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Old 06-10-2017, 01:10 PM   #1
Gilgeam
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Multiple book versions inside directories

Greetings friends,

I recently encountered a strange issue with calibre and wasn't sure where to turn, so I thought I'd ask for help here.

I'm trying to organize my library and found that I have multiple versions of some books or documents in the same format, say PDF. Since I'd sometimes like to keep both versions, I added a "Multi" tag in Calibre and manually copied the second version inside the calibre folder. So far, that has worked out well. However, I just found out that a few of the different versions are missing from the folders. So now I'm wondering if this is calibre cleaning itself up. If so, I should probably come up with a different solution.

So I have two questions you might have answers to:
1. Does calibre remove duplicate versions of files from its structure if they're not part of the database?
2. Do you have suggestions how I could handle different file versions better?

Any help would be much appreciated!

Gil

Edit: I'm using 2.85.1 on Linux Mint 18, if that helps at all.

Last edited by Gilgeam; 06-10-2017 at 01:10 PM. Reason: Updated to include calibre version
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Old 06-10-2017, 01:31 PM   #2
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Storing multiple versions of the same format is not supported and Calibre is quite likely to end up removing one of them. The Calibre metadata database will only be tracking on of these files. Normally ending up with multiple files (with slightly different versions) is normally a sign of something going wrong at some time in the past.

You can detect which files are not in the Calibre database by running the Database Maintenance function.

The only reliable way to handle such cases is to store them as a different format (e.g. As part of a .rar archive or a .7z file, or to have multiple database entries for the same book (typically including something in the title to differentiate the instances).
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Old 06-10-2017, 04:24 PM   #3
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You can easily keep multiple copies in calibre, but you need to consider the Calibre directory structure a closed black box, and don't put things in it, or take things out. Change things only in the Calibre GUI (or with the Calibre command line tools.)

If you just add the pdf to Calibre, it'll keep only one copy if you have any kind of duplicate detection turned on, but it won't automatically remove duplicates you added explicitly.

Easiest way:
1) Add one of your pdf's
2) Add an empty duplicate entry in Calibre (ctrl-shift-e, or click the dropdown beside the Add Books button and choose add empty entry. There is a "Duplicate this book" button at the bottom of the dialog.
3) Add the other pdf to that entry, either via the Add Metadata dialog (top right) or Shift A or again the Add Books button dropdown and choose "Add book to selected record"

And be careful if you use the find duplicates plugin, but if you do, you can mark them as exceptions so it won't keep suggesting you merge them.
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Old 06-10-2017, 06:11 PM   #4
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@Gilgeam - I keep the extra format files elsewhere, with a link thereto in a long text custom column. In my case, the elsewhere is an Evernote note, so the link references that. Evernote notes have a unique URI which can be copied and used in other applications - such as in calibre long text columns, and the Author Link field. Onenote has a similar feature.

Some users put the extra format file(s) into a compressed archive and store that in the same book. Whilst a book folder can only contain one file of any type, a compressed archive can contain any number of files irrespective of type. I used this approach for a while, using .7Z as the archive format.

BR
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Old 06-11-2017, 06:37 AM   #5
Gilgeam
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All of you, thank you very much! I now understand Calibre's structure a lot better and I took up your advice. I ended up going the .7z route for now, which is working fine since I don't have a lot of files and I can use them to store additional material in the archive (such as maps or tokens for RPG books). I removed all the extra files I put in and ran maintenance a couple of times. That said, I really like the Evernote idea! I'm still in the process of evaluating everything and might decide to switch, deping how things work out.

One final question, though: since I'm going with the archive option for now, I was wondering if I can modify the contents of the archive freely or if I need to remove and re-add every time I change it. Put differently, can I just remove or add files to the archive or do I need to re-add it if I do? I suspect I should be able to just change them, but I wanted to make sure.

Once again, thank you all very much! You've been amazingly helpful and kind. Much appreciated!
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Old 06-11-2017, 06:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilgeam View Post
One final question, though: since I'm going with the archive option for now, I was wondering if I can modify the contents of the archive freely or if I need to remove and re-add every time I change it. Put differently, can I just remove or add files to the archive or do I need to re-add it if I do? I suspect I should be able to just change them, but I wanted to make sure.
As long as you do not change the path+filename then you can modify the contents freely. Calibre is tracking the file via the path/filename combination and not tracking the files contents.
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Old 06-11-2017, 05:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilgeam View Post
[. . .] That said, I really like the Evernote idea! I'm still in the process of evaluating everything and might decide to switch, depending how things work out. [. . .]
I documented my use of EN and calibre here ==>> Calibre and Evernote

As you'll see, my initial motivation was to have some place to store author related stuff - obits, quotes, web links, etc. It was only later I realised I could also use it to store book related stuff, such as extra formats, long form reviews, quotes, teaching notes, links to related websites etc.

BR
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Old 06-12-2017, 02:34 PM   #8
Gilgeam
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I just wanted to post a final again for your extremely nice help! You guys knocked this out of the park :-D
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