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Old 03-20-2010, 10:44 PM   #1
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Multiple Calibre Files?

My Calibre file is getting kind of big, and I would like to create some smaller files, like Debra's Mystery. I know I can do this with Tags, but I would like to be able to create a separate library. That way, it will be easy to create a library with those books. Am I overthinking this? I'm kind of scared the file will get so big I will start having problems. I know people who have much bigger files - mine is 1184 books.

Thanks,
Debra
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Old 03-20-2010, 11:31 PM   #2
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Hi Debra,

I'm not sure what exactly you mean by file? Do you mean the Directory? If so, that's not an issue and it can get quite large. Mine is already close to 2GB in size as I have lots of big PDF files. As Calibre uses a database to store the metadata and other info and keeps the books themselves in subdirectories, there shouldn't be too big a problem. Also, if you're using a newer Windows version such as XP, Vista, or 7 with NTFS (should be a default option if you're not sure what it is) then you shouldn't worry how big your directory gets or how many books you have.

As to wanting separate libraries, I'd recommend against it and use the tags feature instead. It's really easy to use whatever tags you want and then search the database for those tags, multiple tags, or even books that don't have that tag. Much easier to manage than multiple libraries.

This multi library issue pops up pretty regularly and everyone always recommends against it as it just adds unneeded complexity.

"Use the tags, Debra!"

Don't worry about how many books you have in the library, Calibre can handle a lot more.

Please make sure you back up you're Calibre directory (where the books and database are stored) to an external hard drive or CD/DVD since you can lose it all if you have problems! You can buy a couple inexpensive external USB hard drives and just copy the library directly to the device. Easy!

Hope this helps!
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Old 03-20-2010, 11:39 PM   #3
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Thanks. This makes a lot of sense. Now I understand the separate files Calibre uses to store books. No separate directories.
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:08 AM   #4
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Sure tags work, but there is something very satisfying about clean, well-ordered directory structure that I can't shake. I'm with Syd's Mom on this - I'd like to have multiple libraries as well -- and it would be very handy if Calbre didn't delete the files as the only means to get them out of the library.

Sadly, I've had to resort to a "main collection-working library" setup whereby all my titles are held in a central directory structure and the stuff I want to read then gets copied over to the working library folder (directory) where it gets picked up by Calibre and then by my Kindle.

I like Calibre and I think it adds quite a lot of functionality to the eBook environment, and it's hard to criticise something you get for free, but (sorry Calibre) if I find a similar program that has many of the same features as Calibre and also provides folders and non-destructive removals -- I'd probably have to jump.

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Old 03-21-2010, 12:40 AM   #5
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Is still don't understand why people insist on having their own directory structures. I'm not trying to flame you, but invariably someone comes and complains about how Calibre should be saving it's books in this particular way!

The best thing to do is to treat Calibre as a black box. It has a database that keeps track of your books, along with tags and the ability to search on almost any criteria. You can even export your books to disk so you can do anything you want. The books are kept in directories so even if the database gets hosed, the books are still there.

Do you prefer to have your own structure? Fine, do that, but that's not how Calibre is meant to be used, and frankly, I find it much easier to search in Calibre than try to remember who the author was on some books or try to find all the sci-fi books I haven't read yet. I can search on tags, title, author, etc.

If you use the tags feature, you can make it really easy so search on any tags you want. I have a READ tag for books I've already read and can search for books that don't have that tag.

frank, if your own directory structure works best for you, then by all means use it. However, for 99% of users, Calibre should be treated as a black box, with a single library, and tags to manage their books.

Again, I'm really not trying to pick on you specifically, or trying to flame you, but most users should really be using Calibre as it was meant to be used, otherwise it just adds unneeded complexity and confuses them.

my own $0.02.

Last edited by animedude01; 03-21-2010 at 12:42 AM. Reason: Spelling, grammer, clarity.
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Old 03-21-2010, 03:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animedude01 View Post
Is still don't understand why people insist on having their own directory structures. I'm not trying to flame you, but invariably someone comes and complains about how Calibre should be saving it's books in this particular way!

