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Old 06-27-2017, 02:10 AM   #1
Inukami
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Question eBook/Comic/Manga Library Management Workflow: How do you manage your library?

Hi Everyone,

I’m still in experimental stage regarding my eBook/Comic library and would like to know how everyone else manages their libraries? I have put this post in the Calibre forum because it is at the heart of the whole library management. I think without it, nothing else would be possible. But it may also warrant attention from other groups…like CC, Marvin.

I think I have pretty much worked how I will be managing my eBooks, but I’m still unsure how I will manage my eComic/Manga library, so I would in particular be interested how everyone manages those libraries. I have provided information on how I proposed to manage mine and some questions.

Basically both types will be in one Calibre library, especially if I want to use CC (as a catalogue) for both, as doesn’t allow multiple libraries.

Operating System: Mac O SX (most recent) with iBooks & Kindle for Mac and/or Microsoft PC with Calibre, CC, ComicRack
  • iPad 4: Most recent iOS with Calibre Companion, Marvin 3 (ComicRack)
  • iPhone 6: Most recent iOS with Calibre Companion, Marvin 3
Calibre Version: 3.0.0
  • Calibre Plugins: DRM, Reading List, Eject, Count Pages, Metadata Writer and maybe ComicVine
  • Library: One library with ebooks and emanga sorted by custom column
  • Formats: epub, azw, cbz (text if use CC as catalogue)
  • Cloud: Dropbox (?). Originally I was going to use Dropbox to house my library but now not sure if I need it/could use it and just better on computer.

E-Book Library (located on mac computer)

For my books, I’m thinking that I will actually use iBook & Kindle for when reading new books from them as I don’t actually mind the readers and books are synced, and when finished reading, import them into Calibre and either transfer via wifi to CC as books (epub) or as catalogue (txt). My iPad has a lot of space so potentially could fit my current ebook library but not really sure if I need it if most of the books are on the default readers anyway (on cloud) where books were bought from and because my library will increase. I seem to be leaning towards using CC more as a catalogue so if I want to read an old book, I can check the blurb. This would also be good to use for new books, as sometimes I buy/get and don’t get around to it later, so forget the content… Would this work?
  1. Import books into Calibre
    • I use automator for mac which copies books from iBooks and Kindle which I download to auto import folder so when I next open Calibre it imports (DRM) any new books.
    • Make relevant changes (converting, editing metadata, etc…)
    • Either transfer books to CC and open in Marvin OR use as catalogue with text files and find book in other reader (iBook/Kindle).
  2. Backup: Take backup on external hardrive, USB and maybe the cloud (if my internet was moderately faster.
  3. In iBooks/Kindle: I would have READ and TRANSFER collections. READ would imply that I have already read the book and transferred to Calibre while TRANSFER still needed to be added to Calibre and then those books could be put into the READ collection.

E-Manga Library

I’m not quite sure how I should manage my e-comic/manga library. Either way I need to import them into Calibre (DRM, convert, metadata etc…). But after that, I’m not sure what I should do next. Obviously the manga files are a lot larger than the books, so I wouldn’t be able to keep them on CC as data as it would fill my iPad very quickly. So I think my best option is to have them on CC as a catalogue so I can still look them up when needed. If I want to read them either transfer as READING LIST to Marvin using Calibre (?)/through CC or using ComicRack with wifi to iPad so that I only have the manga that I’m currently reading/to read on my ipad. If possible I would like to get out of using another program to manage manga on another computer (PC), but if you think ComicRack is better at managing a comic/manga library then willing to use it as well. I think they will be in Calibre anyway especially as I want to keep CC catalogue.
  1. Import manga/comics into Calibre
    • Make relevant changes (converting, editing metadata, etc…)
  2. Next
    • Transfer to ComicRack and use Wifi to iPad OR
    • Send to Marvin or CC from Calibre (this might get confusing with the other text files)
    • Dropbox: I would like to use Dropbox but as the files are usually quite large, not sure if worth it. Yes they would be accessible anywhere, but can take ages to download, and would probably be home/with wifi when transferring/updating reading list anyway. Maybe I’m just impatient.
  3. Backup: Take backup on external hardrive, USB and maybe the cloud (if my internet was moderately faster).

