I do not own an eReader. I’d like one but ideally it’d need to be waterproof. It’d be handy if it could show colour too but perhaps that’s me wanting, as Ross would put it, the moon on a stick.

Anyway as I’m planning on moving from Edinburgh I’ve been working on acquiring eBooks to replace the many books I’ve accumulated. Storing books is a pain and most of them I’ll never read again.

Hard disk space on the other hand is pretty cheap and I’ll be moving that whatever happens. Fantastic!

It was recently Jenny’s birthday and she is facing a similar storage issue. She also wanted an eReader. I couldn’t afford to get her one but thankfully a mutual friend was just upgrading. As such she let me go halvsies on her old one. Result: one happy Jenny.

I wanted to share some books I have with her though and I discovered that the ePub format is unintelligible to her Kindle. Righto, not a problem, let’s convert it. After playing around with a simple converter I was less than satisfied. I’d heard good things about Calibre but until now it had remained uninvestigated.

After playing with it for a few hours I can say it’s both excellent and awful. Interface by engineers springs to mind, shall we say?

I’ve catalogued some 160+ books so far with many more still to go but it does make managing my collection significantly easier. Also it has a portable version. I hate installing programs if I don’t have to, at least under windows.

Negatives as I see it:

  • Very poorly designed library interface
  • No real way of grouping books into collections (that I’ve found)
  • Far too few keyboard shortcuts

Positives:

  • Exhaustive options
  • Excellent format management
  • Integrated sharing options (such as via email)
  • Pretty good use of large screen resolutions

The positives are possible because at its core it’s an excellent program. If their interface gets a good overhaul then I think there’ll be basically nothing to complain about. In the meantime, ugh, it’ll have to do.

I do find myself unsure how to feel about downloading the Discworld books though. I own at least one copy of all of them but they’re stored at my parents’ house down in Wales. I want to keep that particular collection but moving with them is far too much hassle.

Also when will there be a good comic book reader available?

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