Calibre – the Premier eReader Conversion Program

Back on August 18th, 2010, I wrote an article entitled, "Loading ePub Books into the Nook."  To my surprise, it turned into the most popular article of all time with over 12,500 views at this writing.  Well, that was 10 months ago, a long time in computer software, and I'm here to tell you, there is a better way.

Adobe Digital Editions has gotten flaky for me, and even if you can get it installed properly, I can no longer recommend it as the way to get your ePubs into your Nook.  There's a better, equally free, program available, that I would like to recommend. That program is Calibre.

Calibre is a unbelievable eReader conversion program.  It can run on Windows, Mac, or a Linux distro.  Calibre has an easy Windows .msi installer to make the installation painless.

Calibre's Main Screen

As a matter of fact, everything about Calibre is easy compared to the now defunct, in my mind, Adobe Digital Editions.

What can Calibre do for your eReading experience?  Calibre can translate a large number of formats to any format that will go on an eReader, and I do mean any one.  It is an unbelievably rich, bridge program.  That means you can purchase the Kindle edition from Amazon, and convert the Kindle book to the Nook format and put it on your Nook.  If that doesn't excite you, it will convert pdf book's to your Nook or Kindle's format.

Ebook conversion alone would make Calibre a great program, but it does so much more. It syncs with your device to transfer your Calibre library books to your eReader.  It also will remove books from your eReader, something that is not that easy to do on the Nook.

One gotcha on the Nook, that you should be aware of up front, is it puts your books in the "My Documents" section of the Nook, not the "My B&N Library" section.  You'll have to look in the "My Documents" folder for your books, no biggee.

It manages your library on your computer, and on your eReader.  You can view your library on your computer and on your eReader from inside the program.  It allows you to put tags on your books to help you classify them into groups.

If you double click on a book in your library an eReader pops up that you can use to read your book on your computer.  Speaking of reading, you can download a huge number of magazines and newspapers and then put them on your eReader for reading.

For me the "piece de resistance," for Calibre, is its "Get Books" feature.  This is a built-in price comparison program that will go out on the web to multiple sites and find your eBook along with the price on that site.  Click on the site and you go right to the buy page for that book.  What a time saver.  I'd been going to Amazon for prices and reviews, and then to B&N for the Nook price, one less pain to my eReading experience.

Get Books

And finally, Calibre has a built-in web server which allows you to access your library books from any browser anywhere in the world.

There is a huge number of devices supported, including mobile devices.  Folks, this is liberation.  Buy any eBook from any source, and put it on your eReader, no matter what eReader you have.  Am I gushing?

I would go through the installation and a demo of the program, but Calibre already has that covered.  There's a video on the home page of their web site for you to look at, and a demo version of the program on the site.

You mean you haven't downloaded Calibre yet?  What are you waiting for, get this program, and say good-bye to Adobe Digital Editions.


Calibre – the Premier eReader Conversion Program — 9 Comments

  1. I totally enjoyed the tutorial. This is the answer to the many “missing manual to . . .” type tutorials. I plan on downloading Calibre & use it in place of ADE. Thanks!

  2. @daleV I was hoping you could have shown how to do some of the things you mentioned.

    • They are two different kinds of programs with different purposes. MediaFire, from my understanding, since I don’t use the program, is like DropBox where you can upload and download large files, except MediaFire gives you a URL that links to the file.

      Calibre is a bridge program who’s purpose is to translate a singe file, a book, from one format to another. I’m not sure why you want to use MediaFire when most ePub books come in at about 3Mb. I would suggest you download what you want to convert to your computer, and then bring the individual book into Calibre from your computer.

  3. It is great to hear about this program. Thanks for the enthusiastic review. Question for you, what if I want to convert an enhancede ePub file with audio/video embedded into the Nook reader or the Kindle reader? Does Calibre handle multimedia conversion as well?

    • The short answer is no, Calibre can not do this. Epub is not designed for audio or video, its designed for good pagination, nor is eReaders, at present. However, that’s an interesting question, your at the edge of technology, here. As you know, LCD displays, like you have on a iPad, or laptop, can handle audio and video. There’s a couple of reasons, mostly to do with the graphic card and driver coupled with the operating system. And theoretically, those eReaders with LCD displays, like the color Nook, could view videos, but not presently. Multitude of reasons: eInk displays, operating system, graphics cards and drivers. Essentially, eInk can’t hack it at present. I will expand on this topic in an upcoming post when I talk about the latest display technology.