I have been puzzling through this for a while so any help, advice or just letting me know how you manage (workflow) your various libraries would be appreciated. I have probably thought about this way too much, but want to get is right (set up), and then it’s all good. Hopefully everything is understandable.

to all the developers (and others who help out) of these great software that allow us to manage our books so wonderfully.

eBook/Comic Library Management Workflow: How do you manage your library?
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:40 AM   #2
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I use android, so I don't know if everything translates to the ios version of calibre companion, but anyway, here's how I manage my comics:
- I have a seperate library for my comics.
- I usually only use cbz as the format for comics
- Before I import them into calibre, I download matadata into them with comictagger, but comicrack can do this too.
- I import them to calibre and use my "Embed Comic Metadata" plugin to get all the metadata into calibre

I just use calibre companion to import the comics to my tablet. I configured calibre companion to download cbz files to a special directory for comics and use a template to rename the files. Then I just point my reading app to that directory. With comicrack as the reading app, renaming maybe is even unnecessary, since it should read the metadata of the comics (but I don't use comicrack anymore). Or you could just start reading from cc.
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Old 06-29-2017, 10:01 AM   #3
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@dickloraine - Thanks for your response. A few questions.

Quote:
I have a seperate library for my comics


What do you mean by seperate library?
  1. Two libraries on the one instance of calibre
  2. Two seperate libraries on different instances of calibre on same computer
  3. One library on one computer and another on another computer

Quote:
- Before I import them into calibre, I download matadata into them with comictagger, but comicrack can do this too.
- I import them to calibre and use my "Embed Comic Metadata" plugin to get all the metadata into calibre


I'm not sure if this will work for me. The majority of my manga are Japanese. I even tried Calibre's ISBN, as they do have these, but it didn't pick it up. Should comictagger/your plugin work with non english comics/manga?

Quote:
I configured calibre companion to download cbz files to a special directory for comics and use a template to rename the files. Then I just point my reading app to that directory


Unfortunately the iOS version of CC doesn't allow for different folders. This probably needs to be updated in the CC FAQ as it seems to suggest that it does work for both android and iOS...
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:54 AM   #4
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I use just one calibre instance with multiple libraries.

I don't read mangas, so I don't know. Comicrack and Comictagger use comic vine as their database. If the manga are there, it should work. Comicrack and Comictagger do the exact same thing, so if comicrack doesn't work, comictagger wouldn't work either.
I don't use comicrack anymore, but as far as I know, it has scripts. Maybe there are scripts specific for manga metadata for it?

My plugin doesn't download any metadata. It just imports existing metadata in cbz/cbr files into calibre. I just know/like calibre better than comicrack and my plugin allows the reading/writing of comicrack metadada embedded in comics.

Last edited by dickloraine; 06-29-2017 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 06-30-2017, 08:41 PM   #5
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Hi, I am a novice and so I don't know how to use Automator on a Mac to transfer an iBook to calibre. I need to do this so I can open an iBook into a reader that I can study off and make notes directly on the text book with an iPad Pro rather than next to it, but it seems I cannot get a book out of iBooks if it is large.
I am happy to try Automator but I cannot see how I can do it. Any step by step help would be appreciated. Many thanks
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Old 06-30-2017, 09:22 PM   #6
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@droilly - Automator is a feature of the Apple OS X Operating System, not the calibre Library Management Application. Search for OS X Automator in your Web Browser, you'll get a zillion hits on what it is and how to use it.

BR

Last edited by BetterRed; 06-30-2017 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 06-30-2017, 09:30 PM   #7
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Hi , thanks BetterRed
i found automator on Mac but there is no ibook option. I will try to research how to use it, but i thought i might have a quick answer as ive spent so much time back and forth on my ipad with icloud, itunes etc and lost all my books so many times that I am getting fed up with apple and dont want to rely upon their clunky system. There is one book in there in ibooks that I specifically want in another application. I have spent a week on this already can you believe?
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Old 07-03-2017, 04:28 PM   #8
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I store everything in CB7 files with embeded ComicRack metadata. One file per title.

And read everything on Kindle Voyage.

