Q&A Have a small library but cannot afford a library management system (LMS) like Oliver, Unicorn or IS OXFORD? How about trying Calibre the free ebook library software?

Final - CALIBRE EBOOKI worked in libraries for over 11 years before giving up work to look after my son and write books. I understand that sometimes small libraries whether they are school libraries or corporate information departments don’t have the money to buy a full-blown library catalogue.

When you work in these organisations you may not need all the features of a full-blown library management system. If that is the case for you, give Calibre a look.

Calibre is free software downloadable from the internet. You can install it like any desktop application on your computer and use tags to catalogue your book’s physical locations.

In my book, A Simpler Guide to Calibre, I also explain how you can use tags to mark a book as out on loan or have virtual libraries so you can see at a glance which books are on loan and their due date.

If you only need a library catalogue for basic cataloguing but no budget or accessible IT department then Calibre could be your answer. Have one computer in your library set up and use it to search and loan your books.

You can not only use the catalogue to find your ebooks (which it is designed for) but you can add physical media such as music CDs or movie DVDs. The software can be used in a variety of ways with a little imagination.

It’s a great way to have a classic ebook collection. Fill up the catalogue with Jane Austen’s, Edgar Allan Poe’s or Robert Louis Stevenson’s books from the Gutenberg project and have a classic collection that will entertain for hours at no extra cost. You can add kindle addresses and get them sent to your customers’ Kindles.

If you don’t have a budget but you need an easy way to organize your books why not give it a try? The software is free after all!

Please stay tuned for other ways to get the most out of Calibre.

Thanks for dropping by.

Now for the obligatory mention of my relevant book:

Final - CALIBRE EBOOKA Simpler Guide to Calibre: How to organize, edit and convert your eBooks using free software for readers, writers, students and researchers for any eReader.

Buy from Amazon:

eBook | Paperback

ceri's q and a

How Calibre can help authors organize their research and convert their books before uploading to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

author calibre

I love Calibre. I love it so much I wrote a book on it. As an author, what’s not to like? It’s free. I should probably say that again. It’s free (very important for the cash strapped author). It can do so much like organizing your books, it is an ebook converter and you can read books on it and did I mention it’s free? Calibre is a powerful tool in an author’s arsenal. It can save you time in more than one way.

If you have found this article you are probably an author or know someone who is and you want to know how the software can help you so I’m going to break this down into two sections, ebook organization and converting ebooks.

Ebook organization

Say you have 50 ebooks and 50 paperbacks that you simply must have to research your book. Your house is also rammed to the rafters and you only have a small corridor leading through your house where you navigate piles of books threatening to topple like several mini versions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You could find the books you need but it would take a few days, a hat with a torch on it, some provisions and possibly a bag of breadcrumbs so you can find your way out again.

No fear, this is all in the past. While you are researching your book, catalog every book you need into Calibre. This goes for ebooks and paperbacks you own but it could also include books you don’t own but you find. For example, if you find an article and you can’t download it why not catalog it and put the link to it in the description. If you saw the book in a second-hand bookshop, type in the description where you saw it so you don’t forget. Voila, when you are searching for it in Calibre you only have to look in the description for the address or click in the description to take you to the article you need on the web.

Calibre is easy to use but if you run into trouble then please check out my ebook or paperback A Simpler Guide to Calibre: How to organize, edit and convert your eBooks using free software for readers, writers, students and researchers for any eReader.

Converting ebooks

I use Calibre to convert ebooks for research and to convert my ebooks for upload to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

The two ways I convert for research are to change the articles I find to an easy-read format (converting from PDF to MOBI means that I can alter the text size for more comfortable reading) and I also download several blogs using the news gathering feature and then send them to my Kindle as ebooks in my nattily titled Writerly News edition. The first is more specific for research for books I am writing at a given moment and the second more for keeping me in touch with the author/publishing world.

The other reason I use the ebook converter side to Calibre is for uploading to KDP. I have tried uploading a Word file directly but KDP mangles the formatting. The resulting Kindle ebook ignores the styles I painstakingly created and sticks its nose up at other little formatting tricks I spend hours over to give the book a more premium feel. So what do I do? I add the docx file to Calibre. I convert the docx to MOBI and then I export on to my hard drive for uploading to KDP. Simple.

Please stay tuned for other ways to get the most out of Calibre.

Thanks for dropping by.

Final - CALIBRE EBOOKNow for the obligatory mention of my relevant book:

A Simpler Guide to Calibre: How to organize, edit and convert your eBooks using free software for readers, writers, students and researchers for any eReader.

Buy from Amazon:

eBook | Paperback

In countries where Kindle Match is available the Kindle eBook is free with the purchase of the paperback. Please see Amazon terms and conditions for their Kindle Match program.