June 1, 2011

Beyond the Shelf - Calibre

I was fairly new to eBooks and even newer to my eReader that I had just been taken out of its box. Excitedly I uploaded several eBooks I already had on my computer. No big deal to get all those PDFs and EPUBs transfered from one to the other. Then I remembered this CD-Rom I had lying around for a long time. On it where the first ten books of the Left Behind series (Tim LaHaye). I checked the eBook format, I checked what my eReader can actually "read" and was faced with the fact that I had a slight problem. LIT format was not on the list. After fretting a little, I decided to search for a way to convert the files in a way I could finally read them and luckily I found a wonderful site that provided the needed service.

Maybe you've heard about Calibre before, but if you haven't and are looking for a way to convert various eBook formats, this is definitely the place to go. Calibre is a free and open source eBook library management application developed by users of eBooks for users of eBooks. It offers several features, eg Library Management, eBook conversion or downloading news from the web and converting it into eBook form, to name just a few.

What interested me the most was obviously the whole conversion thing. Calibre can convert a huge number of formats and supports all the major eBook formats. Input formats vary slightly from output formats, and you'll get the best results from: LIT, MOBI, EPUB, FB2, HTML, PRC, RTF, PDB, TXT, PDF (in decreasing order). So obviously I've hit the jackpot with my own LIT files.
The program can also rescale all font sizes, ensuring the output eBook is readable no matter what font sizes the input document uses. It can automatically detect and create book structure, like chapters and table of contents. Plus, it can insert the book metadata into a "Book Jacket" at the start of the book. Important to know is that only DRM-free files can be converted.

At first I was a little worried whether the whole conversion would be complicated, but it's not. Granted, on first try I got a book with thousands of pages (each paragraph got its own page, eeek), but when I looked through all the settings that need to be adjusted before conversion, I found the culprit right away, and on second try I got a wonderful, perfect EPUB file.

For more info on all that Calibre has got to offer have a look at their website and maybe the forum too. Last but not least, being a free service you can donate to Calibre, thus supporting further developments as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment