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Old 05-08-2019, 10:31 AM   #31
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Of course someone has to put the description in the file itself, and it is not a required element.
And of course, that is the nub of it, with many of my Kindle ebooks having no entry in the xml 'description' field. Many others just list something basic, like Series or overall series, in that field ... or they have a tagline or just something else, that is not the synopsis. Or the synopsis is so brief, to be almost worthless.

I believe calibre has some options to obtain metadata elements (field data) from various online sources.

So if you are prepared to be diligent and put in the effort, especially from the start, then using the calibre Catalog create option is certainly doable, if limited in several ways ... some of that is a failing of calibre itself, or the fields that currently exist in the metadata.opf file, with regard to Author and Genre and Series etc ... which are rather limited ... one size fits all scenario.

Oh ... and you have to be happy to catalog the whole library or create independent ones for whatever your catalog requirements may be.

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Old 05-08-2019, 02:59 PM   #32
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Dude, you should just buy a Kobo. You can do all of that with the built-in software and Calibre. No patching or anything special required.
Pfft. If everyone thought like you then Jeff Bezos would be living in the poor house!
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:04 PM   #33
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I devised my own solution to get around the limited library management on ereaders. I can access the server directly from the Kindle or if I want something fast, via smartphone or tablet.
What is it that you're using?
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:32 PM   #34
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What is it that you're using?
XAMPP (really just Apache and PHP) + Calibre-PHP server + customized templates (mostly just for prettifying)

One of these days, I'd love to get a battery-powered RasPi working and run a copy from there (currently have working copies on my Windows 7 desktop and laptop). There's just too many other drains on my time right now (mainly actually reading the stuff I have in the library).

Having a working portable setup on the laptop is making me lazy when it comes to learning Linux with the RasPi.
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:34 PM   #35
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Pfft. If everyone thought like you then Jeff Bezos would be living in the poor house!
Here in the States, where the Kindle is synonymous with ereaders, I always recommend them. For most readers, the Kindle is good enough. Plus, if I recommend Kobo or Nook and anything goes wrong, I'll hear about it. So why bother. You're welcome, Jeff

But when Timboli was making such a good case for the Kobo, not pointing it out seemed wrong.
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:35 PM   #36
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XAMPP (really just Apache and PHP) + Calibre-PHP server + customized templates (mostly just for prettifying)

One of these days, I'd love to get a battery-powered RasPi working and run a copy from there (currently have working copies on my Windows 7 desktop and laptop). There's just too many other drains on my time right now (mainly actually reading the stuff I have in the library).

Having a working portable setup on the laptop is making me lazy when it comes to learning Linux with the RasPi.
I keep hearing about Calibre Companion but have never looked at it. It doesn't seem like something I'd use very often, and I let my computer go to sleep when it's idle. I suppose I could set it up to wake up on network traffic?

But PHP? I looked at the database code and it does look like it's using some unsafe stuff when it's constructing queries. So after you put your nose to the grindstone and figure out Linux and the RasPi I think you should rewrite that thing in Python.
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:43 PM   #37
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But when Timboli was making such a good case for the Kobo, not pointing it out seemed wrong.
I'm not exactly sure what Timboli is thinking of making but what I think would work for me is something like Calibre's catalog, but have it fetch the metadata you get when you do Download metadata and covers.
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Old 05-08-2019, 05:36 PM   #38
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I keep hearing about Calibre Companion but have never looked at it. It doesn't seem like something I'd use very often, and I let my computer go to sleep when it's idle. I suppose I could set it up to wake up on network traffic?

But PHP? I looked at the database code and it does look like it's using some unsafe stuff when it's constructing queries. So after you put your nose to the grindstone and figure out Linux and the RasPi I think you should rewrite that thing in Python.
I don't really use Calibre Companion but the PHP scripts at the bottom of the link. I like being able to read the synopsis as I browse instead of having to do extra taps.

