Caliber is an e-book tool from the Swiss Army • The Register


Friday FOSS Fest In this week’s edition of our free and open source software column, El reg takes a look caliberwhich converts almost any file type to almost any other file type, so you can read whatever you want, wherever you want, no matter what format it’s in.

It’s free and runs on Windows, Linux and Mac.

E-books are of course more than the Kindle, with devices like the Kobo, Nook and Onyx Boox. The author’s Sony Reader was still working fine when I gave it to a friend a year ago.

Buying supplies online for immediate consumption is wonderfully convenient, but the problem is that you can just as easily lose them or the company can go out of business. It pays to learn how to download your digital content – and once you have it on a computer, the possibilities you can do with it suddenly expand.

This doesn’t just apply to print books, either: although comixology is subsumed within the Bezos giants, don’t despair. There are other ways to bring content from the cloud to e-paper.

For example, if you’re an Amazon shopper, hover over the “Account & Lists” button and you should see “Manage your content and devices.” (This may not work for other countries’ Amazon sites, but it does for the UK here.) For each action, you should find a link under “More Actions” to download it to your computer.

Once you have local copies of your e-books, you can load them into caliber. The most charitable thing that can be said about the app’s interface is that it’s oddly distinctive, but works and is pretty basic. The first button on the toolbar allows you to add new books, either individually, by folder, or directly from compressed archives.

Once in caliber, you can convert between formats and save them. If you connect your e-book reader via USB, caliber will recognize most models, and a new toolbar button should allow you to send them straight to the device in a format they can view. If your reader has expandable memory, you can choose where to go.

Caliber is extensible with plugins, and a popular option is DRM removal. DeDRM is one such plugin, available at GitHubhow comprehensive are instructions. There are others, such as the commercial Epubor.

We tried it with a protected Comixology title and it didn’t work for the moment – but the option to download Comixology titles from Amazon is fairly new. We suspect support will be added in time. Currently caliber can import and convert between different unprotected comic formats like CBR and CBZ.

Of course you shouldn’t share this stuff, but this functionality has perfectly legal uses. For example, it allows you to easily extract the text from e-books and makes it easier to read with a screen reader for people with visual impairments. Not everyone likes the slow speed of audiobooks. ®


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