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

CalibreUp until now, we’ve covered mostly basic stuff. This post discusses a more “advanced” and seriously cool feature: Using Calibre’s Content Server to manage your library wirelessly, no cords needed!

Begin by firing up the content server:

Then fire up a browser on a tablet, smartphone or even on an E Ink reader that supports Web browsing. Enter your computer’s IP address in the URL box, using this format, where “x” is your IP address. (Don’t know your IP address? No problem. Calibre will tell you what it is.)

Please don’t take offense at me blacking out my own IP address. No reason to make hackers’ lives that much easier!

Here’s what you’ll see in your browser:

Your Calibre library, right there, including all tags and formats available for each book! You can tap the format you’d like, and download right from here.

Easy as that. Open the book in the e-reading app of your chosing, and you’re ready to go.

Notice that you can see all your tags? And the box at the top of the screen? Yes, you can filter by tags, author or title to find exactly the books you’d like. Let’s see what I have in “Fantasy”…

Very cool. And better than USB cords, right? Remember, this works on your Wi-Fi-equipped E Ink reader as well. It’s not very fast (OK, it’s actually deadly slow), but here’s what it looks like on my Kindle:

You can select a compatible format and download, just like on a tablet. Note that it does seem to take longer to download than when I get a book from Amazon, but it does work.

What I’ve been showing you supposes that your device and library are on the same wireless network. Can you access your library from a remote location? Apparently, yes, but you’ll have to set up port forwarding on your router. That’s beyond my technical capabilities. If any reader knows how and would like to share, feel free to add it in the comments.

Astute readers no doubt noticed another option under ‘Connect/Share’: “Start wireless device connection.” Using that feature requires the Calibre Companion app, available on Google Play or Amazon. I haven’t used the app yet, but I plan to buy it and test it out. Look for an app review article about it in the coming weeks.


  1. Juli:
    I use Calibre Companion all the time on my Nexus 7 since that device uses new Microsoft technology to connect via cable to your computer and Macs don’t support this technology. So I can’t connect the Nexus 7 to Calibre via a cable. Instead I connect using “Start wireless connect” in Calibre and the Calibre Companion Android app on my Nexus 7. The result is that Calibre behaves just like you described in your previous post on connecting devices using a cable. Calibre even has a column on the left (labeled “On device”) that shows check marks for the books that are already on the device .

    On the device Calibre Companion shows the books already on the device. If you want to add a book to the device from Calibre, then click (in Calibre) on “Send to device” just as you described when there is a cable connection.

    You can add or remove books on the device right from Calibre, just as if the device was physically connected. If you tap on a book in the device’s Calibre Companion app, you can view the complete set of metadata. On an Android device, the downloaded books are put in a folder called “Calibre” where an eReading App can access them.


  2. Juli: Yes I’ve used the content server as well as the Calibre Companion. Both work well and both have advantages and disadvantages. The content server lets you see the whole Calibre database on your device, which is nice although if you have a lot of books in can be slow and you can have to keep hitting the “Next” button to advance to the next group of books. Using this approach you are using the device to choose the books to download.

    With Calibre Companion, you are instead using Calibre on your computer to download the books onto your device. So you get all the power of searching and sorting in Calibre to show you just the books that meet your search criteria. For example, if you wanted to load all the books by Dickens (or Victorian Melodramas in ePub format assuming you had a tag for Victorian Melodrama) into your Nexus 7, it would be much easier to use the Calibre Companion approach. You could tell Calibre to search for books by Dickens, then select all those books, then hit the send to device button and all the books would show up on your Nexus 7.

    The bottom line is that both are approaches are effective if you’re just browsing your Calibre database looking for a book to download to your device. If you wish to use the search power of Calibre to locate books that meet specific criteria to download, then Calibre Companion is a lot faster and easier.

  3. I should have added that using Calibre Companion doesn’t buy you anything if you are running Calibre on a new Windows PC and you can connect the Nexus 7 to Calibre using a cable. In that case Calibre behaves the same whether you connect the device to it by a cable or wirelessly using Calibre Companion. But if you are running Calibre Companion on a Mac or an older PC that can’t connect to Calibre via a cable, then the Calibre companion approach is very useful.

  4. There’s another advantage to using Calibre Companion. I use the Send to device feature to adjust some metadata in the book I’m sending, like tags, series, description… If you just download the book from the content server, the metadata isn’t adjusted. I use Mantano Reader, and I like its hability to read this data from my epub files, my library is automatically organised by tag or series, and I can read the description of a book I read some time ago and remember what it was about.

  5. No need to black out the IP address on the second piccie. All IP addresses are only used to identify devices within your local [home or office] network so that [for example] your laptop, smartphone and printer can talk to each other. Your external IP address [the one hackers could theoretically reach you on] is completely different. It’s like the difference between an outside phone line and an extension number.

    Makes sense if you think about it. The Calibre content server is only making your ebooks available to the gadgets within your home [or office] which are connected to your router —not to everyone out there on the intarwebs, who might happen to see that IP number.

  6. Just a note to say thanks to Juli Monroe . Been looking for a simple ABC instruction and you have provided that. The Calibre help files look way too complicated so thanks for putting this article (pics too :o) ) up

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