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Old 10-30-2012, 12:50 AM   #1
RobertJSawyer
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Error message: Following books are virtual

When trying to import books from my Kobo Glo into the Calibre Library, I get a message that says, "The following books are virtual and cannot be added to the calibre library." I can't find any reference in the help to that message. What does it mean? The books are on the device; I can read them there without difficulty. They are purchased Kepub (Kobo ePub) copies, direct from the Kobo online bookstore. Thanks!
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:02 AM   #2
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Kepub = Proprietary format
EPUB = standard format
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:08 AM   #3
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In what sense, though, does that make them "virtual" books? NOTE: these are DRM free books, as provided by the publisher. They are Tor Books titles and do NOT have DRM -- I'm not asking Calibre to strip the DRM; there is none. I'm simply asking it to convert formats ... and I was given to understand that that was one of the things Calibre CAN do.

Last edited by RobertJSawyer; 10-30-2012 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 10-30-2012, 07:31 AM   #4
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It is because calibre doesn't know exactly what the kepub format is. Yes, it is basically an epub, but it does have some extras in the file. Adding it is something I have thought about, but haven't looked at that side of the calibre code much.
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:19 AM   #5
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I've bought quite a few books from Kobo, both DRM'd and non-DRM'd but they are all 100% ePub - no sign of this Kepub format, so I don't know why the OP's are different. Perhaps it's country specific or purchased directly from an eReader rather than downloaded to a computer.

Do Kepubs work on non-Kobo readers? If not then this sounds like another nasty proprietry tie-in. One reason I like ePub is that I can buy them from anywhere and they all work on my reader.
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agama View Post
I've bought quite a few books from Kobo, both DRM'd and non-DRM'd but they are all 100% ePub - no sign of this Kepub format, so I don't know why the OP's are different. Perhaps it's country specific or purchased directly from an eReader rather than downloaded to a computer.

Do Kepubs work on non-Kobo readers? If not then this sounds like another nasty proprietry tie-in. One reason I like ePub is that I can buy them from anywhere and they all work on my reader.
As your device is a Sony, I am guessing you have bought the books from the Kobo site and downloaded them via the browser. If that is this case, you will have gotten an epub.

kepubs only work in Kobo devices or their reader apps. The advantages of using them is that they can be synced to the device from the Kobo server and the current reading position will also be synced. If you buy a book through a Kobo device, it will automatically download the kepub to the device. But, you can go to the shop later and download the epub.

You can look at them as "nasty proprietry tie-in". But, as far as I can see, Kobo also offer the epub version of all the books.
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Old 10-30-2012, 04:21 PM   #7
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Yes, I bought mine via a browser. I've not come across the idea of syncing a reading position but I guess it could be useful for some people.

At least the OP can go back to the Kobo shop and download the ePub, so this could be a solution for the OP's problem.
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:31 PM   #8
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Hi, Agama. And that's what I did: downloaded the plain ePubs from the Kobobooks site to Adobe Digital Editions, then imported them to Calibre. But it WOULD be nice if Kobo books could be imported directly into Calibre from the Kobo device just as Kindle books -- which are also in a proprietary format -- can be. Thanks, everyone!
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Old 10-31-2012, 04:53 PM   #9
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The problem is that the Kindle books have a format that has been reverse-engineered. The kEpub format has not been; it is similar (if not identical) to an ePub, just with it's own encryption applied to it.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:17 AM   #10
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And if someone does reverse-engineer it, I'll be happy to add the code necessary. I might do it myself, but it is very low on my priorities.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:13 AM   #11
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I'll take a look at the format if someone can post a non-DRM'd kEpub without violating copyright.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:26 PM   #12
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I'll take a look at the format if someone can post a non-DRM'd kEpub without violating copyright.
I've found a couple. I'll send a PM with the location.

I looked at them before but had another look now. The only differences to a standard epub that I can see are a a javascript and CSS that have "android" as part of the names. Then in the text, each sentence is wrapped with a div with an id. There has been some discussion on this in the Kobo forum. The ids seem to be used as part of the bookmarking and syncing with the Kobo server.
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:17 AM   #13
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Thanks, I'll have a look and I'll also check the discussion in the Kobo forum.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:49 AM   #14
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@davidfor: Thanks for the 2 links: the first downloaded a kepub file but the second failed with some sort of xml error.

Using a file extension of .epub, the downloaded kepub was added to calibre with no errors. It works in calibre viewer and can be converted to other formats.

It is essentially an ePub, with mimetype, content.opf and toc.ncx all conforming to the ePub standard.

The stylesheets referenced in the xhtml documents are not declared in the OPF manifest although they still seem to get applied by calibre's reader. (CSS font sizes are defined in PTs: whilst not an error this does stop zooming from working.)

There is also a javascript file, (also omitted from the OPF), which deals with Kobo specifc styling, paginating and bookmarks.

The individual xhtml documents have a <style> element which is referenced from the javascript and therefore aimed specifically at the Kobo reader, (though it may also work with other reading systems that support javascript.) These xhtml documents also contain an empty <span> element for every sentence in every paragraph, each having a unique ID. I can only guess that these may be used by Kobo devices somehow.

RobertJSawyer is also going to send me a kepub so I'll see how it compares.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:19 AM   #15
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@agama: I don't know what happened with the second link. It works here, so I don't know. But, other than the text, they are the same.

For some other reason I also pulled one apart since I sent them to you. I can see what you mean about there being very few differences to an ePub. I thought there were more differences, but I suspect I have learnt a bit more since the last time I looked.

The spans with the id are used for Kobos bookmarking system. These get synced between devices. I don't know if they are used for anything else.

An annoying thing with this is the file names. On the devices, the file names are just a GUID without an extension.

With all that, it should be possible to bring kepubs without DRM into calibre. A conversion to epub would be basically just dropping the extra files. Or adding them to the manifest. A conversion to kepub is only complicated by the ids and whether to add the other files in.
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