Calibre & iTunes (a couple's counseling workshop)

Discussion in 'iPad FAQ' started by Wreybies, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies iPad Fan

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    Don't you just love when someone shows you something that makes you realize you've been doing whatever it is you've been doing bass-ackwards?

    Yeah. So, Calibre and iTunes.

    I had been doing it the hard way, pulling my Calibre library over to iTunes from within iTunes which was causing all kinds of problems. Some books (not all, just a few select scalawags) would always repeat and cause doubling of books for reason beyond my ken. I would have to either dig down through the file structure of the Calibre library and pluck books individually or erase all the doubled books, and... tedious!

    Here's how to make it happen neat and happy.

    First, make sure you have the latest Calibre (0.7.27 as of this posting)


    Quick start: 'Connect to iTunes' mode

    1. Launch iTunes with no connected iDevices.
    2. Launch Calibre, set Preferences:
      • Preferences|General|Preferred output format to EPUB and while you're there, make sure you also check the No SVG Cover box otherwise your book covers wont show up and if you are as picky as I am about covers and artwork....
      • Preferences|Conversion|Page Setup|Output profile to iPad
      • Preferences|Plugins|Device Interface plugins|Apple device interface - click Enable/Disable plugin so that driver is disabled (Yes, disabled. Grayed out)
    1. Restart Calibre.
    2. Select Connect/Share↓ and from the drop down select Connect to iTunes to connect iTunes as a Reader.

    Now when you add a book to Calibre, you can simply send the one or two or three book(s) directly to iTunes (Send to Device)without any muss or fuss. It works simply, cleanly, and intuitively in a very Apple kind of way. ;)

    All of the settings will remain as you have chosen from there onward save for one. Whenever you open Calibre, you have to do the Connect/Share and then Connect to iTunes bit.

    A big (and I mean BIG) thank you to Mickey 330 (Marilyn) for pointing me in the direction of this information! :D
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  2. Mickey330
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    Mickey330 Administrator Staff Member

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    First, thanks for the shout out ... but, really, I should be thanking you for clarifying the steps. Sometimes, it can be very confusing, no? I just pointed you in the direction of that thread on MobileRead - doesn't mean that I underSTOOD it! :D

    Your post here is a great guide and I am going to keep it handy, just-in-case. It makes me want to put my e-books onto the iPad versus using my e-ink device.

    Well .... almost! :p

    Marilyn
  3. Hasty
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    Hasty iPad Ninja

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    Thanks. Learned something here.

    Was in too much of a hurry as usual........
  4. deckyon
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    deckyon iPad Junkie

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    It got so frustrating that I damn near gave up. I will have to marry these two apps when I get home later...

    Thanks for the walk-thru.
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies iPad Fan

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    Very welcome to all. ;) Glad I could add.

    In the original guide I found the Connect to iTunes options was stated as being found under the Send to Device option.

    No. It is not.
  6. Fedrich519
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    Fedrich519 iPF Noob

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    Huge thanks. Love calibre and just got my iPad. Really wanting to join up the two programs.
  7. Wreybies
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    The two do really work splendidly together. If your purpose for your iPad is to read ebooks, then I would say that Calibre is indispensable if for no other reason, the fact that it is like the ultimate polyglot interpreter, taking everything you find out there, regardless of file type, and letting you translate into a file type that iBooks is happy with. Calibre is your interpreter, the internet is the foreign and exotic land you are exploring. Enjoy!
  8. Mickey330
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    Mickey330 Administrator Staff Member

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    Oh, then you'll really like Calibre2OPDS!

    If you have cloud storage, such as [the free] Dropbox, you can create a catalog of your books that you can store "in the cloud." Then, once you find a book in your catalog you want to read, you can download it from the cloud to your iPad, read it and then remove it once you are done.

    See this link, Calibre2OPDS, to see some more details.

    What I like is the ability to store my e-books online and then access them from anywhere, to include the iPad.

    Way cool, IMNSHO.

    Marilyn
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies iPad Fan

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    Marilyn, have I mentioned to you that you rock all over outer space? ;) :D
  10. slayda
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    slayda iPF Novice

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    Be nice if you could do both (iPad & e-ink device) at the same time from Calibre.
  11. Mickey330
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    Do you mean have them both hooked up to Calibre at the same time? Cause otherwise, I'm a bit confused about your remark.

