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Old 02-08-2013, 02:34 PM   #1
jclaus
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Copy books from kobo to calibre

Is it possible to copy my books from my kobo to calibre?

I have had a Kobo touch reader for a couple of years and have lots of books loaded on it using Calibre (the books are from many different sources). My laptop was stolen so I loaded Calibre on my new laptop along with an old backup of my Calibre library. Unfortunately there are about 50 books on my Kobo that are not in my calibre library.

When I try to "Add books to library", I get an error saying that the books are virtual and cannot be added to the calibre library.

When I try to save to disk, I can't figure out what the format of the resulting file is.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
J
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:01 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jclaus View Post
Is it possible to copy my books from my kobo to calibre?

I have had a Kobo touch reader for a couple of years and have lots of books loaded on it using Calibre (the books are from many different sources). My laptop was stolen so I loaded Calibre on my new laptop along with an old backup of my Calibre library. Unfortunately there are about 50 books on my Kobo that are not in my calibre library.

When I try to "Add books to library", I get an error saying that the books are virtual and cannot be added to the calibre library.

When I try to save to disk, I can't figure out what the format of the resulting file is.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
J
If the books on the Kobo are DRM protected and in .kepub format, I don't think you will be able to add them to Calibre. However you should be able to download the books you purchased from your Kobo online account onto your laptop in epub format. , and then transfer them to your Kobo with Adobe reader.

As far as I am aware you can only add to the Calibre library non DRM books (unless you are initiated to Alf's practices, of which as you'll understand I will say no more).

Last edited by paola; 02-08-2013 at 03:22 PM. Reason: crossed out some irrelevant information
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:20 PM   #3
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As far as I am aware you can only add to the Calibre library non DRM books (unless you are initiated to Alf's practices, of which as you'll understand I will say no more).
You can add DRM'd books too (without Alf's plug-ins), you just won't be able to convert them or anything.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:31 AM   #4
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You can add DRM'd books too (without Alf's plug-ins), you just won't be able to convert them or anything.
Ah, thanks for correcting me, I was sure I had tried and failed!
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:16 AM   #5
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You should be able to copy any non-kepub book from a Kobo device to calibre. The "virtual book" error is only referring to kepubs. If you selected all the books in the device list, you should get an error for the kepubs, but the rest of the books should be copied with no problems. If you get an error for other book types, please report it so I can look into what is happening.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by davidfor View Post
You should be able to copy any non-kepub book from a Kobo device to calibre. The "virtual book" error is only referring to kepubs. If you selected all the books in the device list, you should get an error for the kepubs, but the rest of the books should be copied with no problems. If you get an error for other book types, please report it so I can look into what is happening.
Actually, one minor problem mostly due to author names. I have sideloaded quite a few book with multiple authors. When I copied from my Kobo to Calibre on my new laptop when I thought it was the easiest way to copy my current book set to a new laptop rather than copying the library on my home PC to the new laptop), I got a mass of books that were shown as not being present on the Kobo. For instance, my copy of 1633 which shows Eric Flint as the author in the author information and Flint, Eric in the file-as (author sort) field and David Weber as author in the extra information fields. When I copied the library from the Kobo to Calibre, the file name was changed from 1633 - Eric Flint & David Weber to 1633 - Eric Flint.

I do realize that Calibre has done this forever and I do see the arguments for how it handles file names, I still find it annoying that when I copy a book to Calibre, it sees the book as not being the same as the original file.

Regards,
David
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:07 AM   #7
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Actually, one minor problem mostly due to author names. I have sideloaded quite a few book with multiple authors. When I copied from my Kobo to Calibre on my new laptop when I thought it was the easiest way to copy my current book set to a new laptop rather than copying the library on my home PC to the new laptop), I got a mass of books that were shown as not being present on the Kobo. For instance, my copy of 1633 which shows Eric Flint as the author in the author information and Flint, Eric in the file-as (author sort) field and David Weber as author in the extra information fields. When I copied the library from the Kobo to Calibre, the file name was changed from 1633 - Eric Flint & David Weber to 1633 - Eric Flint.

I do realize that Calibre has done this forever and I do see the arguments for how it handles file names, I still find it annoying that when I copy a book to Calibre, it sees the book as not being the same as the original file.
OK, because of the way the Kobo handles the author in the first place, it only has one author. When calibre is copying the book back, it must be relying on the metadata from the database. But, the full metadata is still inside the book. If after copying it back to the library, if you open the metadata edit screen and press the button to retrieve the metadata from the file, it should still all be there. I'll check that it works how I think it does when I have a chance.

