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Old 09-22-2015, 09:39 AM   #1
Stanley66
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Calibre alternative for mac os?

Hello there!

My first post, because I got my first eReader – Kobo Aura H2O. I do not have hundreds of books yet and so far all are open ePubs. I keep them in Dropbox and copy to Kobo with Finder.

I see most of you use Calibre, but wanted to ask, are there some other nice alternatives for Mac OS which you use and/or can suggest? Not necessary free ones, but good ones.

What I would like to have is just a little sexy app to keep in (or have linked to) all my ebooks and transfer some to my Kobo.
I do not need tags, ratings, filtering, editing functionality, formats conversion, so Calibre seems a bit overkill. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, but Calibre’s GUI is also not something I would enjoy using. And it doesn’t seem to work properly on my system…

Thank you very much for suggestions!
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Old 09-22-2015, 10:07 AM   #2
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I don't know of any alternatives, free or not, OSX or not.


I don't see why overkill is a problem.
I suppose the GUI is a matter of opinion. I for one enjoy it a lot, possibly because I focus on the functionality. But you aren't the first person who has posted about a lack of polish.
(Hey, not everyone has expertise in GUI design and Apple UI standards and calibre is primarily developed by one person. I'm sure no one would object to more polish, if someone volunteered to do the work, but no experts have ever stepped forward...)


If it isn't working properly on your computer, that is either a bug or a misconfiguration of some sort, either way it shouldn't happen!
What exactly isn't working?

Last edited by eschwartz; 09-22-2015 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:03 AM   #3
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Thank you for the reply!

I believe good design is focusing on functionality, but please do not understand me wrong, I admire the product made with passion, knowledge, lots of functions and distributed freely. I don't mean to criticize Calibre. It just feels too complex and huge for me personally, when used just to sync a few books on my Kobo and have a few more waiting on my mac.

Mac OS has already a good data organisation with spotlight search, etc. Dropbox do the rest (synchronisation, possible backup). So I was wondering maybe there is some light utility which can just allow you to see eBook covers in a gallery style and (optionally) categorise them. I saw old posts saying that there is no alternative to calibre, but was hoping times have changed..

The little technical issue I have is when I start Calibre form the Applications it behaves like I just downloaded it and opening for the first time.
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Old 09-22-2015, 03:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley66 View Post
Thank you for the reply!

I believe good design is focusing on functionality, but please do not understand me wrong, I admire the product made with passion, knowledge, lots of functions and distributed freely. I don't mean to criticize Calibre. It just feels too complex and huge for me personally, when used just to sync a few books on my Kobo and have a few more waiting on my mac.
Understood.

I do think it would be nice if someone with the right knowledge could help polish the UI -- after all, many people do value that (and would be more likely to use calibre), and it can only be a positive.

Another interesting idea that has nobody to bring it to life, is a Simplified mode.

Quote:
Mac OS has already a good data organisation with spotlight search, etc. Dropbox do the rest (synchronisation, possible backup). So I was wondering maybe there is some light utility which can just allow you to see eBook covers in a gallery style and (optionally) categorise them. I saw old posts saying that there is no alternative to calibre, but was hoping times have changed..
Not really.
There are a few web frontends for ebooks (see the Calibre ==> Related Tools subforum) but that isn't the same thing at all. And they mostly read calibre's database...

Quote:
The little technical issue I have is when I start Calibre form the Applications it behaves like I just downloaded it and opening for the first time.
That is odd.
Preferences ==> Miscellaneous ==> Open calibre configuration directory (button)
Should default to something like "~/Library/Application Support/calibre" I believe.

Is the configuration not being written for some reason?
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Old 09-22-2015, 03:43 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Stanley66 View Post
So I was wondering maybe there is some light utility which can just allow you to see eBook covers in a gallery style and (optionally) categorise them.
Maybe some of what you want is covered by the ePub QuickLook plugin? As long as the metadata is filled out properly, it'll show you the covers in Finder, and Spotlight will index the description contents (and I guess you could add Finder tags to categorize), if someone's filled out the blurb.

It works quite nicely for me in Yosemite (although it does mostly tend to show just how many of my ePubs don't have the metadata filled in correctly).
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Old 09-22-2015, 04:13 PM   #6
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I don't think there is any good alternative. Unless the Kobo Desktop application would do? I haven't tried it myself (I don't have a Kobo device), but I'd expect it to be able to copy to your device.
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:53 PM   #7
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If you want an easier interface, then you could tweak calibre a little. Maybe it will not look as pretty as you would like, but maybe this could work as a compromise. Just hide the tag browser and book detail pane and choose the cover-grid view. Then try one of the new icon themes. This is an example I did in like 3 mins.
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:34 AM   #8
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Honestly calibre is the way to go. You don't have hundreds of books yet, but you probably will. It is entirely possible you will end up wanting to manage them in collections, and/or work with annotations, and/or tweak them in some way. Start as you mean to go on, I say.

Post your problem in the Calibre forum. I am sure it is fixable.

Last edited by meeera; 09-23-2015 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 09-23-2015, 04:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
Understood.

I do think it would be nice if someone with the right knowledge could help polish the UI -- after all, many people do value that (and would be more likely to use calibre), and it can only be a positive.