    You can set up the iPad to sync with Calibre - and you can set up an e-reader to sync with Calibre. Calibre will recognize/talk/sync with whichever you plug in.

    I don't know about both at the same time (cause there's only one "send to device" button in Calibre ... and I'm sure it'd get confused with two hooked in). But, you can for sure use Calibre with the iPad and most e-readers.

    Or, you can do what I do and have all my books on my e-reader and in a Dropbox folder with a Calibre2OPDS catalog created. So, I can access my books however I wish, with whichever device. Oh, and I would also assume that if you had an e-reader with WiFi, you could access the catalog on the reader. But, my e-reader doesn't have WiFi, so I'm not 100% sure about that...

    If you meant something else, sorry for rambling on...

    Marilyn

    P.S. Thanks, Wreybies, for your kind remarks. :eek:
  12. Wreybies
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    You are welcome, Mickey.

    And BTW, Mickey is correct. I am an avid reader. I devour books like they were tasty delicacies from the Far East. Calibre is very gregarious! It happily talks to pretty much anything and everything. Besides my iPad, I also sync all my ebooks to my Android phone which is using Cool Reader (because for some reason my phone stopped supporting Aldiko after the last firmware update). That's the great thing about Calibre. It's an interpreter as well as a place to store your ebooks. The reader that Calibre comes with is not the greatest, but I think that's really because Calibre itself is not meant to be your reading platform. I don't think that's its purpose in cyberlife. It is a go-between. An intermediary between your ebook library and whatever device, or the many devices, you are using to read.

    *Note to self: Contact Calibre and ask them if they have an opening in their marketing department*
  13. supraluminal
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    supraluminal iPF Noob

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    Squid Launcher. Oh Yeah!!

    This site and the members who compose it are top shelf! As usual, you all make geek-tech problem solving as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Problem is, I want to shoot fish from a barrel.

    While getting my personal libraries (music & literature) ready for the anticipated arrival of my new iPad 2 in another week or so, I ran into some compatibility issues which this thoughtful thread has conveniently solved for me...for the most part.

    First of all, I started compiling my book catalogue on iTunes (on pc, ashamed to admit) and noticed that the add cover function does not work for most of my pdfs. I say "most" because any I copy to iTunes that show up with the default cover (a light-blue icon with a half-open folder) will permit me to add covers of my choosing. But pdfs that show the first printed page as the cover will not let me add a cover. ???

    I tried many work-arounds with no success until I was graciously introduced to Calibre. With Calibre I can now slap covers onto all of my pdfs (and ebooks that are missing them), but...

    Sending them to the iTunes library as per Wreybies' instructions still doesn't fix this. The covers won't copy over with the documents. (I tried "unchecking" the No SVG Cover box as well, just for the hell of it.)

    I verified through third-party sources (like this one) that jpeg format pics can be sent to iTunes, but there is a lot of discussion out there about imbedded cover data problems that is beyond my scope of understanding and was more intended for Mac users.

    Second, none of my ePub books will open from the iTunes library on my pc, but they will from Calibre. Conversely, all the pdfs work just fine (minus the covers). I don't know how to locate the information for each ePub file which shows if it's write-protected or not.

    Just the same, thanks very much Wreybies, for the tutorial. It certainly put me on the fast track to compiling my book catalogue on iTunes. Here's hoping you have a few more tricks up your sleeve with regard to my above commentary.

    Lastly, I am reluctant to pursue solutions which do not allow me to implement iBook because I am particular about enjoying my music collection while reading (jailbreaking does not seem like a wise option to me either).

    Speaking of my music collection, thank you Mickey330 for the DropBox suggestion. With 160g of mp3s I was trying to figure out the viability of connecting a portable hd to the iPad so I could take my music library with me as well.

    This cloud storage idea sounds like a much better (and workable) solution, presuming I can get a signal with wifi where ever I am. (I am assuming that DropBox can be utilized for music files, as I have not investigated this personally yet.)

    :)
  14. Wreybies
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    The two issues you mention are ones that have been bugbears for me as well.

    Let's address the PDFs first.

