Calibre: A Good, Free Open Source eBook App

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 23, 2009

CNet has an interesting item up today on Calibre,  a cross-platform open source library for eBooks. Windows, Linux and Mac OS X users can take advantage of library management, format conversion, news feeds to ebook conversion, and ebook reader sync features, plus an integrated ebook viewer. It supports conversion from HTML, TXT, RTF, PDF and websites to LRF, the Sony Reader native format. I agree with CNet about how some aspects of its interface could be improved, but there is also a lot to like in Calibre.

You'll find a list of Calibre's features here, and there is a User Manual, and a Tips and Tricks collection. You can access ebooks with it from your browser via a View button, or sync your books to ebook reader devices and convert them to ePub, MOBI, or LRF formats. You can also fetch metadata with it, for book cover art, summaries of the content in books, etc.

Library management and syncing features are easily handled through a toolbar, as seen here:

You can read your Calibre collection on the iPhone or on any number of other mobile devices:

CNet notes that "the only major drawback in Calibre is that the interface, with its oversize buttons and primary-colored icons, lacks the gloss that the general public has come to expect from digital library programs like iTunes." I agree with that, but there is growing interest in ebooks, and this application is definitely worth getting for its flexibility with both ebooks and RSS feeds.

We recently looked into several other open source ebook resources, and you can find them here. There, you'll find a number of ways to get free ebooks themselves for reading with Calibre.