Last edited by AcidWeb; 07-11-2017 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drlolly View Post

Hi, I am a novice and so I don't know how to use Automator on a Mac to transfer an iBook to calibre. I need to do this so I can open an iBook into a reader that I can study off and make notes directly on the text book with an iPad Pro rather than next to it, but it seems I cannot get a book out of iBooks if it is large.

I am happy to try Automator but I cannot see how I can do it. Any step by step help would be appreciated. Many thanks
  1. As @BetterRed mentioned, Automator is a tool to automate tasks. I use it to automatically add books into Calibre once I have downloaded them onto Desktop. At the moment only using for Amazon, but hope to use it for iBooks as well. I can provide more information/how I use it if that would help.
  2. All iBooks have Fairplay DRM which means you cant read the ibooks on any other reader unless you remove the DRM or the reader can somehow access the books with the DRM (there are some readers that do this). I use a software to remove the DRM. This then enables me to move the books into Calibre, otherwise you can't move DRM ibooks into Calibre. The majority of my books are with Ibooks so decided to get the software, as the cost was worth it, especially with the current issues with the Amazon Kindle KFX format. The software also preserves most of the basic metadata.

@dickloraine, a few more questions/comments...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dickloraine View Post

I use just one calibre instance with multiple libraries.
Unfortunately I can't use the multiple folders as I'm using iOS so not sure whether better to have one library or two. If I have two, I will only be able to show one library on CC. That it why I'm leaning towards one library, with tag/custom column, eBook & eManga. This is a lot of books in the one library though. It would be great if we could have multiple instances of CC on iOS or access to multiple libraries. I have requested but who knows when/if this will be possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dickloraine View Post

I don't read mangas, so I don't know. Comicrack and Comictagger use comic vine as their database. If the manga are there, it should work. Comicrack and Comictagger do the exact same thing, so if comicrack doesn't work, comictagger wouldn't work either.

I don't use comicrack anymore, but as far as I know, it has scripts. Maybe there are scripts specific for manga metadata for it?
Unfortunately I can't use ComicRack/ComicTagger. It has limited data for Japanese language manga and the majority of mine, around 98%, are in Japanese.

However I have found another solution. Since most of the eManga are from Amazon Japan, I have enabled another country Metadata Download source, and it seems to be finding most of the data. I also have a lot of manga which are in paper format. Now with that extra metadata source enabled, it seems to find the metadata through ISBN as well. Although seems to have problem finding the comments information. This means I can now do both in Calibre, which is good, as like you I would prefer to keep it all in Calibre if I can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dickloraine View Post

My plugin doesn't download any metadata. It just imports existing metadata in cbz/cbr files into calibre. I just know/like calibre better than comicrack and my plugin allows the reading/writing of comicrack metadada embedded in comics.
I seem to have the following two metadata plugins:
  1. Embed Comic Metadata
  2. Embed Metadata

Are these both yours or just the first and what is the difference between the two? And if I am now getting the metadata from the source/ISBN, do I not need to use your plugin? Do I still need to polish book or is this only used for EPUB and need to use your plugin for CBZ files? All the eManga will be in CBZ format...

I also note that the "book jacket" option in polish books doesn't work for comics/cbz files. While if I have the manga in CC, I don't really need it (not intending to use "book jackets" for books), is there any way to add a sort of "book jacket" or "back cover" to the manga with extra information/metadata like for the books. Or would you just have to add another jpeg/image file?

And one final (I hope) question. How can I get Calibre to convert AZW3 to CBZ? Obviously the ones from Amazon are in this format. I can convert to ZIP, but then I have to manually move file to desktop and manually rename, which is a bit tiresome.

Thanks,

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Old 07-09-2017, 05:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inukami View Post
I also note that the "book jacket" option in polish books doesn't work for comics/cbz files. While if I have the manga in CC, I don't really need it (not intending to use "book jackets" for books), is there any way to add a sort of "book jacket" or "back cover" to the manga with extra information/metadata like for the books. Or would you just have to add another jpeg/image file?
The format type of CBC (Comic Book Collection) is distinguished by the presence of a file named comics.txt within the ZIP. And instead of images, a CBC must contain a sold set of CBZ and/or CBR files.

I'm not sure what can be done with CBC files reader wise, and I've not seen a plugin to create the comics.txt file from the calibre metadata (a'la a book jacket) - you could create a CSV catalogue and edit that. I don't know if single comic collections are permissible, I doubt calibre would care, but a CBC viewer app might splutter on such a thing.