    Depending on what your PDFs actually are, you can make use of Calibre's capacity to translate them into a file type that plays more friendlily (didn't think spell check was going to allow friendlily!) with iTunes, like into .epub format. You are going to have to go through some trial and error as concerns the translation process and if your PDFs have headers and footers (annoying little buggers) and you don't want to deal with them then you are going to have to learn a little regex. It's tedious and wether you try your hand at it or not may well depend on how neurotic you are about the end product's perfection. Needless to say, my personal neurotic need for perfect translation from PDF to XXX format falls under the proviso of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. LOL ;) I have even gone to the extreme of reformatting ebooks through an html editor (KompoZer) to get the absoluteiestly most perfect product possible.

    If you are interested in knowing more, please ask. I am not a guru, but I know enough to get you on the path.

    Anyway, once you have them in a format that is more "native" to iBooks, things go swimmingly with book covers.

    As to epub files that won't open in iTunes....

    Are you sure you don't mean secure eReader format, a.k.a. .pdb? Ghastly file format. Ghastly. Got burned at the beginning of my trek into ebooking with .pdb files and will never evah buy them again. They are the only file format with which I am familiar that open only under strictest security measures and heaven forbid you should wish to read them on a different platform than the one you bought them for. There is info on the web as to how to get around these security measures, but I don't think that kind of chat is kosher here, so.... Google is your friend. ;)

    Now, if it is truly an .epub file that doesn't want to open, then I am at a loss. I have never had that happen with an .epub file. More info to lead me in my quest to help?
  15. Mickey330
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    Just remember, depending on where you get them, epubs can be DRM protected. As in, you can only use the reader of the company that sold the e-book cause the book is "locked" to that particular device/company. So, if you've bought epubs from Sony, Kobo, Barnes&Noble or Borders, they undoubtedly have DRM and you won't be able to open them in Apple's iBooks (or probably even iTunes).

    Calibre will let you use it to sort/arrange DRM books, but you can't really do anything else with them other than use Calibre to move the books to your reader.

    So, long story short, that may be your problem. And, Wreybies is right, it can be fixed with diligent Googling for answers about DRM.

    A little digressing here...

    One, I don't use iTunes for anything other than back-ups and syncing my apps. Just not a very user friendly program, in my opinion. But, I treat it nicely and ask it nicely to do what I want - and so far, knock on wood, I'm very pleased with it's behavior.

    All that to say - May I recommend that you look into Calibre2OPDS? I mention it (and have a link about it) a couple of posts up from here.

    I have found (again, remember, I don't particularly care for iTunes) that it is much easier to create a web-accessible catalog in the cloud - in my case, Dropbox - for accessing with the iPad.

    My Calibre library is on Dropbox. With Calibre2OPDS, I've created a catalog that can be accessed with Safari. This catalog not only has links to my books, it has phrases like "download this book as an e-pub." By pressing on that link, Safari will automatically open a page that'll have two buttons, one for the last app you used and another for "Open In." Press either one and bam! That app will open, your e-book will download and you are off reading. No fussing with iTunes. Just click and read.

    The cool part is you can access this catalog from any web browser. Again, I just find it's easier than using iTunes (which is currently frozen because I tried to get the @#*(@! thing to quit doing a backup of my iPad ... guess I spoke too soon about how it behaves for me...!).

    Anyway. I hope some of this helps.

    Marilyn
    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  16. supraluminal
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    supraluminal iPF Noob

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    I'm very grateful for the timely feedback from both of you but before I waste any more of your time or mine, let me see if I understand this correctly.

    The approximate order of applications are: :confused:

    1. Take non-ePub documents created on or downloaded to my pc and convert them to pdfs.

    2. Import or copy the pdfs (and my ePubs) to the Calibre or Calibre 2OPDS library on my pc.

    3. Install the iBooks app to my iPad and establish a DropBox account for cloud storage.

    4. Copy my documents from Calibre to iTunes on my pc in pdf or ePub format AND/OR copy them to my DropBox library.

    5. Transfer my iTunes document library on my pc to iBooks on my iPad OR import the documents to iBooks on iPad as I need them from DropBox.

    6. Somewhere within this sequence of operations, discover a method/format allowing me to import covers where there aren't any and a way to open ePub books in the iTunes library or abandon iTunes document library functions altogether and copy documents directly to iBooks on iPad from Calibre or DropBox (if possible).

