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Old 08-18-2008, 01:29 PM   #1
billbirchall
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Why Calibre?

I am new to E reading.I have just placed an order for a Sony E Reader, which is due to be in the UK, in early September. I am using the waiting time to garner as much information as I can on the product.

I have read numerous threads on Calibre, most of which, generally but not specifically, extol the virtues of having it. Nowhere could I see something that simply explains, why you need it, Where is it different to the Sony Library manager built in to the hardware, whether loading it would nullify your warranty and whether it can be easily uninstalled.

Most of the emails seem to be by people who seem to be writing in a different language! Can someone simplify the merits and demerits of Calibre, as at the moment it seems to be a very complex subject, to a newbie.
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:45 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billbirchall View Post
Nowhere could I see something that simply explains, why you need it,
You don't "need" it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billbirchall View Post
Where is it different to the Sony Library manager built in to the hardware,
It doesn't have anything to do with the hard ware. It is a companion/replacement to the eBook Library software that comes with the Sony which you run on your PC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billbirchall View Post
whether loading it would nullify your warranty and whether it can be easily uninstalled.
No it will not nullify your warranty. Yes, it can easily be uninstalled.

When this software is most useful is if you have eBook files that are NOT in a format that the Sony reader supports. Calibre will convert most other formats to the Sony format (LRF).

Calibre creates a database of all your eBooks (as you add them to the softare.) It allows you to put the books on your device from it.

What calibre doesn't do is 1) Support any DRMed files. 2) Connect to the Sony eBook store. 3) Pre-index ebooks that it puts on the device like the Sony software does.

BOb
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:48 PM   #3
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1. It's the only way to support your Sony Reader if you have a Mac on Linux computer.

2. It converts from more formats than the Sony Library.
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:49 PM   #4
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1. It's the only way to support your Sony Reader if you have a Mac on Linux computer.
That's only true if you have the original Sony PRS-500, btw.

BOb
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:51 PM   #5
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this post makes me think that perhaps it would be a good idea to make a sticky with a brief but detailed explanation of what calibre is / does. i bet there are plenty of new members who don't know. for that matter, i don't think *i* know.
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:56 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum, billbirchall.

Ebooks come in lots of different formats. The Sony Reader will read some (but not all) of them. It likes LRF, the Sony proprietary format.

If you buy books in other formats then you may need to convert them. Calibre is an excellent conversion tool. It also has a number of other very useful features.

You can run both Calibre and the Sony Ebook Library software if you wish. It doesn't nullify the warranty. (There is also another free conversion program called Book Designer. Arguably, Calibre is more versatile.)

Incidentally, given that you are new to all this, billbirchall, don't buy books in E-reader format. The Sony won't read them. Several other new people have inadvertently made this error.

If you buy books from the Sony store then they won't need any conversion at all. But they usually have DRM, so you can't convert them to other formats. Some members find this very irritating. They are thinking that in 10 years time they might no longer have a Sony, so won't be able to read their books on their future devices. They prefer to buy their books in lit format and convert them to LRF (maybe saving an HTML version too), so as to future-proof their books.

Also, do look at our own ebook upload section for free public domain and creative commons books, converted by some of our members. (Click on 'ebooks' on the blue bar near the top of the page). There is also advice on other free book sites available on our wiki (click the wiki link at the very top of the page).

Incidentally, I'm in the UK too. I imported my Sony 15 months ago.
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Old 08-18-2008, 02:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
this post makes me think that perhaps it would be a good idea to make a sticky with a brief but detailed explanation of what calibre is / does. i bet there are plenty of new members who don't know. for that matter, i don't think *i* know.
Perhaps a brief explanation with a link to the wiki would be handy. Or maybe a sticky generally pointing new members to our wiki.
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Old 08-18-2008, 02:03 PM   #8
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calibre has several functions in one package:
  • a library manager to organize your ebooks
  • a loader for the Sony PRS series of readers
  • a creator of LRF format books for the Sony family of Readers
As BOb pointed out, you don't "need" calibre. In fact, calibre does not work with DRM protected files (as I remember) so books you purchase from the Sony Store will still require you to use their software.

calibre as creation software for LRF ebooks is its strongest point. It is used by many here at MobileRead to create the free download ebooks. Additionally, the 10,000+ LRF (multiformat) ebooks offered by Fictionwise are created with calibre. There are routines in calibre to convert from almost every other format of ebook to Sony LRF format and an extensive library of premade routines to create LRF ebooks from newspapers and magazines that are available on the web (these include the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and the Economist to name a few.)

It has enhanced my enjoyment of the Sony tremendously.
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Old 08-18-2008, 02:12 PM   #9
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Hmm I'm hoping a user of calibre will contribute that, as my perspective is going to be too skewed.
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Old 08-18-2008, 04:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
I have read numerous threads on Calibre, most of which, generally but not specifically, extol the virtues of having it. Nowhere could I see something that simply explains, why you need it, Where is it different to the Sony Library manager built in to the hardware, whether loading it would nullify your warranty and whether it can be easily uninstalled.
Billbirchall seems to have a misconception that the Sony Library and Calibre run in the Sony Reader. Not true. These are programs that install in your PC and which can be used to control the transfer of books to your Reader from the PC. Calibre also can be used to create books in Sony format from a variety of original file formats. (Having never used the Sony Library, I don't know whether it provides any format conversion functions or not.)

So -- if you are using a Windows PC and you're only going to buy Sony-format books or download books in the Sony BBeb format from places like MobileRead, then you don't need Calibre at all.

But, if you want the flexibility of creating your own books or buying books in another format and shifting for use on the Sony Reader, then Calibre is an invaluable tool. And, the author of Calibre is an active participant here at MobileRead and will chime in if you have questions of any kind.
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:49 AM   #11
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You can also download newspapers/magazines through Calibre, using existing profiles or creating your own ones.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:10 AM   #12
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Why Calibre?

Hi Everyone,

Wow, I think that I must have struck 'topic oil', with my first thread!!
I now, certainly understand, a lot better, the advantages of Calibre. Even if I encounter a problem, if I decide to use it, I am confident that some of you will be there to help out.

Thanks for your responses. I am very impressed with the helpfulness of this forum and amazed at the response.

Bill
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