It is a little program that helps you manage your ebook library, much the way programs like MusicMatch Jukebox (used to) and iTunes (allegedly) help you organize your music.
It converts files to the right format for your reader (with you in control at all times), it has a nice Graphical User Interface (GUI), and it is stripped down, non-bloaty (I’m looking at you, iTunes) and seems to work really well.
Adding Books From My Library
I added files manually from my folders, and added all kinds of metadata (this reminds me of the early days of Adding Audio CDs To My Computer. You’d insert them and look at the metadata and the brilliant publishers/record companies had named them things like “1239tie3” and there was no artist data or track names built in, and you had to go in a add it all yourself. Ah, the pioneer spirit). Anyway, I’m doing that all again for my PDFs and non-DRM ebooks (not to publishers: pay attention to metadata!).
It lists them prettily and lets you look at them, and tag them and sort them different ways. All very intuitive and helpful.
Plugging in Your Reader
After I’d converted a couple of eBooks to the ‘mobi’ format for my Kindle, I plugged in the gadget itself. Calibre detected it and showed all my Kindle books in a little frame, too, where I could see them and manage them. Lovely. Much nice than faffing around in a Windows folder, if you ask me.
I could then add files to my Kindle with the click of a button, or remove them.
It’s a little thing, but I like it. It’s not strictly necessary, since you can just stuff all your ebooks in a folder and organize them that way but this is a very nicely done interface, and has that lovely ‘convert anything to another format’ feature too.
Oh, and it’s freeware. Unless you choose to donate to support it. Which I will, assuming it doesn’t eat my computer in the next couple of days. (Try before you buy. I like that too).
And it spells ‘calibre’ correctly ;)