Calibre pain (plus more chars to make it FIFTEEN!)

Discourse tells me my topic is similar to :

Before I’ve even typed ANYTHING! My topic is NOTHING like the topic suggestion :neutral_face:

Anyway - I can’t really complain, I didn’t pay for it - but - Calibre does this so often to me that it has become a SUPER MAJOR problem!

Happily sits there, month after month, seemingly, then one day, I double click a title in my library and it comes up with some bullshit about : “blah blah blah [book title or whatever] has no available formats”, and when I look in the folder for that in my Calibre library folder - it’s F–KING empty!


Now if this happened every so often, I wouldn’t mind, but it happens ALL the F–KING time these days - nearly EVERY time I use the piece of crap…

Thinking / hoping there’s some other solution… a fix for this - OR - some other product I can use!

Now - I strongly suspect this may be related to having my calibre library stored in a Resilio Sync shared folder (that I only share with myself!)… If you think this is bad, last time I was paying for a Dropbox subscription and followed their (Calibre’s) suggestion to use Dropbox? IT CORRUPTED my WHOLE COLLECTION!

If Calibre wasn’t so flimsy and unreliable, I’d probably kick some money their way, but it’s a flaky piece of crap!

Might end up just going back to simple flat file / directory tree and use Nautilus / Files or whatever, to upload / sideload documents to my Kobo…

Even when I buy something from Kobo (and I do often) if I can’t remove the DRM, I see if I can find a DRM free copy - and - READ THAT ON MY KOBO! Because the experience is better. Kobo specific DRM EPUB files look like garbage, they overwrite the default font size - which I set to LARGE 'cause I have shit eyesight… Kobo decides, no you didn’t want that font that big? We’re going to shrink it all so you need a magnifying glass! Then when you boost up the font (specific to that file) - Kobo thinks “Hey - you bumped up the font, we’re going to bump up the page count from 500 pages to 2000 pages! and repaginate the whole document…” Seriously F–K YOU Rakuten / Kobo!

I will buy DRM books, 'cause it’s the best way to support my favourite writers that I know of (paperback fonts are way too small for me these days) - but I will continue to read the alternative sourced DRM free copies that DON’T SCREW with the systemwide font size I set, or the the stupid repaginating SHITE!


There must be other options less troublesome that Calibre.
I only read real paper books… I reckon the carbon footprint is less than ebooks. Some publishers use much better fonts and font size. It really makes a difference.
Most scientific articles are pdf files. That gives you lots of better options for viewing.
How do ebook people justify all these special file types ? Can you convert them to pdf?

PDFs are generally overly large (recently had a battle with PDF filesizes, ended up breaking out the CLI and using imagemagick [surely one of the best things ever made for the CLI] and some CLI PDF tools - was generating 40 MB PDF files - WAAAY too big to email - but fixed it with some CLI).

Paperwhite e-paper devices are not the best for reading “magazine” format stuff (like PDFs)… it can be frustrating, e.g. with maps - no proper way to zoom in or out on my Kobo.

I kinda hate PDF as a format anyway…

I think EPUB is a better format - it’s just a zipped up bunch of HTML files (which means I can unzip them, and break out any images, e.g. like maps - and view them zoomed in on a computer screen, or if it’s a vast trilogy or quintology etc, print the map out!). One time I even used vi to edit some content in an EPUB file as I wasn’t happy with the publisher’s formatting…

But - some vendors / publishers jump into bed with the EVIL DRM folks and try to stop you doing what you want, with the data you paid a license for… I have no moral qualms about finding less that 100% legit copies of the same thing, with no DRM, or the DRM already stripped out of it, as the thing I bought.

DRM is a pox!

There’s nothing really out there to compare to Calibre - if you’re a Linux user.

If I was SOLELY a Mac, or Windows user, I could use one of the publisher’s “apps”, e.g. Rakuten Kobo, or Amazon Kindle e-Reader app… But they’re ugly… and not cross compatible with one another (surprise surprise!) - and of course, only do, or care about, DRM content.

I also suspect some of these “corruption” issues might be from running Calibre on multiple machines, using the same DB? But it mostly worked just fine like that ~2018-2020 - only really started seeing these symptoms in the last ~12 months…

I “recently” (as in last ~12 months or so) bought a partially “crowdfunded” new e-ink device - MobiScribe - Android 8 powered… But I CANNOT use it - despite several updates, several complaints to the vendor, the interface is just too miniscule for me to read and use - I NEED a magnifying glass to use the piece of crap… If I’d bought it at a brix’n’mortar store, I’d have taken it back…

I am thinking / considering about getting a 2nd hand iPad mini or something… I kinda preferred my old “workflow” for reading e-books… I’d use my ancient 3rd gen iPad (iPad 3) and Google Play store (iOS app) to manage my books (or even buy books) - I could “sideload” books using any web browser (e.g. Chrome) on any device (Linux, Windows, Mac) - and they’d appear like magic, on my iPad! Very occasionally I’d hit a snag where there was a problem with the format of an ebook, and it wouldn’t show up… The beauty of this was that I could also read that same content on some other device (my phone? a computer) and Google Play Books would keep my placemark in the document! This can be done using the Kobo App on Mac or Windows, but obviously, not Linux.

