Using Calibre for E-Book Management, Chapter 1: Downloading and Setting Up

This post is part of TeleRead's "Using Calibre for E-Book Management" Guide: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2Ch. 3 | Ch. 4Ch. 5 | Ch. 6Ch. 7 | Ch. 8Ch. 9 | Ch. 10

Calibre logoMany TeleRead readers are familiar with the incredible e-book management program, Calibre. Some of you are power users. Some of you aren’t. One of the most common questions I see on e-book forums is “how do I use Calibre?”

I thought I’d write a series that answers that question, and more. In fact, by the time this series is done, we will have produced a comprehensive Calibre users guide.

So let’s get started.

Before you can use Calibre, you need to download it, install it, and set it up.

Downloading is easy. Go to and select your version.

Please be aware that because I use Calibre’s  Windows version, all my screen shots will be from that version. Mac and Linux users, if you see differences, please feel free to chime in as we go along. And don’t worry about the portable version for now—I’ll cover that in a later article.

Once you’ve downloaded, start the installation—according to your operating system, of course.

Once you’ve completed the installation, you’ll be prompted to start the Welcome Wizard. He’s a handy fellow, so let him walk you through the first steps:

Don’t worry if you miss something. You can always run the Wizard later by selecting it at the top of the Calibre main screen.

Calibre Welcome Screen

The most important step is choosing a location for your books. I highly recommend a Dropbox folder. Some of the advanced features of Calibre use Dropbox, in which case you’ll already be set up to take advantage of them. In addition, loading books onto tablets is easy from Dropbox. And besides, who doesn’t want constant backup to the cloud?

Next, you’ll choose your device. Don’t worry too much about this step. You’ll notice in my example that I have ‘Nook Color’ selected. I haven’t owned a Nook Color in over a year, and yet everything in Calibre still works just fine for me. I really should change it to Kindle (there, done), but it doesn’t much matter much. Bottom line: Select the device you use most often, and you’ll be fine. We’ll discuss conversion from one format to another in a later article.

The next step is only useful if you have a Kindle. Follow the directions and set it up if you’d like. I haven’t run the Wizard in a while, so this was a new step to me. You’ll pardon me if I don’t show this screen filled out with all my personal information.

You’ll finish with the cheery welcome screen below, and at that point, you’re ready to use Calibre.

Watch the demo videos videos if you’d like—or just wait for the next installment in this series, when we’ll talk about loading books into Calibre and editing metadata.

4 Comments on Using Calibre for E-Book Management, Chapter 1: Downloading and Setting Up

  1. I hope when this guide is done that you make it in to an epub file and allow people to download it as it’s been pretty interesting so far. Would love to be able to read it and pass it on to other people that don’t know about calibre.

  2. Tom – We’re actually hoping to do just that. I’d like to make it available as a PDF and Mobi file as well … stay tuned to the series, and if are able to turn it into an e-book, we’ll be sure to let everyone know.

  3. Dan,
    Have you by any chance made this 10 chapter tutorial in to a pdf or epub yet as I would love to be able to download it to my copy of Calibre as well as share it with my friends that I have suggested Calibre to in the past.

  4. Dan, i use the email feature to send single books to my Ipad or to my husband when he is away from home and doesn’t want to use dropbox :)

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