Member dickloraine will undoubtedly know more

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inukami View Post
And one final (I hope) question. How can I get Calibre to convert AZW3 to CBZ? Obviously the ones from Amazon are in this format. I can convert to ZIP, but then I have to manually move file to desktop and manually rename, which is a bit tiresome.
How do you convert the AZW3 to ZIP, if with calibre why not convert direct to CBZ/R.

Where do you create the ZIP?

On Windows: If its in the calibre library book folder, I open the book folder and drag drop the ZIP into the Book Details panel. Provided it's a plain zip with a solid set of images, calibre should copy it, rename with a .CBZ extension, and use the first image as the cover. You'll need to delete the ZIP from the folder when the CBZ appears in the book folder window. I'd be surprised if you couldn't do the same with OS X and Finder.

BR
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Old 07-11-2017, 12:04 PM   #11
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Cbc is a good idea (as would be just using folders inside cbz to create a toc), but I think only calibre uses it and only very few readers can work with cbz's inside cbz's. Unfortunately "comic formats" are in no way standardized and really only zip files with a fancy ending. For metadata inside comic files, comicracks way is the most common, simply because comicrack is the most used software for comics (storing metadata in the zip comment is in my opinion better than comicracks way, but apart from calibre seldom used). To be true, if you just use calibre for everything comic related, embeding metadata into the comics is not that useful, since only a few apps even use this. The other way is more usefull, to get metadata into calibre in the first place.

Polishing cbz is not possible, that's what my plugin is for (but few readers read the information anyway).

If calibre makes a zip on conversion, you can use my addon to make a cbz out of it (it's just a rename). It can convert zips, rars and cbrs into cbz.

Unfortunately I can't help with ios, since I don't know anything about it But cc can filter quite nicely, so only using one library shouldn't be that big of an issue hopefully.
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:49 AM   #12
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Hi @BetterRed & @dickloraine,

Thanks for your responses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BetterRed View Post

How do you convert the AZW3 to ZIP, if with calibre why not convert direct to CBZ/R.

Where do you create the ZIP?

On Windows: If its in the calibre library book folder, I open the book folder and drag drop the ZIP into the Book Details panel. Provided it's a plain zip with a solid set of images, calibre should copy it, rename with a .CBZ extension, and use the first image as the cover. You'll need to delete the ZIP from the folder when the CBZ appears in the book folder window. I'd be surprised if you couldn't do the same with OS X and Finder.

BR
I originally started by converting from AZW3 to ZIP in Calibre and then dragged the ZIP file onto desktop, changed the extension to .CBZ and reimported it. But obviously I didn't want to do it this way and I was hoping to do it automatically within Calibre without me needing to do anything. I then forgot that I had the Embed Comic Metadata plugin which can convert from ZIP to CBZ. The method you mentioned seems to be more work as well...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BetterRed View Post
The format type of CBC (Comic Book Collection) is distinguished by the presence of a file named comics.txt within the ZIP. And instead of images, a CBC must contain a sold set of CBZ and/or CBR files.

I'm not sure what can be done with CBC files reader wise, and I've not seen a plugin to create the comics.txt file from the calibre metadata (a'la a book jacket) - you could create a CSV catalogue and edit that. I don't know if single comic collections are permissible, I doubt calibre would care, but a CBC viewer app might splutter on such a thing.

Member dickloraine will undoubtedly know more

BR
Quote:
Originally Posted by dickloraine View Post
Cbc is a good idea (as would be just using folders inside cbz to create a toc), but I think only calibre uses it and only very few readers can work with cbz's inside cbz's. Unfortunately "comic formats" are in no way standardized and really only zip files with a fancy ending. For metadata inside comic files, comicracks way is the most common, simply because comicrack is the most used software for comics (storing metadata in the zip comment is in my opinion better than comicracks way, but apart from calibre seldom used). To be true, if you just use calibre for everything comic related, embeding metadata into the comics is not that useful, since only a few apps even use this. The other way is more usefull, to get metadata into calibre in the first place.
Thanks for this information but have decided that since I will have the comic library within Cablibre and only using CC and Marvin, I don't really need to imbed comic data into the comic so don't need Cbc or a jacket. CC displays all the information I need to see to start with and then I can just open up in reader.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dickloraine View Post
If calibre makes a zip on conversion, you can use my addon to make a cbz out of it (it's just a rename). It can convert zips, rars and cbrs into cbz.
If I get Calibre to automatically convert to ZIP when added and then make sure "Also convert rar and zip to cbz" and "Auto convert while imporing to calibre" is ticked, will your plugin automatically convert the zip to a cbz? If so, this seems like the best option for me.

