Calibre Library is a Great Way to Access your eBook Library Wirelessly
Nov 25, 2011 8:54 AM –
Calibre Library. Connect wirelessly to your Calibre e-book library or other Stanza source. Browse and download your e-books on the go.
Tested on: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Pros & Cons:
- You an access your entire eBook library wirelessly, and download books directly to your device.
- You can only access the library while you’re connected to the same Wi-Fi access point.
I’ve used the Calibre desktop client to manage my eBooks since I got my first Kindle several years ago. I find it to be one of the easiest ways to manage a library that pulls books from a variety of sources, and from which you want to manage the books synced to several different devices at once. The Android app continues the tradition of making it easier to manage your digital book collection.
To work, you first have to share your library in the desktop client. You can go in and adjust the settings under preferences, but once you have it set up, all you have to do is hit the “Connect/Share” button in the desktop client to start the service. On the Android side, it’s a bit more complicated. You first have to pull your IP address, since this is how the app connects to the library, using a specific port to access the data. It actually took me a few tries to get this set up right, and ultimately required me to pull up the Command Prompt on my computer to run ipconfig to get my exact device address, as well as messing around with my firewall settings, as they were blocking the connection. In the app, you can test the settings, and it offers a test server, so you can quickly see if it’s the app not working, or if the settings on the desktop still aren’t correct. There is a very helpful FAQ in the app’s help section that will walk you through some of the most common setup hiccups and how to fix them, and if nothing there works, the developer is very good about getting back to you to try and troubleshoot the problem. On the download page, he even states that even if you go over Google’s refund window, if you save your Google Checkout receipt, he will refund the app if you just can’t get it working, even if you take longer than 15 minutes working on it.
Another quick note is that the app really only officially works if you’re connecting via the same Wi-Fi access point. That is how the Calibre desktop server is set up to share by default, although there are ways to share over the Internet if you want to delve deeper into servers, hosting and setup. For the purposes of this review, I only tested the app on the same access point.
Once you have the app up and running, you can browse your entire library by title, author, tag, and a variety of other parameters. You can also search for specifics, which is a necessary feature for those with large collections, like me. It is easy to download the book, which you can configure to pull the cover image if one is available, or not, depending on your preferences.
The only thing you can’t do in Calibre Library is actually read a book. This is a manager and download tool to link you to your library without having to connect it to your system with a USB cable. To read the books, you’ll need a separate eBook reader, of which there are a wide range of both free and paid options on the market to suit pretty much anyone.
Calibre Library Main
Calibre Library Browse
Calibre Library Book
Calibre Library Settings
For people like me who have huge eBook libraries that they want to be able to easily access and pull book from on their Android device, this is beyond useful. It makes it incredibly easy to browse and download books direct to your device.
Ease of Use:
Setup was a bit complicated since it requires connecting directly via your IP address, but once it’s setup, the app itself is very easy to use.
If you like to switch out books often, this will be a life saver, and an app you refer to on a regular basis.
The interface is very simple, starting you out with various ways you can access your collection, then drilling down until you reach the book’s individual listing, which is also where you get the download button to save it to your device’s memory. If you have a cover image, it will show the cover along with the title and author all the way through the process, and if you have tags or other information associated with the book, that will be there as well.