Calibre Full Review and Alternatives

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Calibre

4.5/5

Overview

Whenever you are dealing with anything related to e-books, Calibre is the free, open source, and high-caliber program to call to action. Being open source means that you install it on the popular platforms that include Windows, Mac and Linux. Those on WIndows get to enjoy an extra portable version too that can be kept on a removable disk and used on any computer.

Calibre also stakes quite a lot in the best ebook creators category to help you create and catalogue your e-books in order to obtain an organized digital library. Of course, Calibre requires you to create a Calibre library when you get started but this should not in any way disconcert you as a plethora of amazing features awaits you. These include publishing capabilities, making photos clear by rendering them and also access to selling capabilities.

It supports a wide range of formats and happens to be one of the few ebook reader programs that can open the AWZ format. On top of that, it happens to support RSS feeds and this comes very handy when gathering news from websites and magazines all in one place without using a web browser, and the bookfusion feature is all that you need to read, share, organize, bookmark and sync all your books. Here are some quick advantages and disadvantages of this software.

Pros & Cons of Calibre

Pros

      • Excellent file support – Calibre has quite a vast array of supported file formats all in one software and this means you need not seek other tools.
      • Rich user support – All the required and useful tutorials are provided at your disposal to see to it that you get yourself unstuck with great ease even when you are a first timer.
      • Cross-platform compatibility – This is realized due to the fact that this program is open source. Consequently, you are not tied to any specific platform as you can rock the app on Mac, Windows and Linux.
      • Portable version available – This is an added advantage for Windows users since one can just place Calibre on a USB stick and run it from just any computer.
      • Supports Amazon AWZ files – This ebook software happens to be among the few tools that boast of the support for the AWZ file format.
      • Conversion capabilities – When you are not viewing or managing your Calibre library, you can make good use of the ability to convert between formats.

Cons

      • Can’t open DRM-protected books – This is a huge drawback and real dealbreaker for this program if you are an enthusiast of software that can remove DRM protection from an ebook especially those from the Kindle store.

How to Use Calibre

What Makes Calibre Tick?

Just like any good software out there, this program does not fail to ride on top attributes like stability, efficiency and functionality. It may not be the kind of software you use frequently but it has come out as that convenient and almost irreplaceable program of its kind. Here are the perks that come with this great software.

1). Great User Experience

calibre-screenshot

Calibre boasts of a simple and overly intuitive user interface making it easy to manage your calibre library, handle conversion tasks, among others in just a matter of a few clicks. All buttons and menus are clear, concise and well-labeled with hover tips to ensure that you do not hit the wrong option without knowing what it does.

Simplicity is also realized when transferring books between your computer and readers as it can either be done using a USB cable or wirelessly. Anytime you need to transfer a book, this e-book software will automatically convert it to the best format.

2). Features a Comprehensive Ebook Reader/Viewer

calibre-ebook-viewer

If you are looking to view an ebook like ePub, Kindle or MOBI and you do not know where to start, Calibre is the free tool to have at your fingertips. It is best suited when you need to read books or as the reliable app that helps you review any changes you may have made.  The user interface may not be that modern so expect instances of font stretching, no margins among other issues although it is a pretty reliable software no matter the e-book format you want to preview.

3). Library management

calibre-library-management

Calibre lets you create and tinker with eboo libraries as you see fit. This includes letting you edit the books that make up your collection  in a way that does not consume a great deal of time and effort. On top of that, you get the chance to share and backup the same libraries with ease.

You can rest assured that your library will remain organized as long as you remain armed with the free Calibre application. You can add books from a directory, sub-directories, from ZIP/RAR archives, ISBN, clipboard, other book records or even an empty book.

4). Convert File Formats

calibre-file-format

Among the features this tool boasts of is the ability to achieve format conversion. It comes with a dazzling range of supported formats including AZW, AZW3, EPUB, PDF, TXT,DOCX, RTF, MOBI, Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite just to mention a few and in fact, any kind of text you have can most probably be converted with this e-book software. For instance, converting a Kindle book into the ePub format equivalent is just like a knife through butter.

At the same time, you can implement the batch conversion feature when you need to convert files simultaneously. However, you need to exercise great patience during this since it takes time and at the same time have knowledge of what each conversion task demands.

Therefore, make sure you keep tabs with the table of contents, breaks, indentation, margins among others depending on the formats you are working on. Overall, the process to convert to and from ebook formats will not be any daunting.

5). Built-in Book Search Function

calibre-in-book-search

With many book catalogs, websites and online stores out there, it may be tedious and time-consuming to search for a certain book of interest.

Calibre comes in to get rid of this hassle for you with some extra filter features to refine the search query in order to yield just the results you are looking for – the refining can be on the basis of the store, DRM, metadata, library among others. Some if not most of the stores will also let you download books directly. All this is accomplished on a single interface making it very convenient and fulfilling. 

6). Extensible via Plugins

You may feel like this ebook reader and converter software has offered everything until you open a Pandora’s box of extra features. With support for plugins, you can always tweak Calibre to your liking.

To be specific, this cuts across features like catalogue generations, ebook conversion, device interfacing, file types, input profiles, metadata among others. Customization of these is also available although this is not the place for you who is faint-hearted since you need to arm yourself with the required knowledge.

7). Reliable User Support

Once you have set up Calibre on your Windows, Mac, or Linus device, getting acquainted with the software is no hard task at all. You have at your disposal multiple tutorials that you can borrow from in regards to library creation and bringing out the ultimate creativity in you. Arming yourself with these videos and written tutorials means that you should have a smooth run when implementing this tool.

Conclusion

Calibre is a wonderful, free and open source product that manages to suit both first-timers and experts. It has worked out for many users out there and I am sure it will work the magic for you too. It may be a robust app that may pose a somewhat steep learning curve but once you cross that bridge, you will get to enjoy great levels of real accuracy and usefulness.

This will definitely be your got-to ebook reader, conversion app and catalog management tool that will not fail you. And yes, it may not offer you DRM removal but still all the other features it has to offer make it plant a solid foundation to keep up with the competition.

You may not use Calibre very frequently but rest assured that it will kick the ball out of the park for you when the need arises.

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