15 Comments on Using Calibre for E-Book Management, Chapter 2: Setting and Changing Metadata

  1. “you need to either strip DRM (a topic this series will not be covering).” Ah, the DMCA, squelching the First Amendment everyday for corporate enrichment.

  2. @Coyote – Huh? I’m not sure the DMCA has anything to do with it! Juli simply isn’t a fan of DRM stripping, and so she’s decided not to cover it in the Calibre guide. Not everything is a corporate conspiracy, after all. (Unless … Juli? Is there something you should be telling us? Hmm?)

  3. Incidentally, how many readers out there would like it if we covered DRM stripping in this series? Are there are a lot of you out there who really want to know how it’s done, but can’t find the information elsewhere? And on the other hand, would most of you prefer we didn’t discuss DRM stripping? Please chime in, pro or con.

    And for that matter, if there are any other specific Calibre-related tips or tricks you’d like to learn about, please let us know. Joanna Cabot will be contributing to this series as well, as I’m sure both she and Juli would be open to any suggestions.

  4. Resistance is futile. You are now part of the Collective…

    *blink* Sorry. I’m back now. 😉

    I’m happy to cover DRM stripping. I personally have no moral or ethical issues with it. I don’t even think it’s fattening. I just figured since it’s a taboo subject on every e-reader user group I’m a part of that it would be a taboo subject here too. If you all want me to cover it, I’ll add it to the article list.

    And absolutely I’m open to suggestions. Bring ’em on. If I don’t know how to do it, I’m sure I know how to research it.

  5. Well, there you have it, coyoteblue! Looks like the DRM stripping chapter is still up in the air. Hopefully some readers will weigh in with their opinions – that is, whether or not they’d like to see a “How to Remove That Pesky DRM” article. Speaking personally, that’s a how-to I’d like to read. I don’t know how to strip DRM, but I’d like to know. And yet as Juli (rightly) pointed out, it is a controversial topic in the e-reading community, which makes me think we probably won’t get a lot of honest responses unless readers are allowed to chime in anonymously.

    This sounds like a good excuse for another survey!

  6. Dan, you’ve just been looking for an excuse for another survey, haven’t you? 😉

    Go for it. If folks want it, I’ll write it. Dirty secret, though. Once you learn how, you’re going to kick yourself. It’s incredibly easy now. Not like the bad old days when you had to install Python and learn how to run scripts.

  7. Oh yeah, I love surveys – who doesn’t? We’ll stay away from Survey Monkey for the next one, though. We have someone in-house who can embed them, but since I was out of town and on a tight deadline for your Valentine’s erotica e-reading survey, I had to stick with what I know … which ain’t much!

  8. Your extended tutorial will be of great help for people just getting started with Calibre and others who want to look more deeply into its capabilities.

    I want to suggest an alternative approach for tracking Kindle books in Calibre. I have almost 700 ebooks in my Calibre database, about 300 of them from Amazon. I read Kindle books on a Kindle Paperwhite, iPad, Nexus 7, and a Galaxy Nexus phone. I use Amazon’s Wispersync cloud to download and sync kindle books to these devices so each device knows my current place in the book.

    Instead of adding Amazon books to Calibre, I use Calibre’s “Add Empty Book” option from the dropdown menu next to Add books. I enter the title and author of the “empty book” and then choose Edit metadata as you explained. In the Metadata dialog, I choose “Download metadata” and a large amount of metadata is looked up online and added. You even get to choose a book cover from those available online.

    This approach has several virtues: you can continue to use the powerful Wispersync to download books to all your Kindle devices and keep your place in each, you get all the value of having the metadata in Calibre, you don’t have to physically connect your reading device to your computer, and you don’t need to take up disk space on your computer with kindle books.

    If you know a book’s ISBN number, you can use “Add from ISBN” instead of “Add Empty Book” from the dropdown. This populates Calibre with much of the metadata for the book, although you still would want to go to “Edit metadata” to add tags and other information.

  9. @Harvey, that’s awesome. I didn’t know about “Add Empty Book.” Thank you! That’s why I appreciate reader comments.

    Oh, and hi, almost-neighbor. I stopped by your website, and I see you and your family are all local. I’m in Springfield, VA. Great zoo pictures, especially the sleeping red panda. Aww!

    Dan, any chance you can add Harvey’s instructions to the main article?

  10. Appreciate the series. There’s so much about Calibre that lies hidden. I’d like to know how to edit the complete list of tags. There are so many tags that I’ll never use (like all those numerical tags, and several versions of “history” courtesy the publishers, etc), and I’d like to trim the list down and set my own tags. Also how do you use the date field to track date read? I’m sure I’ll come up with more questions as you go forward. :)

  11. Mrs Mac, trimming tags is easy. I do it myself for publisher-added tags. Go to your tag list on the left side of the screen and start pulling up tags you don’t want. Use the “edit metadata” screen to edit them out of multiple books. That’s a good question, and I might do a quick post showing how to do that.

    You can set the date in the “Date Field” to be anything you like, so just change it to the date you finished a book. Obviously that only works for future books unless you’ve been tracking your history in some other way (Goodreads, Excel, etc).

  12. Juli: I’m glad I had something to contribute to this very useful set of articles on Calibre.

    Yes, I don’t live that far from Springfield. I used to shop at the mall there when I lived just on the Maryland side of the Wilson bridge. Since retirement I have the time to indulge in my favorite activities, taking pictures for local newspapers and theater companies, and reading eBooks.

  13. I am not a fan of DRM. I don’t disagree with using the technology to prevent pirating. Instead, I take issue with the fact that DRM prevents me from accessing an ebook on different devices. For example, when my Nook Color finally dies (it is over 2 years old, after all), I cannot transfer my nook books to a new Kindle. The DRM imbeded in the nook books prevents the files from being converted to the Kindle format. Nor can I purchase a Kindle book from Amazon and read it on my Nook. By removing the DRM, the books I have purchased can be accessed on multiple devices.

  14. Most sites that I know of don’t directly address how to strip DRM for a couple of reasons. One is that an argument can be made that it is illegal. The other reason is to not draw official attention to the site where one can get the anti-DRM tools, for fear that it may be taken down.

    The most that I see is “if you want to strip DRM, google Apprentice Alf.”

  15. In fact there is also another good tool that I think it’s good to edit eBook metadata too.
    It’s the Epubor Ultimate Converter.

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