Another interesting idea that has nobody to bring it to life, is a Simplified mode.



Not really.
There are a few web frontends for ebooks (see the Calibre ==> Related Tools subforum) but that isn't the same thing at all. And they mostly read calibre's database...



That is odd.
Preferences ==> Miscellaneous ==> Open calibre configuration directory (button)
Should default to something like "~/Library/Application Support/calibre" I believe.

Is the configuration not being written for some reason?
Thanks, will try to play with configuration.
Can not agree more about a positive impact which UI design volunteer can make And Calibre Lite would be great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATDrake View Post
Maybe some of what you want is covered by the ePub QuickLook plugin? As long as the metadata is filled out properly, it'll show you the covers in Finder, and Spotlight will index the description contents (and I guess you could add Finder tags to categorize), if someone's filled out the blurb.

It works quite nicely for me in Yosemite (although it does mostly tend to show just how many of my ePubs don't have the metadata filled in correctly).
very interesting, thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
I don't think there is any good alternative. Unless the Kobo Desktop application would do? I haven't tried it myself (I don't have a Kobo device), but I'd expect it to be able to copy to your device.
Re Kobo Desktop, honestly, I haven't tried it either... but as far as I know (following the name) it just lets you to read Kobo Books on your desktop (and phone/tablet). If we talk just about copying books to Kobo device, there is no easiest way than drag n drop books to Kobo from Finder. And this is also suggested by Kobo as the main option..

Quote:
Originally Posted by dickloraine View Post
If you want an easier interface, then you could tweak calibre a little. Maybe it will not look as pretty as you would like, but maybe this could work as a compromise. Just hide the tag browser and book detail pane and choose the cover-grid view. Then try one of the new icon themes. This is an example I did in like 3 mins.
Quote:
Originally Posted by meeera View Post
Honestly calibre is the way to go. You don't have hundreds of books yet, but you probably will. It is entirely possible you will end up wanting to manage them in collections, and/or work with annotations, and/or tweak them in some way. Start as you mean to go on, I say.

Post your problem in the Calibre forum. I am sure it is fixable.
If Calibre it the only way to go, I'll try to tweak it, thanks for the suggestion! Or I'll voloneer for UI design But now my goal is just to find more time for reading

Maybe it is a wrong post to ask, but does Calibre works with Kobo Collections? I found information only about shelves, but do not really understand it yet. It creates some folders in Kobo? Please excuse my ignorance.
Some time ago I've tried ADE and for the same ePub, which looks like one nice file on my mac and Kobo, when uploaded via Finder, ADE created a number of folders, which looks a bit messy..
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Old 09-23-2015, 04:27 AM   #10
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Maybe it is a wrong post to ask, but does Calibre works with Kobo Collections? I found information only about shelves, but do not really understand it yet. It creates some folders in Kobo? Please excuse my ignorance.
Shelves was just the old word for collections.

Forget folders - shelves/collections aren't hierarchical and fixed, they are a flexible tagging-type system. So you can have a book concurrently on the shelves "science fiction", "twentieth century", "read first", "hugo award winner", and so on.


To learn more about managing shelves/collections with Calibre, there is a sticky thread on the Kobo forum. It looks complicated at first but it is quite straightforward to follow it step by step. (After you've fixed your Calibre issue.)

You can create collections directly on the device, however this is slow and cumbersome, and if you need to reset the device all your work is gone. Managing them with Calibre is quicker and you can restore all your work in the event of a reset/corruption/broken device/etc.
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Old 09-29-2015, 05:50 AM   #11
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I surprised nobody mention BookONO... Just found it and it look pretty friendly.

I had a chance to read a bit more about Calibre and I see that help to improve UI was offered already without interest from the developer side and the way the software look now is pretty much how the author wants it to be...
Unfortunately. But good taste is rare thing...
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Old 09-29-2015, 05:55 AM   #12
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I surprised nobody mention BookONO... Just found it and it look pretty friendly.

I had a chance to read a bit more about Calibre and I see that help to improve UI was offered already without interest from the developer side and the way the software look now is pretty much how the author wants it to be...
Unfortunately. But good taste is rare thing...
It's not a rare thing, only a personal thing
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Old 09-29-2015, 06:23 AM   #13
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I surprised nobody mention BookONO... Just found it and it look pretty friendly.
BookONO seems to still be in Alpha, with intermittent development efforts.
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Old 09-29-2015, 06:43 AM   #14
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It's not a rare thing, only a personal thing
This is personal thing indeed And such persons are rare and very much sought after. What I can tell after being a few decades in creative industry. But I'm already off topic, sorry

I agree, 'taste' may be subjective. However I never seen people complaining about good GUI, or well planned pedestrian crossing, or about good layout of a book or website. We just experience them instead of stumbling across
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:28 AM   #15
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I agree, 'taste' may be subjective. However I never seen people complaining about good GUI, or well planned pedestrian crossing, or about good layout of a book or website. We just experience them instead of stumbling across
We should agree to disagree. What's a good GUI? For me, calibre is a very good GUI as I can rearrange it as I need, and it includes which a need? And it offers me TEXT, not some very cute icons.. that I don't understand or catch... so after some time at this business, I still have to find a GUI nobody complains about.
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