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How to manage your e-book library without a Kindle

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I’ve given up on the Kindle until Amazon comes up with something better that doesn’t feel like a Casio Digital Diary. In the meantime, here’s how I’m managing my e-book library across devices and formats.

I primarily use ePub for reading e-books on devices because it offers decent formatting and font sizes for comfortable reading on smaller screens.

Calibre provides a great way to convert e-books from just about any format (including PDF) to ePub, and does a pretty good job of maintaining the formatting. Page breaks might not always be preserved, but at least chapter headings are obvious and paragraphs are properly formatted. Calibre also has pretty good library management features and I generally delete the source format once I’ve converted to ePub to keep things lightweight.

Both iBooks and Stanza provide a great reading experience on the iPhone (which is my primary e-book reading device now). Despite the small screen, they both handle font sizes well and do a good job of maintaining readability.

But I prefer Stanza because it’s faster, allows screen rotation locking, and most of all – allows you to load e-books into your device library over the air (via the same wi-fi network).

The Calibre-Stanza pair comes into its own when you turn on the content server in Calibre (click the “Connect/Share” icon and select “Start content server”), and then in Stanza, tap “Get books”, look under the “Shared” tab, and tap “Books on calibre (on your computer)”. This lets you access and download books from your Calibre library directly into Stanza on your device via wi-fi. You just need both your computer and your device to be on the same wi-fi network.

That’s way less troublesome than dragging books into iTunes and syncing your iPhone (which can take a while if you’ve got lots of apps) just to transfer a few books, and you also don’t end up with duplicate books on iTunes and Calibre.

Unfortunately for Android users, Stanza isn’t available on Android, but here are a few possible alternatives.


Written by tokyotribe

April 23, 2011 at 7:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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