Books to your tablet with Calibre (Day 7 of 20 days of SCALE)

In today’s post in my prep for my yearly weekend at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) I’m going to cover the subject of my favorite ebook delivery/conversion software: Calibre.

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A lot of software that people use that is open source seems to end up fitting in the same old mold. I however use it for my life. Anything and everything I do I used a computer as a tool to enhance that experience if I can. One thing I do a LOT is read. As of last year I’ve started a new thing. I’m eleminating my physical books and I’m going all ebook. I’ve actually scanned in all my bookshelves into Amazon‘s wishlist and if anything should ever Kindle Fire HDhappen (think natural disaster) I could fill a bookshelf with the same books in a matter of minutes or just pay for them and download them into my favorite device. What is that favorite device you ask? My Kindle. We’re a Kindle family. I have 4 Kindles in my house my newest baby being the Kindle Fire HD. The Kindle Fire line is more than just an ebook reader like the others. It’s an Android powered tablet computer that Amazon has tweaked for their purposes and to log right into their store.

Before I become a complete Kindle fanboy on you I want to get back to how we got there. The ebook readers have opened up a space where people want to just read Star Trek style… but how do you get content onto the ebook reader? Amazon will allow you to convert word documents or email pdf files to them and for a small fee they’ll convert and put them on your device. This is really cool and only pennies per document what about having that power for yourself for almost ANY tablet device or pdf reader? That’s where Calibre comes in! It’s the complete solution for sending ebooks, pdf, web pages, news, etc. to your device and I LOVE it.

Calibre’s interface is so dead easy to learn and it’s that thing I love… cross platform. Once calibre1.jpegcalibre2.pngcalibre3.png

again that means it’s on Linux, Mac and Windows. I’ve run it on all 3. What I love about using Calibre is that it keeps a huge catalog of the books you own. Even proprietary formats like .AZW which Amazon uses to deliver it’s books to the Kindle are supported. It can convert these books to different formats like .pdf, .mobi and .epub which almost all tablets can read. Transferring the books to your device is a great thing too. I keep the device email settings (since all Kindles have an email address associated with them) and can email things straight to my dad and my kids’ Kindles all in a couple clicks. You will have to go to Amazon’s site for that.

What about other tablets and e-readers you ask? Calibre takes what they do seriously. The list of formats this program can convert to is very impressive. I do some volunteering at book expo’s and a couple years ago I had a lady that had a New York Times best seller cowritten with a extremely well known celebrity. I told her I’d by her book but really wanted an ebook version if I bought it. She really didn’t know much about this but since I was going to be her computer guy I should teach her a bit. She sent me the original manuscript in a Microsoft Word file and I converted it to the formats she wanted so she could read it on her devices. Talk about ecstatic! She sent it to her agent in .epub. I used it on my older Kindle in .mobi and viewed it on computers and my wife’s iPad in .pdf.

So go ahead. Write your soon to be ebook or just put all your books on all your devices with Calibre.

Come out to SCALE Feb. 22-24 and find me giving the SCALE tours (Phillip Banks) or follow me on Twitter and Facebook and I’ll give you a couple other ideas from what you do everyday.

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