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Old 07-07-2013, 09:54 AM   #1
Mex5150
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Alternatives to Calibre?

Hi All

I'm pretty sure Calibre holds the monopoly so the author can impose any draconian rules they feel like, but are there any alternate aplications that do more or less the same thing?

The reason I'm looking at jumping ship is due to the 'do it my way, or bugger off' attatute to directory structure. Yes I've read the FAQ, and yes I've seen his thinking on it, but that does NOT cover every eventuality.

I want to access my library directly from one of my android devices, I know EXACTLY the structure I want, and no, I won't be magicly wanting to do something differnt with the stuctre once it is in place as the FAQ claims you will in its excuse/defence of the 'do it my way' rule. So I have three options the way I see it:
1) Wait for Calibre to come out on Android.
2) Sift through an increadly badly designed file structure every time I need to find something.
3) Jump ship.

I can't see '1' happening any time soon, '2' is what I'm suffering with now, and '3' looks more and more atractive every time I add a new aurthor.

I know this annoys the hell out of a LOT of people, is there any software that will allow me to organise MY library the way I want it?

-Mex
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:20 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Mex5150 View Post
I'm pretty sure Calibre holds the monopoly so the author can impose any draconian rules they feel like
Draconian??? This is the most flexible, user centered software I've run across in a long time.

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Originally Posted by Mex5150 View Post
is there any software that will allow me to organise MY library the way I want it?
As a matter of fact calibre will allow you to organize your library on your Android device exactly the way you want it. Review the Save to Disk feature and the associated template language. You may have to save to disk locally then transfer the resultant file structure to your device, but it can be done. Why anyone would want to limit their book collection organization by using a rigid directory structure is beyond me, but calibre allows you to do exactly that.

If that doesn't work for you then try any file manager.

Last edited by DoctorOhh; 07-07-2013 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:03 AM   #3
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2) Sift through an increadly badly designed file structure every time I need to find something.
Why are you doing this the hard way. Use the User Interface the way it was designed and that is easy.

bernie

P.S.

That is not a badly designed file structure, it is a very well designed data base that is not meant for you to use.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:16 AM   #4
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Draconian??? This is the most flexible, user centered software I've run across in a long time.
Flexible? so why can't it do what I want? It's only flexible if you want to do things EXACTLY the way the author dictates and NEVER deviate from that LOL
Quote:
As a matter of fact calibre will allow you to organize your library on your Android device exactly the way you want it. Review the Save to Disk feature and the associated template language. You may have to save to disk locally then transfer the resultant file structure to your device, but it can be done.
I have my calibre library shared (via DropBox) across my Nook (Android), my phone (Android), my desktop (Ubuntu), my laptop (BackTrack Linux), another laptop (windows XP), windows virtual box (XP). any changes I make on any of the computers with calibre are instantly available on all, constantly having to jump through hoops saving to disk is A) very old-fashioned way of working, and B) takes up twice the space for the exact same data, and C) a total PITA.

on a side note, If the metadata engine is so powerful, why can't it work with a more sensible user defined file structure?

Quote:
Why anyone would want to limit their book collection organization by using a rigid directory structure is beyond me, but calibre allows you to do exactly that.
That's EXACTLY my problem, calibre FORCES a badly thought out rigid file structure!

Quote:
If that doesn't work for you then try any file manager.
Comparing usability and some nice features calibre has, this does look like the best option. But I ask again what other options are there out there?

-Mex
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:48 AM   #5
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Comparing usability and some nice features calibre has, this does look like the best option. But I ask again what other options are there out there?
I have not heard of any other application that approaches Calibre in either capability or flexibility
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:48 AM   #6
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Geez. This is certainly a great way to make friends and influence people.

Not all people care to operate in the manner that you do; to each their own.

Possibly if you had just come here and posted in a positive manner about how YOU share your ePubs between multiple devices, people might have been interested in discussing.

However, you come in, and without even wiping your feet, proceed to blast away.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:49 AM   #7
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I have the major part of my library on my Android device, and access it without using calibre at all.

I just use calibre to fix new books and save them to a shared directory tree on my NAS. Then I sync this tree to a folder on my Xoom. I think I have around 6 000 books there, mostly epub and a few pdf. I then only access the books from my reader app, Mantano.

The sync is done from my Xoom, automatically every hour, if the Xoom is charging. If I had other devices I wanted to have the books on, I could sync them the same way.

The tree is organized by genre and/or type of publication. But once the books are imported to Mantano I can access them by Author, title, series, folder, tags, format, dates, read/unread and whatever. Almost as flexible as calibre...