The best thing to do is to treat Calibre as a black box. It has a database that keeps track of your books, along with tags and the ability to search on almost any criteria. You can even export your books to disk so you can do anything you want. The books are kept in directories so even if the database gets hosed, the books are still there.

Do you prefer to have your own structure? Fine, do that, but that's not how Calibre is meant to be used, and frankly, I find it much easier to search in Calibre than try to remember who the author was on some books or try to find all the sci-fi books I haven't read yet. I can search on tags, title, author, etc.

If you use the tags feature, you can make it really easy so search on any tags you want. I have a READ tag for books I've already read and can search for books that don't have that tag.

frank, if your own directory structure works best for you, then by all means use it. However, for 99% of users, Calibre should be treated as a black box, with a single library, and tags to manage their books.

Again, I'm really not trying to pick on you specifically, or trying to flame you, but most users should really be using Calibre as it was meant to be used, otherwise it just adds unneeded complexity and confuses them.

my own $0.02.

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Old 03-21-2010, 05:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydney's Mom View Post
My Calibre file is getting kind of big, and I would like to create some smaller files, like Debra's Mystery. I know I can do this with Tags, but I would like to be able to create a separate library. That way, it will be easy to create a library with those books. Am I overthinking this? I'm kind of scared the file will get so big I will start having problems. I know people who have much bigger files - mine is 1184 books.

Thanks,
Debra
I have a separate library for my Star Trek collection, because I don't want it cluttering up my main library and because it's tidier to have them all grouped together out of my way.

Make a folder for the new library and write down its full directory tree. Then create a shortcut that points to Calibre. Right click on this shortcut and click on Properties. In the target field, add the following at the end of the text that's already there.

Quote:
--with-library d:\stlibrary
You would, obviously, substitute the path to your new library folder for mine. My final shortcut for my Star Trek library reads like this.

Quote:
"C:\Program Files\Calibre2\calibre.exe" --with-library d:\stlibrary
When you have this working, rename the shortcut.

The shortcut to my main Calibre library looks like this.

Quote:
"C:\Program Files\Calibre2\calibre.exe" --with-library d:\library
To open my Star Trek library, I click on the Star Trek shortcut. To go to my main library, I launch Calibre with my library shortcut. Note that this only works if Calibre is completely closed. If it's just minimized to your taskbar, this won't work.

Having said all of this, I agree that most of the time it's better to use tags and series to manage a library.

@ frank - I understand the wrench of going from nested directories to Calibre's flat directory system of organization. I freely admit that I maintain my old directory system as I gradually add my collection to Calibre. For me, it's a chance to clean up what I have. Storage space is cheap and ebooks are small, so it's really not a strain on my resources to maintain both systems plus a back up copy of my Calibre libraries. The more I use Calibre, the more I appreciate metadata tagging and searching.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polly View Post
@ frank - I understand the wrench of going from nested directories to Calibre's flat directory system of organization. ...it's really not a strain on my resources to maintain both systems plus a back up copy of my Calibre libraries. The more I use Calibre, the more I appreciate metadata tagging and searching.
I'm probably close to being considered a zealot when it comes to trying to get new users to understand the benefits of tags, the disadvantages of separate libraries and why Calibre's storage system should be considered a black box.

Nonetheless, I also understand the allure of directories and direct access to the library.

Directories and direct access is the way we've all accessed files for a long time, and initially, it looks like Calibre is trying to set up directories for us to use. It looks like Calibre is designed for direct access via directories, but the "firstname lastname" storage system seems wrong.

It takes time to appreciate the tag system's benefits.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:57 AM   #9
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I have a separate library for my Star Trek collection, because I don't want it cluttering up my main library and because it's tidier to have them all grouped together out of my way.
This marks you as someone who probably does not use the content server. Once you split the library, you lose remote access to all the books that are not in your current library. If you used the server, you'd want access to everything, and that requires a single library.

