TouchMyApps » Calibre http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:45:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.3 How to Use Dropbox to store all your ebooks in the cloud http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/12/05/how-to-use-dropbox-to-store-all-your-ebooks-in-the-cloud/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/12/05/how-to-use-dropbox-to-store-all-your-ebooks-in-the-cloud/#comments Mon, 05 Dec 2011 17:55:31 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=61424 Previously, we looked at how to read your old ebooks (i.e. LIT, MOBI, PDB, RTF) on iBooks, Apple’s e-reader app. It involved converting them into ePubs, the only ebook format supported by iBooks, and uploading them via iTunes. Well we’re going to show you today a far superior method — one utilizing Calibre and Dropbox — for storing your … Read more]]>

Previously, we looked at how to read your old ebooks (i.e. LIT, MOBI, PDB, RTF) on iBooks, Apple’s e-reader app. It involved converting them into ePubs, the only ebook format supported by iBooks, and uploading them via iTunes. Well we’re going to show you today a far superior method — one utilizing Calibre and Dropbox — for storing your ebook collection and transferring books to your iPhone, iPod Touch and/or iPad even if you’re far away from home, without access to your home computer.

Many of you have likely heard of Dropbox already, and are perhaps even using it on a day-to-day basis. For those you not familiar, Dropbox is a free web-based service that allows users to store their photos, files and other documents “in the cloud”. They’re then synced across any computer (Mac, Windows, Linux) or Mobile OS (Android, iOS, Blackberry etc) with Dropbox installed and can easily be shared with friends and family. So if you add or edit a file on one computer, all other PCs/Macs/iDevices at your disposal will also have the exact same file uploaded – often seconds later. The idea behind it is very much like Apple’s own iCloud that was introduced with iOS 5, though in many ways, iCloud’s lot more restrictive in the sense that you can’t simply upload/download individual files like you can with Dropbox. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how we can use both Calibre and Dropbox to effectively manage your ebooks, as well as be able to retrieve them no matter where you are.

Note: If you are already using Dropbox, skip down to step 6

1) First thing you’ll need to do is register for a free Dropbox account. Please note this is a referral link, meaning you will receive an additional 250MB of free space on your free account after you’ve successfully installed Dropbox..which brings us to..

2) Download and Install Dropbox on your PC, Mac or Linux

3) One of the initial setup screens will ask if you already have a Dropbox account. New users can create an account by filling out their name, email and password. Existing Dropbox users setting up the install on a new computer can simply link up to their account by providing the email address associated with Dropbox and password.

4) Dropbox is completely Free to use (you get 2GB of storage to start with), though you can upgrade to 50GB for $9.99/month and 100GB for $19.99/month. Unless you’re planning on uploading large files like videos and MP3s, 2GB should be more than sufficient – especially for storing ebooks. You can always upgrade at a later time if you feel you require more space. And keep in mind that as you invite friends and family to use Dropbox, you’ll get an extra 250MB of space for each person refered, up to a total of 8GB.

5) You can then take the brief 5 step tutorial highlighting the basics of Dropbox, as well as choose where the Dropbox folder will be located.

6) Locate the newly installed Dropbox folder on your computer and create a new folder called ‘eBooks’ (or something similar). You can do this by right clicking anywhere within the Dropbox folder and select “New Folder”. Or you can simply hit Cmd+Shift+N on a Mac or Ctrl+Shift+N on Windows.

7) Next, we’ll need to setup Calibre on your PC, Linux or Mac. For those of you not familiar, Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application that allows you to manage your entire eBooks collection (rate, tag, sort, download metadata and covers etc.). It can also accept a wide range of ebook formats for conversion – great for turning those old Lit, Mobi and other ebook files into ePub. Just think of Calibre as the iTunes for eBooks.

8) Download and install Calibre for your Operating System. The setup wizard will initially ask you to choose a location for your books. Change it so that Calibre is pointing to the ebooks folder you’ve just created in Dropbox (see above screenshot). This step here allows Calibre to directly add/edit ebooks stored in your Dropbox account.

