This post is part of TeleRead's "Using Calibre for E-Book Management" Guide: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2Ch. 3 | Ch. 4Ch. 5 | Ch. 6Ch. 7 | Ch. 8Ch. 9 | Ch. 10

If you’re just joining us, so far we’ve covered installing Calibre and setting metadata for library management. Today, we’re going to cover a few ways to load books into Calibre.

Let’s not ignore the obvious, however. If you own a tablet or smartphone and followed my advice of storing your Calibre library in Dropbox, you can just download the Dropbox app on your device, select the book you want, download it, and open it in the e-reader of your choice. It’s not strictly Calibre-specific, but it’s easy and works well.

But maybe you don’t have a tablet, or you also have an E Ink reader. Let’s get your books in those devices. (And by the way, Joanna Cabot is planning on writing an article about setting up your shelves for Kobo. I’m looking forward to that, since I’ve never used a Kobo.)

One way to load your books onto your device is via USB cable: Open Calibre. Plug in your device and wait a moment. Two new options will appear on your Toolbar: ‘Library’ and ‘Device.’

Note that Calibre is pretty smart. It also detects which books are already on your device, and adds a new column to show that. Mystic River and a few others are already on my Kindle.

You can also switch to view what is on the device, and your screen will look like this:

You’ll note that there are many books on my Kindle that aren’t in Calibre. I could add them to Calibre from here if I wanted, but they are all samples, and I don’t need them in Calibre. So I’ll leave everything the way it is for now.

I’m really here to add books to my Kindle, so let’s select some books:

I’m in a witchy mood (no fair substituting a “b” for the “w” now ;)), so I’ll select some appropriate books. These books are actually in EPUB format. No worries; Calibre is smart enough to figure that out, and ask if I want to auto convert them. I say “yes,” and let it do its thing.

Let’s go back to the ‘Device’ screen, and see if they’re there:

Yes, there they are. Ready to read on my Kindle.

This example used a Kindle, but the same procedure will work for any E Ink reader. If you own a Kindle, you have another easy way to load books to your device, without needing to plug it in. Remember back in the first article, when you specified the email address of your Kindle? Calibre can use that to send books.

Again, if the book is not in .mobi format, Calibre will ask if you want to convert it before sending.

You probably noticed some other options under ‘Connect/Share;’ I’ll be covering those in a future post. Calibre gives you lots of options to load books onto your devices.

That’s it for now. Go load some books!


  1. I was looking forward to the series, hoping that for once and for all, someone would explain why one would need calibre. I don’t understand why it’s a big deal (to warrant multi postings). I have a kindle, it manages my books just fine so why would I want or need to go through the hassle of learning and using this program?

  2. Xendula, I’ll give it a shot, but Dan’s going to have to test it for me. I only have a Kindle Touch, and the collections plug-in doesn’t work on it. But I’ll do some research and see if I can write something Dan can test for me. He has a K4, and I believe the plug-in works for his device.

    @Anon, Calibre isn’t for everyone. If you’re managing your books just fine on your Kindle then you may not need it. However, lots of people own multiple devices or buy from multiple e-book stores. Managing your collection under those circumstances can get more difficult. Hence, Calibre is a great solution. If I only had a Kindle, only bought from Amazon and only used the Kindle app, I probably wouldn’t need it. However, that situation doesn’t apply to me or to many other readers.

    One of the commentors on the KindleBoards thread I set up for this series finds that the Manage Your Kindle page is all the organizations she needs. Some of us apparently have a need to make things more complicated. 😉

  3. Dropbox is great for this.
    Actually, you don’t even have to download every single book you want to read to your device. If you’re on android, you can use DropSync (alternatives should be available for other mobile platforms) to sync the whole library directly to the device. A free version allows you to sync one folder for free. Just set it sync on demand (as opposed to on schedule) to save battery power. You could also set your device up to invoke syncing when you charge it.
    If your library is too big to waste your device’s memory andor dropbox space on it, you could export the books you’re going to read to a separate dropbox folder and set it up to sync to your device.

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