My wife and I use the server as our main access for some of our readers that Calibre does not consider to be ereaders (phones and WinMo-based). Server access is the way I get all my News (recipe based ebooks) onto those readers. I like to read in bed, and I can just pull whatever strikes my fancy in via wifi without having to figure out what I'm going to want to read in advance.
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:42 AM   #10
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This marks you as someone who probably does not use the content server. Once you split the library, you lose remote access to all the books that are not in your current library. If you used the server, you'd want access to everything, and that requires a single library.

My wife and I use the server as our main access for some of our readers that Calibre does not consider to be ereaders (phones and WinMo-based). Server access is the way I get all my News (recipe based ebooks) onto those readers. I like to read in bed, and I can just pull whatever strikes my fancy in via wifi without having to figure out what I'm going to want to read in advance.
True. Both of my ereaders (PocketPro and Palm) can only be updated via USB, so I haven't worried about servers. When I move and acquire a smart phone, this might be an issue for me. On the other hand, I wouldn't want my Star Trek books cluttering up a content server either. In a few years, when ereaders routinely come with WiFi built in, it might start bothering me. Since Calibre makes it really easy to merge libraries, it shouldn't be much of an obstacle.

I do agree that splitting up a library the way the OP suggested would make it very difficult to find and manage books.
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Old 03-21-2010, 10:46 AM   #11
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When I move and acquire a smart phone, this might be an issue for me.
My wife has acquired a new smart phone. I've been reading ebooks for years (on IPAQs), but the combination of Calibre, daily-updated News recipes, instant worldwide access to the content server and a 3G smart phone with a hi-res screen has brought her into the ebook fold. Sometimes it's 2 in the morning, I've got to go to work the next day and she suddenly comments on the book she's reading in bed! Her friends say they see her reading in the checkout line at stores now.
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:30 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by animedude01 View Post
Is still don't understand why people insist on having their own directory structures. I'm not trying to flame you, but invariably someone comes and complains about how Calibre should be saving it's books in this particular way!

The best thing to do is to treat Calibre as a black box. It has a database that keeps track of your books, along with tags and the ability to search on almost any criteria. You can even export your books to disk so you can do anything you want. The books are kept in directories so even if the database gets hosed, the books are still there.


my own $0.02.

Treat Calibre like a Mail order Catalog Warehouse.
You place your order at the front desk and the goods are delivered according to the request (USB device, card slot, sent-as-message). You don't need to know where in the universe, the inventory was kept.

The Save preference template lets you do it (mostly), your way.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:50 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=Sydney's Mom;838253]... I would like to create some smaller files, like Debra's Mystery.../QUOTE]

Oh. Another thing. If you want, you can have Caliber to save the ebooks to a particular directory on your ereader.

For example, to have certain Mystery books saved to the "Debra_Mystery" directory, you can add a tag with a slash like /Debra_Mystery and Calibre will save all books with that tag to the Debra_Mystery directory on the ereader.

When I first saw that on a thread here on MR, it was a undocumented feature. I haven't look to see if it has been documented.

Maybe that will help too?
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Old 03-22-2010, 06:33 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=animedude01;839439]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydney's Mom View Post
... I would like to create some smaller files, like Debra's Mystery.../QUOTE]

Oh. Another thing. If you want, you can have Caliber to save the ebooks to a particular directory on your ereader.

For example, to have certain Mystery books saved to the "Debra_Mystery" directory, you can add a tag with a slash like /Debra_Mystery and Calibre will save all books with that tag to the Debra_Mystery directory on the ereader.

When I first saw that on a thread here on MR, it was a undocumented feature. I haven't look to see if it has been documented.

Maybe that will help too?
Does that work on the Kindle? Sounds great.
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Old 03-23-2010, 12:10 AM   #15
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[QUOTE=Sydney's Mom;840668]
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Originally Posted by animedude01 View Post

Does that work on the Kindle? Sounds great.
I don't know since I don't have a Kindle. It worked on my Iliad, though.

You could test it with a couple books and see.
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