Calibre: Your E-book virtual librarian

E-books have been with us for quite some time now and although there might be quite a few book enthusiasts out there that could dislike e-books because they lack the “magic” which obscurely surrounds a regular book, I believe that any book lover should embrace both the e-book and the old fashioned printed paper, as they are both simply mediums through which we can get our portion of literature.

Truth be told, devices such as the e-book reader have made reading more accessible and we now have thousands of books at our disposal within a device that weights no more than one small book. Nevertheless, the ease of access to such a large library has turned us into virtual librarians and we usually end up spending more time searching for or organizing our e-books than we’d like.

Fortunately, there’s a solution to this problem and as it happens it comes in the form of a program called Calibre, which might turn out to be your best librarian friend. Calibre will organize your e-book library, fetch dozens of newspapers for you, allow you to browse through tens of online e-book stores, or convert and make your e-books ready for your e-book reader.

Calibre Main

Installation & Requirements

Calibre, the virtual librarian, makes a good impression as soon as you fire up the installation process. Calibre is a freeware program and it volunteers to do its work with no financial demands whatsoever. There are no ads involved in the installation, no toolbars and before you know it you will be welcomed with a Wizard which will help you setup Calibre for the type of e-book reader you might happen to own.

As for system requirements, Calibre supports the Windows XP/Vista/Win 7, Mac OS X Leopard or higher and Linux platforms altogether.

Interface

The Calibre user interface is one of the many strong points of this particular software, primarily because it’s designed to conveniently place a large number of essential features at the user’s fingertips. Amongst these features are the built in e-book browser and the newspaper downloader which benefits from a scheduler so that you will get your daily newspapers without being required to do anything.

Calibre will also hand out the possibility to create multiple libraries, preventing you from ending up with a pile of e-books that are not relevant with each other, thrown together carelessly in one folder. Furthermore you will be able to read any book via the built-in e-book reader, thus you will know how the e-book will look like on your device before transferring the file.
On the whole, Calibre undoubtedly offers tons of useful features, but the best thing about it is that all of them are easy to find, understand and utilize.

Pros

– Able to read and convert 16 e-book file-types
– Multiple newspapers can be scheduled for daily download
– Built-in e-book browser will help you fetch any book you want with great ease
– Dozens of supported languages
– Great user interface
– Provides a built-in e-book reader and converter
– A whole bunch of plug-ins available for download, including an audio-book plug-in
– Supports Windows, Mac and Linux altogether
– Freeware

Cons

– The “Download” option from the built-in e-book browser is rarely available, forcing the user to use an external Internet browser and visit the respective site

Alternatives

There are quite a few alternatives to Calibre out there, including the Google Books service which does not requires you to download any software as long as you have access to a Google account. The high-point of Google Books is that being an online service, the user is able to access his e-book library by using any computer or device that is connected to the internet.
GCstar can be considered another Calibre alternative, offering the possibility to manage not only e-books, but movies, video games or software as well. Despite all that, GCstar lacks some of the features offered by Calibre, and to put it bluntly, it’s not as charming either.

Conclusion

Calibre is undeniably one of the best tools a book enthusiast could have on his/her computer. It certainly offers a great deal of features alongside an easy to use interface, but what makes Calibre seem like a great program is the fact that it possesses a certain charm about it, which gives you the feeling that your e-book library is in good hands.

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