New in calibre 0.8

Lots has changed in calibre-land in the last year. A great feature is "Get books" which allows you to search for a book by title and author and returns the list of web stores that sell it in e-book form, allowing you to easily find the lowest prices for popular books or search many different places for hard to find e-book editions.

The last year has also seen the maturing of the calibre plugin infrastructure, which has led to a vibrant community of user developed plugins that extend calibre's functionality in many novel ways. See the Index of plugins.

calibre has an all new metadata download system that allows you much more control over the process. For example, you can now choose a cover from many different online sources.

As always, calibre has gained support for dozens of new devices, conversion of a few new formats, notably, SNB and the Plucker formats. The performance of calibre has been greatly improved, especially with large libraries of tens of thousands of books.

While not directly calibre related, a new website that catalogues unrestricted access e-books for sale was started: Open books. All the books on this website are for sale, but they do not have DRM, which means you actually own them after paying for them. You can convert them to different formats, fix typos in them, view them on as many devices as you like. At calibre, we believe that DRM free is the future of digital information and Open Books is a small effort to help speed that future along.

These and many more new features are described in detail below.

  • Get books

    calibre can now search over a dozen web stores like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, etc. for e-book editions of the book you want. The results are displayed sorted by price, so you can easily find the lowest priced edition to add to your collection. This feature, like the rest of calibre is plugin based, so look forward to new stores being added in the future.

    Note that if you have customized your toolbar in calibre in the past, you may not see the Get books button in the toolbar. You can go to Preferences->Toolbars & menus and add it to the toolbar manually.

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  • Lots of new calibre plugins

    calibre has gained dozens of new, user-contributed, plugins to enhance its already extensive feature set. These range from things like finding duplicates in your calibre library to managing collections on your Kindle from within calibre.

    Many of the plugins scratch an itch that affects only a subset of calibre users, for example, a plugin to set a cover from calibre as the screensaver on your SONY reader. If you have something that you always wanted to do in calibre, chances are, someone has written a plugin for it.

    There is an easy to browse Index of plugins. Before adding plugins willy-nilly to calibre, you should read the Introduction to plugins.

    Happy plugging!

  • New metadata download system

    calibre now has a new metadata download system. This is designed to improve download performance and give you greater control over exactly what calibre downloads from where. You can tell calibre that you do not want ratings and tags from Amazon or comments from Google, for example.

    When downloading covers for a single book, calibre will now download covers from all the online sources and allow you to pick the one you like best, instead of choosing for you.

    When downloading metadata for multiple books, the download now happens in the background, allowing you to continue working while the download is happening.

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  • Interface improvements

    The main calibre user interface has had a makeover. It has multiple layouts, wide and narrow, selectable from Preferences->Look & feel. The Edit metadata dialog (one of the most frequently used dialogs in calibre) was also redesigned with multiple selectable layouts, this time from Preferences->Behavior. In the same vein the Book details panel is now fully user customizable from Preferences->Look & feel.

    The old double toolbar in calibre was replaced by a new single "unified" toolbar, to save vertical space. You can now add a second toolbar or even a menubar and customize what icons appear in each.

    Finally, the Preferences dialog, a normally neglected bit of real estate was redesigned making it easier to find just the setting you are looking for.

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  • Content server improvements

    The calibre Content server was completely redesigned with a "modern" (AJAX based, dynamic) user interface that allows for the browsing of your library by Tags/Series/Authors/etc.

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  • E-book viewer improvements

    A new "Inspect" feature which allows you to right click on anything in an e-book and see the HTML+CSS code that is responsible for rendering it. A great way for e-book creators/tweakers to understand what goes on behind the scenes in an e-book.

    A new "page turn animation" when using the page scrolling mode in the E-book viewer. For those of you that don't like it, it can be turned off in the E-book viewer preferences.

  • Conversion engine improvements

    calibre's conversion engine can now automatically convert straight quotes, hyphens, dots, etc. into their typographically snobbish equivalents. This option is called "Smarten punctuation" in the Look & feel section of the conversion settings.

    A useful new feature in the main calibre interface is "Tweak EPUB", accessed by right clicking on any book. This shows you the internals of the EPUB, allowing you to easily make small corrections, without needing to fire up a full fledged e-book editing program.

    calibre learned how to convert a couple of new formats: SNB and Plucker.

  • Library management improvements

    0.8 brings lots of goodies to make manage your ever growing e-book collection easier:

    • Metadata search and replace: You can now perform search and replace operations on the book list in your calibre library via the Bulk metadata edit dialog.
    • Metadata plugboards: Have calibre automatically transform the metadata of files when sending to device. For example, you can ask calibre to append the series to the title, in case your device does not support series metadata. See Preferences->Metadata plugboards
    • A powerful new template language: You can use this to construct complex file names from book metadata when exporting books from the calibre library, or in the metadata plugboards above, or to create "virtual columns" that display combined or transformed metadata in the book list.
    • Virtual columns: These are custom columns you can add to calibre that display metadata from other fields. For example an ISBN column or a column to show the formats the book has.

This is an appropriate time to throw 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 0.7.x series. This document describes new features as compared to 0.7.0

See what was new in previous major calibre releases: 0.7.

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