    7. Have a beer or two...or three, until the room is spinning as fast as my head. :rolleyes:

    Did I leave out any steps or put in more than necessary?

    Margins, headers and footers...yeah, unnecessary space-takers on iPad's valuable real estate. I'll live with it if I must. I read somewhere that the Good Reader app allows one to eliminate this useless space from the document but then I forfeit the iBooks app. Regardless, with well over 500 pdfs on file, any efforts to improve their aesthetic qualities one by one is going to be impossibly tedious. (By the time I finish this task the iPad will be obsolete.) :ipad-back:

    I'll be able to speak more intelligently about it when I can actually conduct some hands-on experiments with the iPad. For now I just want to get all of my documents in the right places and formats so they're ready for the iPad when I have it in my possession.

    ePub formats work nicelily :D for me in Calibre but are unable to open once copied to iTunes. I don't know why either, but I will try some other formats if iTunes is a necessary step in the process from documents with various formats on my pc to iBooks. If I discover anything that may be helpful to others, I'll gladly pass it along.

    I was under the impression that one must utilize the iTunes application with any/all data for it to be useable on Apple peripheral devices, ie., iPad. I like it as a music library/player, but are you saying I can bypass it with Calibre (or 2OPDS) and/or DropBox and go straight to iBooks on iPad?

    It would sure be nice if I could elliminate all the "middle men" in the equation, download iBooks to my pc, use it as the default document library for my iPad (in the same respect that iTunes fulfills this role for my iPod).

    If wishes were fishes...I'll certainly give it a shot. Thanks again!
    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  17. slayda
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    slayda iPF Novice

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    Sorry about a late reply. Been busy & out of touch. Evidently I don't know Calibre well enough. I know I can set it to any particular reader but thought I'd need to reset it if I hooked up a different reader. That's what I meant by both at the same time - not both connected at the same time but both set up at the same time so regardless of which you connect to, Calibre would recognize it.

    From what you're saying, it looks like you can.
  18. slayda
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    slayda iPF Novice

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    MobileRead Forums
    Some people actually use Dropbox as their primary Calibre library storage. I prefer to maintain my library under my 'complete' control but mirror it to Dropbox using a Microsoft (free DL) SW called SyncToy. (I also use a PC but don't apologize about it. LoL) You can use Windows Task Scheduler to automatically have SyncToy synchronize your Dropbox files to your computer's files.

    I've only had my iPad 2 a month or so but I'd suggest using iTunes for the initial dump of books to the iPad & then use Dropbox for any incremental additions. On the iPad, in Dropbox, when you DL a file to the iPad, it will ask which app you want to use to open it with - simply choose iBooks & it DLs there in your iPad library.

    For some additional information/help on Calibre, check out MobileRead Forums

    I've never gotten iTunes to open books to read either. As far as the covers, the way suggested at Mobileread to fix that is to use Calibre to change the book to Mobipocket, delete the epub & then change back to epub & delete the Mobipocket. (it's a kludge but works, at least for books without DRM.)

    BTW Mobileread also has a lot of 'out of copyright' books that you can DL for free in any of several formats. :)
  19. Wreybies
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    You can skip a step by first adding the book cover within Calibre and then having Calibre convert from .epub to .epub. This is technically the debug function. This imbeds the book jacket without the need to go from one file type to another and back again.
  20. Wreybies
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    Again, it would depend a bit on the purpose of those original non-epubs as to which end file type they should go to. And also depend a bit on you personal use of iBooks. Great thing about these devices and apps is that they are so tailorable to ones own need. If you want my personal druthers, if the file is intended for pleasure reading, then I would not go to PDF, but direct to .epub. That's just me. I don't want to read a PDF format for pleasure. I want it in "book" form.

    If the file is perhaps a work related document or perhaps a document ill-suited to a conversion, then yeah', PDF.

    I have tons of PDFs in my iBooks that I use for work. I am a federal court interpreter and the documents I translate, well, it just wouldn't work to turn them into .epubs. And there are advantages in leaving them as PDFs within iBooks because some of the scans I get are not the best quality and the ability to make use of the pinch/zoom is a godsend in this respect.

    So, again..... depends.

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