Or if possible, would you be able to make a Conversion output plugin to CBZ Output? If so, this may be even better, as I only need the conversion part of your Embed Comic Metadata plugin. And make it so you could go straight from AZW3/EPUB to CBZ (I guess it would convert to ZIP in-between if needed).

Quote:
Originally Posted by dickloraine View Post

Unfortunately I can't help with ios, since I don't know anything about it But cc can filter quite nicely, so only using one library shouldn't be that big of an issue hopefully.
I seem to have a couple options/questions:
  1. Have two seperate libraries with one library on iPad and one library on iPad 4. This way I could have two seperate libraries and two seperate instances on CC as they aren't synced.
  2. As you mentioned, have one library and use CC to filter. What are the reasons why you decided to only have one library?
  3. I'm still also not sure if I want to put the actual comic files onto my device as they would take too much room. Thinking just put comic catalogue on CC (txt files) and sending what I need to read via reading list so only have minimum comics on the actual reader. I'm assuming you don't put your whole actual library on CC, as that would take too much room right? Have you also ever or do you use Dropbox to access comics or are they too large/slow to download so you just send to device using wifi?


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Old 07-13-2017, 01:48 PM   #13
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I just load comics through wifi, since they are large. My book library is on onedrive and that works like a charm. But I don't do this for comics, since they would use up all the space I have. If you have the storage space and data plan, why not? I guess mangas are a little bit smaller than full color comics.

My plugin will not autoconvert if you just import a comic into calibre. These options are only used by the plugin itself. But you can select all comics in zip format and then just use the convert to cbz action in the menu on the toolbar.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dickloraine View Post
I just load comics through wifi, since they are large. My book library is on onedrive and that works like a charm. But I don't do this for comics, since they would use up all the space I have. If you have the storage space and data plan, why not? I guess mangas are a little bit smaller than full color comics.
Just out of interest, what sort of size range are you working with? Mine usually range from 30 MB to around 120 MB. As you mentioned mine are mostly black and white, just with a colour cover page. Do you also have any issues with size in CC?

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Originally Posted by dickloraine View Post

My plugin will not autoconvert if you just import a comic into calibre. These options are only used by the plugin itself. But you can select all comics in zip format and then just use the convert to cbz action in the menu on the toolbar.
Ok. Then I will do this manually. I don't have that many at the moment so shouldn't take too long. The majority of my manga are actually in paper format. Another project for me is to digitise them. Any pointers you can give here would also be good.

Otherwise it looks like I have worked everything out. Thank you for all your help. Now I just need to decide whether I want to put my books and manga in the one library or separate them...I will also post my workflow here when finalised for anyone who may find it useful.

Inukami
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:41 PM   #15
dickloraine
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Originally Posted by Inukami View Post
Just out of interest, what sort of size range are you working with? Mine usually range from 30 MB to around 120 MB. As you mentioned mine are mostly black and white, just with a colour cover page. Do you also have any issues with size in CC?



Ok. Then I will do this manually. I don't have that many at the moment so shouldn't take too long. The majority of my manga are actually in paper format. Another project for me is to digitise them. Any pointers you can give here would also be good.

Otherwise it looks like I have worked everything out. Thank you for all your help. Now I just need to decide whether I want to put my books and manga in the one library or separate them...I will also post my workflow here when finalised for anyone who may find it useful.

Inukami
Mostly 30-75mb for an issue with 30-40 pages, but it depends on the quality of the images. But mostly I only read trade paperbacks, which have much more pages. This can get up to 700mb. Sometimes I change the quality down for mobile use, if only a high definition version is available, since I don't see a difference if the size is much bigger than my screen. But mostly I don't bother and live with having only a couple of comics on the device. I mostly read books, so that is no problem for me.
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