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Old 03-14-2020, 11:37 PM   #1
Solarin
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Getting my calibre library ready for kobo forma questions

Hey guys, I am a longtime kindle user and I just ordered a kobo forma. My calibre library is completely catered toward the kindle's eccentricities, so I was just wondering if anyone had answers to my relatively niche questions. I really appreciate any insight you guys can give!

1. Is there a best image size for covers? I ask because the covers show up as screensavers as well on the forma. On my kindle, most of my covers are 651x990, so I was wondering if anyone found the sweet spot for image size and what that is.

2. Most of my authors are sorted by last name, first name because the kindle automatically re-populates them as first name, last name - but still sorts via last name for alphabetical purposes. I never figured out how to make calibre fix this, so I just manually changed the names in calibre to last, first and it worked fine for the kindle. Should I change that back to first name, last name for the kobo?

3. Any other insights on calibre management for those who also switched from kindle to kobo would be much appreciated! I've already heard about the kobo epub plugin, but I do not know anything else. Thanks!
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Old 03-15-2020, 10:04 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solarin View Post
Hey guys, I am a longtime kindle user and I just ordered a kobo forma. My calibre library is completely catered toward the kindle's eccentricities, so I was just wondering if anyone had answers to my relatively niche questions. I really appreciate any insight you guys can give!

1. Is there a best image size for covers? I ask because the covers show up as screensavers as well on the forma. On my kindle, most of my covers are 651x990, so I was wondering if anyone found the sweet spot for image size and what that is.

2. Most of my authors are sorted by last name, first name because the kindle automatically re-populates them as first name, last name - but still sorts via last name for alphabetical purposes. I never figured out how to make calibre fix this, so I just manually changed the names in calibre to last, first and it worked fine for the kindle. Should I change that back to first name, last name for the kobo?

3. Any other insights on calibre management for those who also switched from kindle to kobo would be much appreciated! I've already heard about the kobo epub plugin, but I do not know anything else. Thanks!
1. If the eBook does not have a high resolution cover, I try to find a high resolution cover. In the Calibre. I copy the cover and using the editor, I paste it over the existing cover. If the cover (existing or replaced) is larger then 1600 lines, I reduce the size to 1600 lines. That works very well on my Kobo Aura H2O.

2. You want the author name to be First Last like it it on the cover of the book. Kobo has the ability to Sort by first or last name when sorting by author.

3. The Kobo Utilities plugin is one that you should install and setup to backup your Kobo's database when you connect it to your Calibre's library.
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Old 03-15-2020, 10:22 AM   #3
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no advice, but also just ordered a kobo forma! Welcome to the kobo gang!
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Old 03-15-2020, 04:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solarin View Post
2. Most of my authors are sorted by last name, first name because the kindle automatically re-populates them as first name, last name - but still sorts via last name for alphabetical purposes. I never figured out how to make calibre fix this, so I just manually changed the names in calibre to last, first and it worked fine for the kindle. Should I change that back to first name, last name for the kobo?

3. Any other insights on calibre management for those who also switched from kindle to kobo would be much appreciated! I've already heard about the kobo epub plugin, but I do not know anything else. Thanks!
There's a plugin for Calibre named Quality Check. In its Fix menu, at the top, is Swap Author, which is a godsend for when you've "fixed" them for the stupid Kindle.

Another potentially useful plugin is Polish books. After converting the book to epub it might help to run it through that.

I still buy my books from Amazon and use Calibre to convert them to epub. (Which necessitates the Apprentice Alf drm removal plugin.)
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Old 03-15-2020, 05:18 PM   #5
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In terms of covers, there's a plugin called "Kindle hi-res covers" that will poll Amazon's servers for the highest resolution covers they have for that book that they push out for their higher resolution devices. They're usually supplied by the publisher so the quality is good most times. And if you want, you can use Calibre's Polish function to replace the cover image in the epub, but it'll increase the file size because of the larger file.

Another source for higher resolution covers might be the publisher's website and going through the book's gallery or preview options and see if you can save the jpg.

Last edited by rtiangha; 03-15-2020 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 03-15-2020, 07:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solarin View Post
Hey guys, I am a longtime kindle user and I just ordered a kobo forma. My calibre library is completely catered toward the kindle's eccentricities, so I was just wondering if anyone had answers to my relatively niche questions. I really appreciate any insight you guys can give!
The short answer is that it will just work. And it is probably a good idea to wait until you have the device and try it before changing much.

Having said that, and with the other comments...
Quote:
1. Is there a best image size for covers? I ask because the covers show up as screensavers as well on the forma. On my kindle, most of my covers are 651x990, so I was wondering if anyone found the sweet spot for image size and what that is.
My general advice is to get the best quality cover you can get and let the devices handle it. That goes for Kindles as well.

Kobo devices will generate the cover from the book. It doesn't matter much how big the cover is, but, the worse the quality or match to the size of the device, the worse the image will appear when displayed. You need to see it before you can make a decision.