I guess I could also consider a similar sized Android tablet? But seriously, I’ve had a few Android (Samsung) tablets, and they’re SHIT quality compared to stuff from Cupertino, say what you like about Apple blah blah blah, but their hardware is usually several notches above their nearest competitor…*

I do have an iPad Pro 12.9" - but that’s too huge and unwieldy to read novels on…

And before anyone asks, no, I won’t do the audio books thing… I’d be too easily distracted… I NEED WORDS in front of me in writing…

* I’ve still got that iPad 3rd gen, it still powers up and charges, but it’s a PITA, it uses that ugly gigantic proprietary charger / data connector (infamous 30 pin dock connector) - and - it’s got a crack or two in the glass / chassis / frame (from when I dropped it about 3 feet, at an airport - did something similar with a Galaxy tablet it and it SHATTERED).

thinking about a 2nd hand 5th gen iPad Mini - I can use my Pencil with it… still got Apple lightning shit all around (i.e. iPad Pro 12.9" 2nd gen, Apple Pencil 1st Gen)…


I use a 10 in android tablet. Never experienced an ipad
I think abandon Linux and use some type of tablet for ebooks
Then you can read in bed!

And thanks for writing that out. I have not explored ebook formats or calibre. Looks like there is an opportunity there for someone to setup Linux properly for the ebook world.

Have you considered writing an ebook? What would you use?

I don’t use Linux to read them… *

I use my Kobo e-ink device… And - I do read in bed… Just spent most of a very cold Saturday arvo, in bed, tail end of Covid, reading a Stephen King e-book (book three of the The Dark Tower series).

But I do use Linux to manage my collection and “side load” DRM free e-books onto it…

But the device is getting long in the tooth…

And I kinda miss my old workflow :

either buy a book (from nearly anyone) - or - find a DRM free copy to download (or both!)

  1. load it into Google Play Books using a web browser
  2. read it on a handheld tablet form factor device - anywhere - but mostly, “in bed”…

To me 6.8" seems to be the sweet point - 6" is too small I reckon… 7" would be good, and I could manage with 8" - but any bigger and it could be come cumbersome, like it was when I used my 10" iPad 3…

* technically - I do - the Kobo e-readers run Linux, and not just Android, but their own spin on Linux…

Mine’s the Kobo Aura 2 H2O edition means it can get wet without fritzing the internals) :

I think this one being reviewed is the model before mine? Mine doesn’t have upgradeable storage, has FIXED 8 GB - which might not sound like much - but - you can fit Tolstoy’s War and Peace into under 100K in an epub file (tell a lie - just checked, it’s 1.5 mb!).

or - I might just stick with it ?

Damn - I do miss the Google Play Books workflow however…

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I read on 10 in tablet … thats just what we happen to have. Phone is too small. Lots of scientific articles are pdf and poor quality, so I use on screen magnify a lot. My eyes are poor too.
I really prefer printed books. Yes I know, the house is full of them. Cant break old habits.

I have three 7 foot tall bookshelves, in many cases doubled up (i.e. two rows of books on each shelf) FULL of paperbacks, fiction and non-fiction, and large format books on history and natural history - I just can’t read them any more. I also have the full set of Encyclopedia Brittanica my grandfather gave “us” when we were kids, it’s relevant up to the 1960’s or so. When I was a teenager, and early adult, I’d sometimes spend a whole night poring over one volume, or another…

I’ve also got stacks and stacks of National Geographic magazines dating back to the 1960’s, a few earlier…

Bizarrely - my “kids” (they’re adults) prefer hard copy books, to e-books… Me? I feel no nostalgia about paper - for me it always was about the “content”, not the media it’s delivered on or in.

Having said that - my daughters have realised the SHEER extortionism of adademic publishers, who charge up to 10x the price of a regular book (200 pages from a bookshop : $25; 200 pages from acedemia : $95) , and barely pay a cent to the actual authors, so now they’ve found a “royalty free” source for non-DRM academic text books - that’s the single biggest expense (other than living) for students, and it’s criminal… I’ve heard many of the actual authors support “free access” to their material… if I had my way - I’d launch a royal commission into the price of text books, and ensure a few shills and ripoffartists spent a few years in gaol… I can still remember what a bunch of arsehats school curriculum “setters” were when I was at school, I was the eldest of five, my mum had to scrimpt and scrape to feed and clothe us all, in my first year of highschool, they demanded about $50 (that was MORE than a week’s pay in 1975) worth of books, then about halfway into the year, they changed their mind, and ended up having to spend another $20 on other books to replace some of the ones we’d bought… SCUMBAGS! Criminal! No offer to “buy back” the wasted/unused books…

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When I went to Uni, there was a blackmarket in used textbooks. The year 2 students lined up outside the Uni Bookshop to sell their last years textbooks to year 1 students at a fraction of the new price.