9) Assuming you’ll be reading your ebooks on an iPhone/iPad, select Apple –> iPad or iPhone/iPhone/Touch when asked to choose your ebook device. This ensures that any conversions made are tailored to your ereader.

10) With Calibre installed, you can begin adding ebooks into the software by either clicking on the “Add Books” icon located in the top left corner, pressing “A” on the keyboard, or simply dragging and dropping ebook files into the center and main panel. Note that once you add any new books or make any changes via Calibre, your Dropbox account will instantly be updated as well. Basically, if you add an ebook on your iMac/PC via Calibre, all other desktops, laptops and mobile devices with Dropbox installed will also receive the file. How cool (and handy) is that? Also, if you are planning on reading your ebooks on the iDevice, make sure that you convert them into ePub beforehand – apps like iBooks and Stanza (and most others) only accept this format. For converting and adding metadata/covers, refer to steps 4 and 5 in our previous post.

11) Now it’s time to download and install Dropbox on your iPhone, iPod Touch and/or iPad. Using the Dropbox app, we’ll be able to access all your ebooks from the cloud and import them into iBooks and other e-reading apps from the App Store.

12) Upon launching the app, tap on “I’m Already a Dropbox User” and enter your login email and password.

13) Once you link the app to your Dropbox account, all your folders and files will appear on your iDevice. Find the eBooks folder you created earlier on your desktop and select it. Assuming you’ve already added books via Calibre, your eBooks folder within the Dropbox app will have all your books neatly organized by Author.

 14) Locate an ebook (the actual ePub file) and open it. After downloading the book from the cloud, you’ll immediately see a “Unable to view file” screen. This is perfectly normal as Dropbox doesn’t support the viewing of this file format. Simply tap the “action” button on the bottom right of the screen and you’ll see a list of apps installed on your device that you can send the ePub to.

15) Choose an e-reader from the list (i.e. iBooks, Stanza, Kobo or others) and your ebook will be opened within that particular app. You can still send your ePub to the likes of Evernote, GoodReader or other file managers, but you won’t be able to actually read the ebook – they’ll simply save and store it like any other document.

16) One other thing you can do with the Dropbox app is save these ebooks/epubs right on your device, which gives you access to them even if you don’t have an internet connection. This way, you can transfer certain books over to various e-reader apps anytime you want. To do this, simply tap on the Star (center bottom) after you’ve opened a file (if it’s an epub, it’ll be the “Unable to view file screen”. Now whenever you go into the “Favorites” section, all the ebooks/files you’ve starred will be waiting for offline use.

Well there you have it folks. Once you get everything set up and use it a few times, you’ll find that the combination of Dropbox and Calibre will make managing your ebooks a whole lot easier, especially when it comes to transferring them into your iPhone or iPad. Take a look at the video below made by Kovid Goyal – creator of Calibre – as he highlights some of the advanced features and UI tips of the powerful eBook management software.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this tutorial, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/12/05/how-to-use-dropbox-to-store-all-your-ebooks-in-the-cloud/feed/ 9
iPad Tutorial: How to read your old (non-ePub) ebooks using iBooks http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/04/21/ipad-tutorial-how-to-read-your-old-non-epub-ebooks-using-ibooks/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/04/21/ipad-tutorial-how-to-read-your-old-non-epub-ebooks-using-ibooks/#comments Wed, 21 Apr 2010 23:15:40 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=31894 Update: Our latest tutorial on how to use Dropbox and Calibre to store and remotely transfer ebooks to your iDevices is now up. You can check it out here. Early adopters of the iPad already know that the device is not only great for surfing the web, playing “HD” games or watching movies on the … Read more]]>

Update: Our latest tutorial on how to use Dropbox and Calibre to store and remotely transfer ebooks to your iDevices is now up. You can check it out here.

