starts from a flat file structure and then allows you to manually build collections/catalogs/lists which is a deal breaker when dealing with 4000+ books at the start. I believe this why Calibre exists in the first place and is exactly why I use it.

So rephrasing the question; How would one go about setting up an ebook library on a reader/app containing 4000+(or even 500+) books that is per-sorted into collections/catalogs/lists (whatever) that conquer the flat file structure native to all of these devices?

The goal is to hand the device to someone who has no desire to learn new technology. Further, if you handed me a device with that many books and told me the only way to manage it was to manually create collections I would drop it in the trashcan.

I see 2 possible solutions so far, the first to figure out how to generate collections with the new Kindle format and the second is to find a reader that builds its library based on a file structure and maintains the relationships. Nothing will be perfect but I see collections for authors A-Z, a couple of genres, and maybe by series. Just enough to make navigation more manageable.
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Old 09-30-2014, 12:50 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by guymcd View Post
Thanks for the info and I hate to sound non-receptive but how does locating a book in Calibre Companion bypass the need to locate that same book in the reader?
Because you can generally bypass using the reading apps library interface all together. If I'm looking for a book I find it in CC (via Author, Title, Genre Tag, Series, etc.) and CC opens the book in whatever I've set as my default reading app for that file type which for myself happens to be Moon+ Pro.
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Old 09-30-2014, 02:59 AM   #7
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I believe that CC (Calibre Companion) will solve your problem, but of course I am biased.

Once you load the books onto the device, CC can locate books using any calibre metadata, including custom columns. There is no reason to set up shelves, collections, or what-have-you because CC does it automatically using calibre's data. You can with a tap read all the details for a book, including calibre columns and comments. You can mark books read. As a bonus for you the maintainer, you can easily update the metadata for books, which will almost certainly happen as your aunt finds new and different ways she wants to look at the data or finds mistakes that must-be-corrected.

Once you find a book you want to read, CC will launch the reader app of your choice. Most work well with CC (Moon+, FBReader, cool reader, mantano, etc). There is no reason to use the reader's library features.

Try the demo version to see if a) it does something useful for you and b) whether your aunt will accept it.
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Old 09-30-2014, 05:32 AM   #8
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I find I really like my Android with both Moon Reader Pro and a couple of other ereader apps.

To avoid the "too many bleedin icons and too much scrolling to read problem" I find that looking for books by going to the directory listing (usually the mnt/extsdcard).

I save the library of ebooks I have ready to read by author using a name based on series, series number, title, authors.

I save anthologies in separate directories and tend to break out those stories that belong to an existing series.

The reason I find this easiest for me and to explain to others is because there is no scrolling through multiple books and authors to find the next book in a series.

Using a stylus it is easier to open a book from a directory listing. My reason for two or three ebook readers on a system is because every now and then I want to refer to another book while reading and that allows it. Also, some readers handle pdf better than others and I still have some books that are in that format. It is such a pain to translate them and some things just do not convert well from pdf.

If you get your aunt an android with lots of memory you can store the books on the device BUT it is probably a given that an sd card is one of your best choices.

I find the necessity to navigate directories the lessor of evils than navigating icons.

A question. Is your aunt close enough for you to be able to provide user support "hands on" and if she isn't is there some "tech savvy" person for you to enlist to help her find and open a new book until it becomes easy for her?.

Another question. Does she have a computer she uses.
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:53 AM   #9
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CC has a 'Read' button, making that operation simple (assume you have set CC up to work with the appropriate reader app)


Since the user will not have easy WiFi network access: 'Wispersync' (or a cell data plan) is a good choice as long as there is the proper 'cellular service' available at her location so she can get library books.

IMHO Avoid 'touch required' (or can't be disabled. Think of those PC assistive features you have vailable on your desktop) devices.
Older hands are not always steady.
Learning (and making) those complex gestures will frustrate (and make them use another, older one )
And don't totally discount the use of 'New tech'. My 90+ aunt Skypes me occasionally from her room at the Senior facility.
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:53 AM   #10
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Chaley - I didn't realize that Calibre Companion would launch the reader. So the next step would be to find an app with a clean simple interface that doesn't substantially penalize for being disconnect from the net.

LadyKate - I was working under the incorrect assumption that a reader would load from directories on setup and then auto-refresh from those directories as opposed to a manually choosing a specific book. So the task here would also be finding an app.

Thank you all for the posts. I think I have two paths forward that will allow some possibility of success. The challenge will be supporting her via phone. The bonus is that she is endlessly entertaining...
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:03 AM   #11
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theducks - Thank you, thank you! I completely missed the basic interaction with the app reader regardless of what it is being used for. So that brings up another question of the best apps/readers for the elderly keeping in mind your points above. But this thread is not the place for that discussion so I will create a new one in a more suitable forum.

Thanks again everyone.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:02 AM   #12
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Many apps are able to automatically read tags and show the books with that tags. Dito regarding series. If you use calibre, you should be able to use a plugboard to set anything you want to the tags.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:06 AM   #13
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Guymcd

from a need for support standpoint.

Step back and get the bigger picture: What is available at her end?
(no need to post details here) Let us work backwards.

Does she live in an isolated (rural) area where friends/neighbors have only dialup available?
Is she in an 'assisted living' facility or 'Retirement community' with help staff/community room available?

Does her Public Library have computers for general use by the 'Patrons'?
Do they offer e-books? What format will the device need to support?

Is there someone local (friend or neighbor) she can go to for help (or connectivity )

Too bad someone does not make a simple Dialup Terminal with a USB port that remotes the USB connection to your PC.

Instructions for client use:
1)Plug in the attached power cord
2)Plug the attached phone cord into a working phone line
3)Plug in the USB cable that is also attached to your device (there may be a device screen question to answer) (The support device will now show a 'Ready to Answer' LED)
4)DO NOT ANSWER the next phone call (this device will get it).
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Old 09-30-2014, 06:44 PM   #14
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i agree with the simple dial up concept. As for your questions...

She can be classified as a neo-Luddite so it doesn't matter what access she has she is not interested. I believe her comment was "Why the hell do I need that crap?" I'll be lucky if I can get her to power the device and call me. My life would be much easier if I could simply send her a Kindle with Whispernet. But, some things in life are destined to build character.
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:23 PM   #15
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Out of curiosity, what are your aunt's reading needs?

Would she be reading a book a day or a book a month. Would she be reading complete series by author or would she be reading a few books by favorite authors.

Is she interested in new authors or only those recommended by friends or on best seller lists.

How often would you be updating her library?

With your stated intention of loading 4000 books it concerns me how she would navigate that many books.

The reason I suggested loading books in directories by author is the difficulty in finding the author/book/series you want to read next.

A few years ago I loaded several books for my roommate's mother (in her 80s) on a pocketpc using mobipocket reader as the reader. She had Parkinson's so had quite a shaking problem.

As long as someone loaded (opened) the book for her she was fine with reading on the device but had problems opening new books for some reason.
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