Database code is read-only so I don't see what's unsafe about it (seems like fairly standard SQL queries to me, too). Downside, it doesn't keep persistent access to metadata.db so it's pretty resource heavy when you have a large database. It's not particularly robust if you need to support a lot of users but works okay in a home setting. Nice thing is you could actually upload it to pretty much any web host and it'll work. Alas, I can't be bothered to figure out how to properly secure the login so it's LAN only (with laptop + smartphone hotspot as portable LAN while traveling).

Mind, I'd actually love to just be able to use the native content server in Calibre. Alas, the mobile version is too limited and can't use templates while the full version is pure JavaScript. I'm not a programmer. At best, I can try to read code to make minor changes. Certainly not up to the task of a complete port. Besides, between PHP and Python, I'm more familiar with PHP syntax (which seems fairly similar to C). If I actually had the Python coding skills, what I would do is a patch to the Calibre mobile content server to support templates.

Although to be honest, it's the RasPi add-ons (for battery backup) I can't decide on. I expect getting Calibre-PHP server running on it would be fairly simple.

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Old 05-08-2019, 07:12 PM   #39
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I'm not exactly sure what Timboli is thinking of making but what I think would work for me is something like Calibre's catalog, but have it fetch the metadata you get when you do Download metadata and covers.
Unlike most in this thread, I don't mind opening books when deciding what to read next; it's all part of the fun.

Yes, Calibre will download metadata and covers (though I prefer the list view). You can then put the description at the beginning of the book. You can tell Calibre where to look for blurb etc. To place this at the beginning of a book, get the metadata (blurb) you prefer, convert the book even if it's into the same format, and click the tab "structure detection" and the box "put metadata at beginning of book" then "ok".

Lots of description will appear at the start of the ebook.

I never connect the kindle to wi-fi because I don't have it; all my internet is wired. I hate wi-fi (I've even refused to have a Smart Meter for this reason.) I registered the kindle at a friend's house. I sideload everything, even the books bought from Amazon: "transfer via usb" and they don't have the ability to see any description before opening the book. I'm using a fairly elderly Paperwhite 2 with firmware 5.9.7 which I'm happy with for now.

Tried a Kobo Clara HD, took it back because of uneven lighting. Gave a Kobo Mini to a friend, if only it had a frontlight!
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:08 AM   #40
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I'm not exactly sure what Timboli is thinking of making but what I think would work for me is something like Calibre's catalog, but have it fetch the metadata you get when you do Download metadata and covers.
I've never used that Calibre option, as generally the basic metadata exists for me, as well as the cover ... synopsis often excepted. Sometimes I have had to manually download the cover from the Amazon web page, but pretty rare to need to these days.

I guess for many of us, while our collections were relatively small, the synopsis for each book was not a biggie. Now of course, I have no idea what most of my ebooks are about, and I expect most others are in the same boat.

It is great to see that Kindle books now tend to come with a synopsis, even if not present in the metadata. What would be ideal, is if the calibre Catalog option could obtain that synopsis, perhaps even add it to the metadata file. The only issue perhaps, is when the 'Description' field is already populated by other crap .... reviews etc and markup code.

My program would do something very similar to the calibre Catalog option, but just give a bit more manual control over some elements (i.e. specify the Genre, rather than be stuck with an atrocious number of Tags). You could also manually obtain and paste in the synopsis, combining with or replacing any existing description. You could also specify Series within Series, and for multiple author ebooks, specify one as Author/Editor, as distinct from the 'Creator' fields in the metadata.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:25 AM   #41
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But when Timboli was making such a good case for the Kobo, not pointing it out seemed wrong.
Hey, I am always happy to hear of a good ereader. Especially if improvements for synopsis exist.

Been a while since I checked out any new ones, and apart from the Kobo that would fit in my pocket a few years back, they did not impress me. But I imagine they have improved a lot since then.

I have been holding out for a color E-Ink as my next ereader purchase, but as that seems unlikely now, I am almost at the point of considering other options.

I like both my Kindles, but they aren't too great battery wise, with my 10" Samsung Tablet being far superior in that regard. So I could do with an ereader with much improved battery life. The Samsung stays charged for months on end, when not being used, unlike the Kindles which tend to die within a month. I'd also like larger storage, as I am well over 2,500 Kindle ebooks now, and I like being independent of the web and the PC.