Early adopters of the iPad already know that the device is not only great for surfing the web, playing “HD” games or watching movies on the gorgeous 9.7-inch IPS screen, but also for reading ebooks. Apple’s own e-reader app, iBooks, has been well received and its overall design makes it easy and enjoyable to read books on the iPad. It even allows you to upload non-iBookstore and DRM-free ePub documents/ebooks onto the app via iTunes. Unfortunately, iBooks only accepts the “industry standard” ePub format, meaning those with a collection of ebooks in various formats (LIT, MOBI, PDB, HTML, RTF etc) are out of luck.

While Stanza (my personal favorite) and other e-reader apps on the iPhone/iPod Touch do accept other ebook formats, there are currently none with dedicated iPad versions (meaning you won’t be able to enjoy them in full screen mode without the text becoming pixelated). As such, we’ll be taking a look at how to convert and transfer your existing non-epub ebooks/documents onto the free and very likeable iBooks app.

Calibre main interface

First and foremost, your ebook files need to be converted into the ePub format. Granted, there are quite a few ways to do this, but one of the best methods is by using Calibre, a free and open source e-book library management application. Much like iTunes, Calibre enables you to manage your entire eBooks collection (rate, tag, sort, download metadata and covers etc.) and it accepts a wide range of formats for conversion.  Best of all (aside from the fact that it’s free), Calibre runs on Windows, Mac OS X  AND Linux. Now that we’ve introduced the software, let’s get down to business.

1. Download and install Calibre for your Desktop/Laptop.

2. During the Installation process, select Apple –> iPad in the “choose your book reader” window to ensure the output is optimized for your iPad after file conversion.

3. Populate your library with the “Add Books” button located top-left of Calibre. You can import books individually or via an entire directory.

4. If your ebooks are missing any metadata (publisher, tags, summary) or covers, you can have Calibre automatically fill in the info. Highlight the titles and under the “Edit Meta Information” menu (or simply right click to bring up) and select the “Download Metadata and Covers” option.

5. Once you’re happy with sorting and organizing your ebooks, it’s time to convert them into the ePub format. You can do so individually or in bulk, both of which are done through the “Convert Ebooks” button. In the conversion window (above),  the only thing that really needs to be done is to make sure that the Output option (top right of screen) has “EPUB” selected.  I’ve kept all the other settings untouched and haven’t had any issues with the files. If you’re of the adventurous type, you can check out the user manual for more info and perform desired tweaks.

6. Next, we have to transfer your newly minted epub books into iTunes. Locate your .epub files and drag them into the Library section of iTunes (see above). If you didn’t have any ebooks in iTunes to begin with, a new Books folder will be created for you. Note: Please ensure that you drag your epub files into the Library section and not directly into your iPad (under Devices). Doing so will cause iTunes to throw an error message and crash.

Update: With the more recent version of iOS (tested on iOS 5.0.1 and iTunes 10.5.1, you can directly drop epubs into your iPhone/iPad (Devices), just like you can with music and other supported media files.

You can also refer to our more recent post on how to transfer ebooks to your iDevice with the Dropbox app.

7. All that’s left to do is sync your books onto your iPad. This process isn’t any different than syncing music, apps, movies etc.

8. Open iBooks and enjoy your old new library!

While we’re at it, it’s worth noting that Calibre can also download news from the net and convert them into ebook form. Some of the supported news sites include:

  • The New York Times
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The Economist
  • Time
  • Wired Magazine
  • Newsweek
  • ESPN

Once downloaded, these “ebooks” actually include the full articles, and not just the summaries you find on some rss feeds. What this means is that you’ll now be able to read full blown versions of your favorite news sites (if supported) right from the confines of iBooks and without the need for internet connection. Needless to say, this will be great for times when you’re traveling and out of Wi-Fi range.

The video below by Kovid Goyal, creator of Calibre, will give you a run down of some of the features of this versatile and powerful eBook management software.

Happy reading!

Also check out our tutorial on how to transfer ebooks to Stanza on the iPad here.

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/04/21/ipad-tutorial-how-to-read-your-old-non-epub-ebooks-using-ibooks/feed/ 15