Thread: PRS-T1 Calibre or Sony
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:36 PM   #96
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Join Date: Aug 2010
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Device: Kindle Oasis; Kobo Aura One; iPad Pro 9.7
Here is the thought process I used to move my library over from the Sony software to calibre.

First, watch the calibre demos. Even if you have used calibre before, you will probably learn something new (I did!). There are two videos: an overall description of features (Grand Tour) and an introduction to more advanced features of the user interface (UI Power Tips).

Next consult the calibre help section on their website frequently. The FAQ's are very useful. There is an online manual with loads of information.

You can also download the user manual in EPUB format to transfer to your Sony. See this thread.

One of the things I like about calibre is that you can hover your mouse over icons and fields and it typically has help information to guide you. I also found the keyboard shortcuts great for making commands quicker.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I have a Mac so I am not sure if the menus exactly translate the same to the PC version so you'll have to figure out the equivalents. They should be "close enough".

Get to the know the menu item "Preferences > Change Calibre behavior". That's where most of the customization occurs. In this menu, under Advanced at the bottom of the screen, select Plugins. In the Plugin list, under "Device interface plugins", find the Sony plugin. Highlight the one for your Sony model and select the big "Customize..." button. Here is where you tell calibre how to interface with your Sony ereader.
  • For example, here is where you specify what metadata fields you want to be turned into collections (such as series or tags or your own custom columns).
  • You can specify to use the covers in your metadata settings as the "thumbnails" from which your ereader will generate the book icons that you see on screen.
  • You can also use "template language" to change the filename and folder path of your books when they are saved to your ereader
  • This list is not inclusive. Open up the menu and look at it to see what else you can do.

calibre has a default list of items that you can enter about your books, such as title, author, publisher, series info, published date, etc. You can track any kind of information that you want by adding your own custom columns. These columns can be text, numbers, dates, etc. It is very flexible. For example, I created a column called Source to track where I got the book from (Sony, Amazon, public domain, etc.). Some people like to track the price they paid. Some people create a date column to track the last time they modified a book record. I created a column called Read Date to track what date I finished reading a book. I created a yes/no column called Read to indicate if I had read the book or not. TIP: If you watch the UI Power Tips video that I linked to at the top of this post, then it shows you how to create a custom column and uses the Yes/No Read column as an example. To create a custom column, go to Preferences > Change calibre behavior. Then select "Add your own columns" under Interface at the top of the menu. Follow the prompts. I repeat: watch the UI Power Tips video to learn more.

The simplest way to organize collections on your Sony ereader is to use tags and series. Tags are unordered lists. By default, collections generated from tags sort items by title when you select "Added Order" as the sorting method on your ereader. Say you want collections on your ereader named things like Photography, Reference, History, Adventure, etc. Just assign these words as "tags" for each of your books. Series are ordered lists. For example, I am a Steve Berry fan and have a series for his Cotton Malone books. TIP: Series numbers do not have to be whole integers (1,2,3) and can be decimals. For example, to insert Berry's short stories into the Cotton Malone series, I called them 5.5 and 6.5. You specify a number for each book in a series (calibre calls those numbers a "series index") and your items will be sorted in order. TIP: You can create "fake series". What does that mean? For example, I belong to a book-club and created a series called "My Book Club" and ordered the books by how they've been read in the club. Some people use only series for collections and never tags. They might create a series called "Photography" and then number the items 1,2,3 to force them to order in a specific way.

I have hundreds of books in my library. I wanted more sophisticated methods to organize them. I wanted to be able to sort them by genre (e.g. History) and subgenres (e.g. US, World and Military). I followed this post to create a user column with hierarchical genre info that shows up in the tag browser.