You can also send the covers to the device using the driver. In this case, the covers are generated directly from cover in the calibre library. This will produce the best quality sleepcover images.
Quote:
2. Most of my authors are sorted by last name, first name because the kindle automatically re-populates them as first name, last name - but still sorts via last name for alphabetical purposes. I never figured out how to make calibre fix this, so I just manually changed the names in calibre to last, first and it worked fine for the kindle. Should I change that back to first name, last name for the kobo?
Kobo assumes the author is "FN LN" and "FN1 LN1, FN2 LN2" for multiple authors. It doesn't use author sort field from calibre, and in fact only uses the first dc:creator tag in the OPF. I recommend using the following metadata plugbord to set the author in the books when sending to the device:

Code:
program: raw_list('authors', ', ')
Quote:
3. Any other insights on calibre management for those who also switched from kindle to kobo would be much appreciated! I've already heard about the kobo epub plugin, but I do not know anything else. Thanks!
The rest really depends on what you want. Calibre can create the collections on the device if you want. There is an argument for using kepubs instead of epubs, in which case you look at the KoboTouchExtended driver or the appropriate conversion plugins. My Kobo Utilities plugin has a lot of function. One is to fetch the reading status from the device and store it in your library. Some people love that, some people don't understand why anyone would want to do that.

And all that is why I honestly think you won't really know what to do until you have the device in your hands and have played with it. Get it, put a few books on it and read a bit. Then work out what you do and don't like and what you want to change.
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Old 03-16-2020, 08:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
1. If the eBook does not have a high resolution cover, I try to find a high resolution cover. In the Calibre. I copy the cover and using the editor, I paste it over the existing cover. If the cover (existing or replaced) is larger then 1600 lines, I reduce the size to 1600 lines. That works very well on my Kobo Aura H2O.
Why reduce the resolution? Maybe in the future you'll have a device with a resolution higher than this.
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:06 AM   #8
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i stick with 600 x 900 for covers

2 reasons, 1) time i spend per day actually looking at full screen covers on my Kobo is a few seconds per day, max

2) i know that 600 x 900 is also accepted by all Kindles, I prefer a one size fits all approach

( there's also the extra Hard drive space needed to store a few thousand larger covers, but that's minimal, as a % of modern drive capacities
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:19 AM   #9
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Another potentially useful plugin is Polish books. After converting the book to epub it might help to run it through that.
Why would Polish help? Also, Polish is not a plugin.
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:20 AM   #10
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Why reduce the resolution? Maybe in the future you'll have a device with a resolution higher than this.
I'm doing it to reduce the file size and still keep a hi-res cover.
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Old 03-16-2020, 10:39 AM   #11
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I'm doing it to reduce the file size and still keep a hi-res cover.
final comment on this.

assuming that any smart Kobo owner is using a protective cover with auto sleep/wake ...

then they never get to see the sleep state screen in normal use.

when exactly are they ever going to get to see those wonderful hi res cover images?

not when browsing the list of books, not when reading the book....
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Old 03-16-2020, 12:31 PM   #12
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Why would Polish help? Also, Polish is not a plugin.
For me, Polish is just one of calibre's built-in plugins.
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Old 03-16-2020, 01:25 PM   #13
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final comment on this.

assuming that any smart Kobo owner is using a protective cover with auto sleep/wake ...

then they never get to see the sleep state screen in normal use.

when exactly are they ever going to get to see those wonderful hi res cover images?

not when browsing the list of books, not when reading the book....
Given that a lot of eBooks have generic crap covers, I want to be able to see the cover in Calibre's cover browser and in Kobo's cover view. I could be seeing the cover. Also, sometimes I do put down my H2O for long enough for it to go to sleep. So I do see the cover then.

Last edited by JSWolf; 03-16-2020 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 03-16-2020, 01:49 PM   #14
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Given that a lot of eBooks have generic crap covers, I want to be able to see the cover in Calibre's cover browser and in Kobo's cover view. I could be seeing the cover. Also, sometimes I do put down my H2O for long enough for it to go to sleep. do see the cover then.
ok - but ua nless you have huge monitor or run calibre full screen...
if I am in calibre main window, on a 27 inch monitor, the pane which shows the cover has an approx 3 inch by 2 inch cover image
thats enough for me to tell the difference beterrn 600 x- 900 and say 300 x 450, but beyond that its diminishing returns, I'd have ot enlarge to benefit from bigger pictures

also, I don't dwell on covers,I glance at covers in reader apps or when selecting next read, but that's basically to confirm that the cover appears consistent with the author and title in other row

i admit that my 600 x 900 is somewhat arbitrary and higher values may be better. I had discovered by trail and error that those values worked for all my devices, and have not looked at changing.

before that I had had instances of missing covers when I sideloaded some book with large covers to Kindle or to Kindle apps.

there is a case for standardizing all cover sizes - so that they look all the same on reader app " shelf". and in the kobos own look list cover view, I think a mix of sizes displays unevenly on the device ?

do you happen to know a larger target standard cover size that will display ok on kindle ( lets say PW or newer) as well as on kobo's clara or better
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Old 03-16-2020, 02:16 PM   #15
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Why would Polish help? Also, Polish is not a plugin.
It was recommended for fixing nits. For example, if I fix the metadata in Calibre, make the Author sort have a green outline instead of red, it's not automatically migrated to the epub's metadata. They'll have one thing for dc:creator and then the meta property file-as for that will be something different. Polish books pushes the changes into the epub's metadata.

Last edited by hobnail; 03-16-2020 at 02:18 PM.
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