New in calibre 0.7

It has been nearly a year since calibre 0.6.0 was released and calibre has come a long way since then. calibre has always been amazingly flexible. 0.6 was all about bringing that flexibility to the conversion engine and device support. Today calibre supports conversion from/to dozens of formats and can connect to scores of devices. The focus of 0.7 is bringing that same flexibility to the calibre User Interface.

To that end, users now have the ability to freely resize all the major User Interface elements, add their own custom metadata to the book list, and add their own categories to the Tag Browser.

Another major area of improvement is performance. Various parts of calibre have seen optimization and caching improvements. Startup times and large library performance have been dramatically improved. With a library of ten thousand books, you will see an improvement of between 10 and a 100 times in the speed of startup and common operations like editing metadata.

When connecting to devices, calibre now caches the metadata it reads from the files on the device. This means that on subsequent connects calibre will build the list of books on the device very fast. If you like to keep large collections of books on your device, you will find this feature a godsend.

Some of these improvements are described in more detail below.

  • User Interface improvements

    The best way to see the user interface improvement is watch the video linked to above. For those of you that cannot, here's a short description.

    You can now add your own columns to the book list, via Preferences->Interface (the plus button). You can add your own ratings, yes/no, tags, date, etc. columns and have them appear in the booklist. The contents of these columns can be edited just like a builtin column, by either double clicking on individual entries or using the Edit meta information button.

    You can freely resize the Tag Browser and Book Details pane and easily show/hide columns by right clicking on their headers. You can also re-arrange columns by dragging their headers.

    You can show/hide categories in the Tag Browser by right clicking on them and add your own categories for quick access, by clicking the Manage user categories button. You can also edit entries in the Tag Browser by right clicking on them. This will change their value for all book. For example, if you change the name of an author, this change will appear in the metadata of all the books by that author.

    You can Save you frequently used searches and bring them up with a single click in the Tag Browser. You can also use the saved searches to restrict what is shown in calibre. This will restrict the book list as well as the Tag Browser. In effect, you have temporarily reduced you calibre collection to only the books matching the search

    .

    You can now merge book records and have calibre automatically merge the metadata and formats into a single entry for you. Accessed via the arrow next to the edit meta information button.

    You can now use regular expression when searching and also relational operators like date:>yesterday.

    calibre can now optionally download tags/reviews/rating from amazon.com

  • Device driver improvements

    calibre now shows a "On Device" column in the main Library view when you connect a supported device. This column can be used to see at a glance what books in your library are also on the device. There is a complementary "In Library" column in the device views that shows what books on the device are in your library. Since you can sort and search on these columns, it becomes very easy to quickly see what books are on the device. For example, the search "not ondevice:main and not ondevice:card" will show you all the books in your library that are not on the device. This feature works best with books you send to the device from calibre 0.7 onwards.

    calibre caches the metadata of all books on the device. This means that when you re-connect the device creating the list of books on the device will be very fast. Especially if you have a number of large ODF files on your device, this will make a huge difference in the time that calibre takes to connect to the device and display the list of books.

    Users can now specify the folder structure and file name of files placed on the device when using the Send to Device action. This is useful for those devices that allow browsing of the on device folder structure. Customization is available via Preferences->Add/Save->Sending to device and can also be overridden on a per device basis from Preferences->Plugins->Device Interface plugins.

  • Performance improvements

    If you have a large library with thousand of books or more, you will notice significant performance gains in starting up calibre and doing common editing tasks like changing metadata, compared to 0.6.0. In addition, thanks to the device caching described above, connecting to devices should become much faster if you have large collections on your device.

    The download of news has been speeded up as well (as of 0.6.27) by making it truly multi-threaded.

  • Improvements in the conversion and metadata engines

    The conversion engine now supports unicode characters in RTF Input documents and auto-converts ligatures for PDF input documents.

    calibre can now set metadata in DRMed Topaz and MOBI files.

    When generating EPUB files, calibre now creates SVG based covers, that automatically stretch to fill up the available screen real estate on the device used to read them.

    calibre can now convert CHM files.

  • Creation of catalogs

    You can now easily generate a catalog of all books in your calibre library by clicking the arrow next to the convert button. The catalog can be in one of several formats: XML, CSV, EPUB and MOBI, with scope for future formats via plugins. If you generate the catalog in an e-book format, it will be automatically sent to your e-book reader the next time you connect it, allowing you to easily browse your collection on the reader itself.

  • E-book viewer improvements

    The e-book viewer now has builtin dictionary lookup. Just select a aword and right click to look it up using the dictionary servers at dict.org

    The viewer now supports SVG embedded in XHTML when viewing EPUB files.

  • USB syncing with the iPad

    calibre now has an experimental driver for the iPad. If you connect the iPad to your computer with calibre running, it should be detected and you can send books directly to iBooks on the iPad with calibre. The driver works by using iTunes in the background, so you also need to have iTunes installed and your iPad setup in it. This works on Windows and OS X 10.5 and higher. And of course, you can browse you calibre collection wirelessly on the iPad with the calibre content server. For details see the FAQ.

  • Incompatible changes

    0.7 drops support for the un-upgraded SONY PRS 500. In addition all the SONY drivers have been combined into a single driver, so if you previously customized a SONY driver, you will have to redo the customization. Also note that, calibre turns tags into collections, so it will create new collections for existing books on your reader, if they have tags but don't already have collections on the device. You can turn off this behavior by going to Preferences->Plugins->Device Interface plugins and customizing the SONY plugin.

    The database schema of the calibre library has changed to support custom columns. While effort has been spent to try to ensure backwards-compatibility, you may have problems going back to an 0.6.x release after upgrading to 0.7, so avoid this, if possible.

This is an appropriate time to trow out a big thank you to all the calibre developers who have contributed most of the major new features listed above. An incomplete list of contributors is available here.

Note that many of these features were actually introduced during the lifetime of the 0.6.x series. This document describes new features as compared to 0.6.0