Why would I do this? Well, I like to sort my collections on my ereader with names like "Genre - Subgenre". I could have just created tags with these names. However, I wanted tags to be more powerful for searching my large library. For example, I have a historical fiction book that is about England during WW2. I also have a non-fiction book that is about England during WW2. I want to be able to assign tags like England and WW2 to group my books together regardless of whether they are fiction or non-fiction. However, I don't want collections called England and WW2 to show up on my ereader. That would be too much clutter for me. Instead I want the books to go into collections based on the genre names such as historical fiction and world history. Remember the Device Interface Plugin I mentioned earlier where you could specify what metadata fields are used for collections? Instead of having series and tags in this list, I made mine "series, #genre". I don't want any collections from tags. I just want them from series and my custom genre column which I called #genre when I created it. TIP: Hover your mouse over the column in your book list to see the lookup name for that column to use in this device interface metadata list.

I actually did something a little more complicated to break the genre column into subitems and format with dashes in the collection name instead of periods but that's a little too advanced for this post. You can create custom columns for just about anything using template language. Another example is that I assign a tag "Fiction" or "Non-Fiction" to every book. I also have a column for Read Status as mentioned above. I created a custom column that queries the tag values and also the Read Status and then creates a collection name from the various combinations like "Read / To Be Read" - "Fiction / NonFiction". That's what you see in the previous picture that I posted. So my list in the Device Interface is actually "series, #genre, #readtags". To figure out the correct template language, I followed this tutorial. Don't be afraid to use trial-and-error to experiment to get the right results.

The next thing to familiarize yourself with are Tweaks. This icon is next to Plugins in the Preferences > Change calibre behavior menu. What if you don't want your collections based on tags to sort by title? Use the tweak called "Specify how Sony collections are sorted". For example, I sort my Read collections by Date Read and my Genre collections by Published Date. Each tweak explains how to write the code which in this case for me is:
sony_collection_sorting_rules = [(['#readtags'], '#dateread'), (['#genre'], 'pubdate')]
What if you don't want your collections all mixed up and want to group them by categories? Just like I had My Tags, Series and Read Tags grouped together in the photo that I posted. Use the Tweak called "Specify Renaming Rules for Sony collections". My code looks like this:
sony_collection_name_template = '{category:||: }{value}'
sony_collection_renaming_rules = {'series': 'Series', '#readtags': 'Read Tags', '#genre': 'My Tags'}
To use these advanced Tweaks, you need to set your library management to Automatic rather than Manual. Go to Preferences > Change calibre behavior. Then select the icon for "Sending books to device". Then see the drop-down box for "Metadata management". To learn more read this thread:

You can really expand the functionality of calibre by using plugins. Go to the menu item "Preferences > Get plugins to expand calibre". Select the plugin you are interested in and read the description. If you want it, then click the install button. There is a subforum in the calibre forum dedicated to plugins. Each plugin typically has its own thread that describes how to use it. For example, I added a plugin to get metadata from the Goodreads website. I also added a plugin that will estimate the number of pages in your book.

An intro to plugins is here:

You can also use Plugboards to expand functionality. For example, say you want to add the series info to the title that you see on your ereader screen. Here is a post which summarizes some of the various custom options that people are doing.

Here is another thread that I found useful.

The other useful feature that I discovered was how to create a catalog of all of my books in EPUB format. Select the drop-down box next to the Convert icon and select "Create catalog...". This feature is awesome! You can customize how much info you want in the catalog. You can catalog your whole library or just a select number of books.

Another feature is that you can create an empty book record, i.e. it has no file formats attached to it. Select the drop-down box next to the Add Books icon and select "Add empty book..." Why would you want to create an empty book? Some people use it to track their paperbooks with their ebooks. Other people use it to track their wishlists. Other people use it to track the books that they have on-hold with their local library.

How you want to organize your library is a very personal preference. Everybody has different needs based on the number and types of books that you want to organize. Best advice is to post in the calibre forum to describe exactly what you are trying to accomplish and someone will help you out. They are probably more likely to help you if you show you've made an effort to figure things out first.

Hope that helps simplify the process and makes it a little less intimidating!

Last edited by Bookworm_Girl; 01-15-2012 at 02:59 PM.
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