While I have devices linked to the Amazon store, I would still like an ereader that supports Kindle formats, for side-loading, but have no idea if any device does aside from a Kindle ereader or a Tablet with the Kindle App.

Sure I could convert to EPUB, and I do. But I would prefer to use the original cleansed version of the Kindle ebooks I buy. Currently I only use the unclean versions, on a Kindle.

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Old 05-09-2019, 09:38 AM   #42
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Unlike most in this thread, I don't mind opening books when deciding what to read next; it's all part of the fun.
No doubt a very personal thing.

Personally, at least with Kindle ebooks, it is a slow and clunky thing, involving a few clicks and a waiting time for each ebook.

So I guess it depends on how keen you are to find something quickly, and get on with your reading. But then I guess you could class reading synopses as a form of reading. LOL

It does remind somewhat of the old days of renting videos, and spending an hour or two browsing through what was on offer, before finding one or more to take home and eventually watch ... and if lucky time-wise, watch one that very night.

P.S. Part of the issue for me, is deciding where to start looking, especially in regard to whatever mood I might be in. How do you remember what you last checked? It can get awfully confusing real quick. I suspect you often keep checking many of the same synopses ... unless of course, you don't buy a lot and pretty much keep up with your purchases, with your reading ... or there-a-bouts.

Even with a list like the calibre Catalog option creates, is is not plain sailing to wade on through. You inevitably need to cover old ground much of the time.

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Old 05-09-2019, 10:24 AM   #43
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It is great to see that Kindle books now tend to come with a synopsis, even if not present in the metadata. What would be ideal, is if the calibre Catalog option could obtain that synopsis, perhaps even add it to the metadata file. The only issue perhaps, is when the 'Description' field is already populated by other crap .... reviews etc and markup code.
I’ve always been able to use Calibre to download metadata including synopsis (ever since 0.6.x, around 10 years ago).

My Calibre created catalogs do contain synopsis. I think there’s a checkbox to enable comments in the Create Catalog dialog box.
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:03 PM   #44
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Sure I could convert to EPUB, and I do. But I would prefer to use the original cleansed version of the Kindle ebooks I buy. Currently I only use the unclean versions, on a Kindle.
Can you explain what you mean by "original cleansed version" and "unclean version." It sounds backwards with how you've used them.

Last edited by lumpynose; 05-09-2019 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 05-11-2019, 05:22 PM   #45
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No doubt a very personal thing.

Personally, at least with Kindle ebooks, it is a slow and clunky thing, involving a few clicks and a waiting time for each ebook.

So I guess it depends on how keen you are to find something quickly, and get on with your reading. But then I guess you could class reading synopses as a form of reading. LOL

It does remind somewhat of the old days of renting videos, and spending an hour or two browsing through what was on offer, before finding one or more to take home and eventually watch ... and if lucky time-wise, watch one that very night.

P.S. Part of the issue for me, is deciding where to start looking, especially in regard to whatever mood I might be in. How do you remember what you last checked? It can get awfully confusing real quick. I suspect you often keep checking many of the same synopses ... unless of course, you don't buy a lot and pretty much keep up with your purchases, with your reading ... or there-a-bouts.

Even with a list like the calibre Catalog option creates, is is not plain sailing to wade on through. You inevitably need to cover old ground much of the time.
My PW2, which currently has 616 items on it, opens books instantly. It takes no time at all. Maybe the number of books you have on your kindle is slowing it down, or it's older and has a slow processor, or whatever. I just touch the book name, and the book is open!

As for where to start looking: I have the books organised into Collections: "Cats and Other Animals" "Classics" "Detective/Mystery/Thriller" "Historical Fiction" "Horror incl Vampire" "Humour" "Island/Summer" "Sci Fi" "Writing" and intend to create more such as one for "Romance".
When looking, I decide what kind of book I'm in the mood for: something cheery? Or dramatic? Then look in Humour or Detective etc. I then choose a book from the Collection.

This is fun. At least with a responsive, fast ereader. With my old Sony prs 505 it was murder because I spent so much time watching a buffering symbol as the book formatted. A modern ereader shouldn't be so slow.
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