Organizing eBooks - A Reader Story

Organizing eBooks – A Reader Story

Do you find it hard to organize your eBooks?

Recently in the DocumentSnap newsletter, I shared some tips for managing and organizing eBooks on the Kindle and other devices. If you have a lot of them, they can get out of control really quickly.

Awesome DocumentSnap reader Tom wrote in with his solution, and he agreed to let me share it here on the blog. Take it away, Tom.

How Tom Manages His eBooks

My eBook story starts with Kindle, wanders through iBooks and finally arrives at the promised land of Calibre.

I have an old Kindle that works well in sunshine, but do most of my reading on an iPad. The Kindle reader did not sync the locations between the iPad and the old Kindle, so I wandered off from Kindle to iBooks.

iBooks has lots of issues on a Mac and of course one must use the iTunes to send a PDF that has been scanned on the Scansnap (more on that later). iBooks also “loses” eBooks when the number of eBooks gets large. I had numerous discussions with Apple about it losing both PDF and EPUB books. The final response was that they only guarantee iBooks to work with PDF and EPUB files that come from Apple.

The Move To Calibre

So I moved to Calibre, and I could not be more happy with it. Right now I have 5200 eBooks in my calibre library. Not only is it fast, but the multiple methods of searching and categorizing books is truly outstanding.

I have moved almost all my paper books to scanned PDF files. A friend was kind enough to run the books through his band saw, cutting off all the bindings. I then run the pages through my ScanSnap iX500 and OCR them with the supplied ABBYY OCR software.

The scanning process has evolved into scanning about 100 pages at a time. Plus different resolutions for different sections of books. Many books are all text except for picture sections. So the text part I scan B&W at the highest resolution and then pictures as color or greyscale.

I then run the sections through the OCR and when complete bind the section files together with pdftk, a PDF tool.

Categorizing the books is a snap with Calibre, especially for the books that have an ISBN. As Calibre downloads all the metadata about the book.

Reading On The iPad

I do the far majority of my reading on the iPad. Occasionally, I will read an EPUB book or a PDF on the Mac.

I use the program iMazing to send the PDF files directly to Acrobat on the iPad.

My iPad is limited in memory so I keep the far majority of the ebooks in Calibre and only send the few I am currently interested in.

Since I have movement issues from Lyme, I discovered that displaying the iPad screen on my Mac via the program Reflector 2 works best for me. This allows me to have the iPad in my lap and keep my head supported and up looking at the Mac screen.

Thanks Tom! I’ve heard from quite a few readers that Calibre is a great tool for managing eBooks. The price is right too.

Do you have a large eBook collection? How do you manage it?

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 1 comment

Mike Harahan - October 27, 2015 Reply

Have been using Calibre for years. This elegant workflow really works. Using Reflector to throw the words to my Retina screen makes reading so pleasurable. Thank you for this post!

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