But, if you are doing a mass fetch from the device, you may as well do it from the file system. That will work the same as putting a new book into calibre.
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:42 PM   #8
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OK, because of the way the Kobo handles the author in the first place, it only has one author. When calibre is copying the book back, it must be relying on the metadata from the database. But, the full metadata is still inside the book. If after copying it back to the library, if you open the metadata edit screen and press the button to retrieve the metadata from the file, it should still all be there. I'll check that it works how I think it does when I have a chance.

But, if you are doing a mass fetch from the device, you may as well do it from the file system. That will work the same as putting a new book into calibre.
I only tried the mass copy from Kobo to Calibre once. Since then I've created a backup folder for the Kobo and copied to/from there so I only use Calibre to copy new ebooks to the Kobo when I don't pass them through Sigil and to the Kobo directly.

What I have noticed is that Calibre seems to add the author name to the file name based on the file-as entry. Whether it is getting that information from the epub's metadata or the Kobo database, I haven't tried to find out.

For 1633, the content.opf file has the following two line:

<dc:creator opf:file-as="Flint, Eric" opf:role="aut">Eric Flint</dc:creator>
<dc:creator opf:role="aut">David Weber</dc:creator>

When the file was copied to my Kobo from one of Baen's bound-in CDs (Torch of Freedom as far as I recall), it had 1633.epub as the filename while Calibre copied it back as 1633 - Eric Flint.epub but the author column showed Eric Flint & David Weber. I tried renaming the epub on the Kobo (think it was the wifi version) as 1633 - Eric Flint & David Weber but still showed up as 1633 - Eric Flint.epub. Swapping the authors in the content.opf copied over as 1633 - David Weber.epub. Oddly, all the versions were seen by Calibre as duplicates when they were being copied from the Kobo but none of them matched the version on the Kobo for the on device display.

Regards,
David

Last edited by DNSB; 02-11-2013 at 01:48 PM. Reason: usual fat fingered typos...
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:38 AM   #9
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A few things have been covered in the thread and I'm a little unsure about were we are up to. I am going to be long-winded, pedantic and detailed in the answer.

When you add a book to calibre, it gets the author and title from somewhere. Where depends on the type and options. For an epub, it can get the authors from the metadata. For your example, calibre would read two authors and store those in its metadata database. But, when it stores the book in its library, only the first author is used for the file name and directory structure.

When calibre sends a book to a Kobo device, exactly what happens depends on the settings. The "save template" is used for the file name and directory. The default is to use the {sort_author} so all authors will be included. The metadata is updated so that there is a "creator" element for each author. The first one will have the "file-as" property. This is set to the {sort_author}.

When the Kobo device process the book, it uses the first creator element for the author. It uses the text part of the element without change (except decoding HTML elements). As calibre only puts a single name in each creator element, the device only puts one author name in the database. But if you do have an epub with multiple names in the first creator element, they will be used. See http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=202664 for some discussion on this.

Apparently what happens when you use calibre to copy the book back from the device, is different from what I thought. Calibre gets the metadata for all books on the device when the device is connected, and uses that from then on. In the case where calibre doesn't already have the book in its library, that means the metadata comes from the database on the device. I thought that when you copied the book back from the device, that calibre would use metadata that is in memory. But, it appears from your testing, that it gets it from the book. This probably means that calibre is using the same rules for getting the metadata that it uses when you add a new book from elsewhere.

The last bit is the matching between the library and the device. This is done in a few ways. Calibre maintains a file called "metadata.calibre" in the root of the device. This is updated each time the device is connected and there are changes or a book is sent to the device. During the initial sync this is read to do the matching. If the file is missing or a book on the device is not in the file, calibre matches on other information. The main way is using the author and title. But it can also use an id that some epubs have. At the end of this, the book is added to the metadata.calibre for future connections. This means that once calibre has matched the book on a device to a book in the library, changing the metadata shouldn't make it loose the book.

I think that covers everything. If it doesn't, yell at me. If it contradicts what anyone is seeing, yell louder. And if you find a bug in the driver, yell even loader but clearly so I can fix it
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:33 AM   #10
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truly useful post, thank you!
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