I keep all the books in calibre as well, but that is just as a backup. And to allow me to quickly check so I don't buy a book I already have.

So I don't really use calibre to handle my books. I just use calibre to prepare them an make them available to my reading device.

I spend a few minutes in calibre for every new book I get, but other than that almost nothing.

There are a few programs for collections, with adaptions to handle books. You could try them. And use calibre only for conversions and so on. Just google "ebook collection software" or something similar.

That said, the problem isn't calibre. It's you. You have fallen prey to a mental block and are unable to see how much better everything would become if you think of the calibre library tree as a black box without any way to look inside it. Most of the calibre users comes from there, but most have been able to break that mental block.

Last edited by Adoby; 07-07-2013 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:51 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mex5150 View Post
Flexible? so why can't it do what I want?
Because you choose not to.

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Originally Posted by Mex5150 View Post
constantly having to jump through hoops saving to disk is A) very old-fashioned way of working
Limiting your organization to a rigid file structure is old-fashioned.

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Originally Posted by Mex5150 View Post
B) takes up twice the space for the exact same data
Consider it a backup you can still use Dropbox in the exact same way you do now.

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C) a total PITA.
Since you use Dropbox it is really no harder a simple sync between folders and you have a backup and everything just the way you want it. The limitation isn't with the software the limitation is in your vision.

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That's EXACTLY my problem, calibre FORCES a badly thought out rigid file structure!
For Pete's sake open your eyes calibre insulates the user from any rigid file structure, that is not how calibre works. Additionally it will do essentially what you want with minimal effort.

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Originally Posted by Mex5150 View Post
Comparing usability and some nice features calibre has, this does look like the best option. But I ask again what other options are there out there?
If you want suggestions for alternatives go to a different sub-forum and ask. This is a calibre support forum. Mobileread has plenty of other forums that are more general in nature.

Last edited by DoctorOhh; 07-07-2013 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:48 PM   #9
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Wow, that's harsh - and maybe not the best way to get info.

Echoing what most of the above posts have stated above, I've found Calibre to be incredibly flexible. By design, from what I can see.

Since it's open source, it's as flexible as you're willing to make the effort to make it.

I was impressed enough to contribute to Calibre. And, I'm a cheap wad by nature - if I was willing to voluntarily contribute $ to a free software, at least I've put my money where my opinion is.

Kudos to kovidgoyal and everyone else who's added plug-ins, comments (constructive), assistance, and enhancements.

Harry
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mex5150 View Post
Hi All

I'm pretty sure Calibre holds the monopoly so the author can impose any draconian rules they feel like, but are there any alternate aplications that do more or less the same thing?

The reason I'm looking at jumping ship is due to the 'do it my way, or bugger off' attatute to directory structure. Yes I've read the FAQ, and yes I've seen his thinking on it, but that does NOT cover every eventuality.

I want to access my library directly from one of my android devices, I know EXACTLY the structure I want, and no, I won't be magicly wanting to do something differnt with the stuctre once it is in place as the FAQ claims you will in its excuse/defence of the 'do it my way' rule. So I have three options the way I see it:
1) Wait for Calibre to come out on Android.
2) Sift through an increadly badly designed file structure every time I need to find something.
3) Jump ship.

I can't see '1' happening any time soon, '2' is what I'm suffering with now, and '3' looks more and more atractive every time I add a new aurthor.

I know this annoys the hell out of a LOT of people, is there any software that will allow me to organise MY library the way I want it?

-Mex
Yes the author controls how calibre works - what do you want for NOTHING.

Apple and Microsoft control how OS/X and Windows work - but you cant get them for NOTHING

Have a look at the calibre change log, new features are added EVERY WEEK, most of which are in response to the expressed needs, wants and wishes of calibre users. You'll also see that there are bug fixes EVERY WEEK, if you look at the launchpad links you'll see that most bugs are fixed with a week of being reported. Name one other software product with 3,400,000 active users in the last 2 months that can match that!!

I can think of some commercial software which have had defects for decades. A well known word processor has this one - if you type —” it will result in —“ - that bug has been there for at least 7 years and in 3 Pay4me versions.

You ask if there's an alternative to calibre - sure download the source for NOTHING and do it your way for NOTHING

BR

Last edited by BetterRed; 07-08-2013 at 05:21 AM.
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Old 07-08-2013, 12:18 AM   #11
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Calibre is open source and if you don't like how it handles something, you're more than welcome to make changes or pay a programmer to make changes for you. Calibre is a book management system and there are reasons that it wants to manage its database a specific way.

