Back in the (should I say: old?) days books were created from dead trees. Now, with the raise of different reading devices, we can read them digitally. Thanks to Kovid Goyal we can enjoy ebooks with the Calibre reader also on your ordinary PC or laptop.
So what’s are the virtues of Calibre? Here are a few:
- Calibre view your ebooks, displays table of contents (if available), can set bookmarks, and can copy text from your ebook.
- It can manage your ebooks by author, title, date, and other fields.
- Calibre can syncronize your ebook with some e-reader device attached on the USB port.
- Calibre supports a vast amount of ebook formats, including EPub, PDF, MobiPocket, and others (see Calibres’ FAQ page for the full list).
- Calibre can convert ebook formats. If you have downloaded or bought an ebook in a format that your reader does not understand, Calibre can convert it into something more useful with the any2epub tool.
And a lot more features.
As you could see, Calibre is a very useful tool. However, Calibre’s main window is a bit strange (see screenshot): it wastes the available space and the icons plus their texts are far too big.
Unfortunately one of the most used icons, View, appears to be the last in the menu bar. This is extremely annoying when you have limited screen resolution, for example on laptops and so called netbooks. Or you want to have only a fraction of your screen occupied by Calibres’ window. The result is the same: the menu bar displays a fraction of its icons and the important View icon disappears. You have to click on theicon to overlay the rest of the menu bar to reach the View icon.
Apart from this usability issue, it does its job—viewing ebooks—very well. For example, this is a screenshot of the 2nd editon of my book in EPub (see 2nd screenshot). As far as I can see, it supports table of contents, CSS, and a lot more, all created by the latest DocBook stylesheets with EPub support.
More EBooks to discover…
If you are interested in trying out Calibre, there are a couple of interesting webpages where you can download free ebooks. Look at www.feedbooks.com, www.gutenberg.org, or use your favorite Internet search engine. Sometimes they offer different formats. Look for EPub or MobiPocket formats as these are “reflowable”.
Calibre can be downloaded from my openSUSE repository:
Thanks Kovid for this software! 🙂
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