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How to Convert an E-Book Using Calibre

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:

Whether you are the proud new owner of an e-book reader, or merely anticipate the inclusion of iBooks in OS X Mavericks and wish to start converting your e-book collection to an appropriate format, it can often be difficult to know where to begin. In this tutorial, I will show you how to convert an e-book using Calibre, a powerful open-source application dedicated to organising your digital library.


The Calibre Advantage

While companies such as Amazon employ DRM (Digital Rights Management) to prevent you from sharing books between multiple devices, Calibre frees you from such constraints and offers total control over your e-book collection.

With Calibre, you can transfer books between your computer and e-reader, and vice versa, converting their format for whichever device you choose, and removing the DRM so that they can be shared across all of your devices instead of just one. Additionally, the app can store your library online so that it can be accessed by you from anywhere in the world, making Calibre probably the most powerful e-book management software available right now.

Important: We do not condone the infringing of copyright. This tutorial is solely aimed at those who have purchased ebooks and wish to move them between their own devices. Do not redistribute books if you do not have the rights to do so.


Step 1: Download and Launch Calibre

First of all, you will need to download Calibre by visiting the Calibre website. Upon installing the application, you are greeted by a software wizard to assist you in setting up Calibre to your specification.

Tip: Please note, if you are using OS X Tiger or a PowerPC Mac then an earlier version of Calibre must be downloaded.

Select your e-book reader from the list and then press Next to continue.
Select your e-book reader from the list and then press Next to continue.

Choose a language and file location, then click Next to proceed. Now, select your e-book reader from the list and click Next once more.

If you are a Kindle user, enter your Kindle e-mail address to automatically send files to your device via e-mail.
If you are a Kindle user, enter your Kindle e-mail address to automatically send files to your device via e-mail.

If you are a Kindle user, enter your Kindle e-mail address to automatically send files to your device via e-mail. This step is entirely optional, and can be skipped if you prefer by pressing Next and then Finish to exit the wizard.


Step 2: Select an E-Book

OK, now that the app is up and running, it is time to select an e-book and add it to your Calibre library. For the purpose of this tutorial, I am going to use Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash Reactive Dog by Patricia McConnell, a highly regarded animal behaviorist and dog trainer, but you can convert whichever book you desire, of course.

Click the Add Books icon situated in the top left-hand corner of the screen.
Click the Add Books icon situated in the top left-hand corner of the screen.

Click the Add Books icon situated in the top left-hand corner of the screen to display the relevant dialog box. Locate and highlight the e-book you wish to convert and then click Open to add it to your library.

Highlight the e-book once again and press the Convert Books icon.
Highlight the e-book once again and press the Convert Books icon.

Now, highlight the e-book in your library and press the Convert Books icon, which can be found on the menu bar running along the top of the application.


Step 3: Edit

Let’s take this opportunity to edit the metadata for your e-book. For the uninitiated, metadata is essential information pertaining to that particular book, such as its title, author, and publisher, which will help categorise the book correctly once sent to your e-book reader.

Click the field you’d like to edit and then re-enter the relevant data.
Click the field you’d like to edit and then re-enter the relevant data.

Click the field you’d like to edit and then re-enter the relevant data, making sure that there are no spelling mistakes or any other errors that will affect categorization.


Step 4: Select an Output Format

Choose your desired file format from the Output Format drop-down menu.
Choose your desired file format from the Output Format drop-down menu.

Choose your desired file format from the Output Format drop-down menu, and then click OK. Calibre will then begin to convert your e-book, and a notification will appear in the top right-hand corner when the conversion is complete.

Tip: Calibre can handle the following formats: MOBI, EPUB, AZW3, FB2, HTMLZ, LIT, LRF, PDB, PDF, PMLZ, RB, RTF, SNB, TCR, TXT, TXTZ, and ZIP.


Step 5: Send to Device

Once your chosen e-book has successfully converted format, it is ready to be sent to your e-book reader.

Once your chosen e-book has successfully converted format, it is ready to be sent to your e-book reader.
Once your chosen e-book has successfully converted format, it is ready to be sent to your e-book reader.

Connect your e-book reader to the computer, right-click the e-book, hover over Send to Device, and then press Send to Main Memory. This process can take anywhere between half a second to a couple of minutes, depending on the size of the file and how many need transferring.

Eject your device by clicking the arrow to the right of the Device icon and then press Eject This Device.
Eject your device by clicking the arrow to the right of the Device icon and then press Eject This Device.

Upon completion, eject your device by clicking the arrow to the right of the Device icon and then press Eject This Device from the drop-down menu.


And Relax!

There you have it — one e-book converted to the format of your choice and safely deposited on your Kindle, Kobo, or any other e-book reader that you own. Did you find this step-by-step guide helpful? If so, leave a comment below.

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