If you don't like how Calibre works, feel free to use your own directory structure and use Calibre only to convert formats. You'll need a few extra steps, but then you can manage your books your own way.

Also rememember that Calibre is free and no one is forcing you to use it :-)

Last edited by animedude01; 07-08-2013 at 12:19 AM. Reason: Grammer and typos
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:57 PM   #12
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Must... resist... urge... to... lecture...

Repeat after me. "The Calibre library directory is not a file structure. It's a database." Repeat one hundred times or until you've convinced yourself.

The point is that you shouldn't ever peek under the hood. Calibre has a reason for organizing files the way it does, and you shouldn't be questioning it any more than you should question why the engine of your car is set up in a particular way. Sure, if you know what you're doing and you're extremely careful, you can work with the files in the database, just like you can tune the engine of your car. But doing so should never be a part of your regular work flow; it should only happen in extraordinary cases. If you're working at that level, you don't complain about how you wish things were set up differently; you accept that you're dealing with someone else's decisions about things you shouldn't even be looking at in the first place.

Sorry about the rant. Now I'll try to be helpful.

The first question you should ask is how to do what you want to do WITHOUT PEEKING UNDER THE HOOD.

This will naturally lead to another question: why do you want to use Calibre at all?

More specifically, what features of Calibre are necessary for what you do? If you prefer a particular directory format, why not just store your books that way and bypass Calibre completely?

If you like Calibre's reader, you can always associate ebook files with the reader and open them by double-clicking them.

If you want to use Calibre to convert ebooks to your favorite format without using the library management features, just set up Calibre with an empty library. To convert a book, drag and drop into Calibre, convert, save to disk, then delete from Calibre.

If you want to access your books remotely, use the Content Server.

But if you like Calibre's library management features, then only access your books through Calibre. In special cases where Calibre is not available on the platform where you're working, you have two choices:

1. Use a Save-To-Disk template to export the library to whatever structure you want.

2. Go ahead and peek under the hood, but understand that it was not designed for this. When you lift the hood of your car, you assume responsibility for anything you change. Likewise, when you access Calibre's library directly, you are assuming the risk for what you do. And in both cases, you don't complain when things aren't set up the way you want.

I would recommend against the latter option, but if you're very careful to look but not touch, there's no reason it shouldn't work.
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Old 07-10-2013, 05:14 AM   #13
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I quite agree with the OP.
Being able to tell where to put the files seams like a basic feature...

I made my own software, for now it's still epub only, but it does what I want it to do, it don't try to decide in my stead how to organize my files. As I developer, i'm used to software that jump when I say jump.

I mean to make it open source, someday, sometimes. Need a few bug fix, and some user-friendly install.

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Calibre is open source and if you don't like how it handles something, you're more than welcome to make changes or pay a programmer to make changes for you. Calibre is a book management system and there are reasons that it wants to manage its database a specific way.

If you don't like how Calibre works, feel free to use your own directory structure and use Calibre only to convert formats. You'll need a few extra steps, but then you can manage your books your own way.

Also rememember that Calibre is free and no one is forcing you to use it :-)
Trouble is, there is not much alternative.
As to making development, it was made clear by quite a few people here that they don't want calibre to be improved...

Last edited by EowynCarter; 07-10-2013 at 05:20 AM.
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Old 07-10-2013, 05:40 AM   #14
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As to making development, it was made clear by quite a few people here that they don't want calibre to be improved...
Calibre is constantly being improved so that is a bit of a strange statement.

What IS true is that there is no interest from existing developers to change the internal file structure used by Calibre. There are plenty of good reasons why that is the case with one of them being the huge effort that it is thought would be involved. It is not that anyone thinks it would be a bad idea if it could be implemented - just that there are major practical obstacles to getting there.

Calibre is Open Source so there is nothing stopping someone who is interested in making their own fork and trying to change the built-in assumption about Calibre's internal file structure. I am sure that if it got far enough to look like it might succeed then there would be interest in merging changes back into the main branch.
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Old 07-10-2013, 05:48 AM   #15
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What IS true is that there is no interest from existing developers to change the internal file structure used by Calibre. There are plenty of good reasons why that is the case with one of them being the huge effort that it is thought would be involved. It is not that anyone thinks it would be a bad idea if it could be implemented - just that there are major practical obstacles to getting there.
The biggest obstacle is the "No way" attitude everytime someone dare mention this... There is a topic that actually say "don't speak about it".
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=119175

It's a shame to bury the problem, go for the "deal with it" attitude, instead of trying to fix things.
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