valiha: watercolor painting of my cat Lola (Default)
valiha ([personal profile] valiha) wrote in [community profile] ebooks2011-07-03 12:17 pm
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Need advice - Calibre for converting and managing fanfiction

I need some advice on how to use Calibre to convert and manage my vast fanfiction library. I have tried using this program in the past, installing and uninstalling several times. I cannot stand the fact that it creates a copy of every file I add to it. I understand the reasons for it now though I didn't in the past, but just knowing that it leaves a mess of folders and subfolders and files on my computer drives me batty. It says it is "designed around the concept of the logical book, i.e., a single entry in your library that may correspond to actual e-book files in several formats", but I only keep multiple formats for fanfic, so that seems reduntant to me. I have tried to find answers on the Calibre forum over at MobileRead, but most of the conversations are too technical for me. I hope some of you can at least give me some starting points.

So, I've been saving fanfiction for years, in various fandoms, because when I first started reading it, I didn't have internet at home, and net cafes charged ridiculous amounts for sitting there reading. I would bring a bunch of floppies and save favorites as txt files because they would take up the least amount of space and I could cram a lot of them on a single floppy. Those fics are still on my computer, in folders according to fandom and author. I don't bother with genres, because of the popularity of AUs in my main fandom. An author may write stories set in an Old West setting, WWII, present time, SF AU etc.; they all get saved in that author's folder. I number the series, and leave stand-alones with just the titles. I also don't bother with pairings because I'm mostly a gen reader.

I now save most of my favorites as htmls or download as epubs from AO3 to "My Fandoms > Fandom > Author" folders on my computer, and copy to my e-reader. I've been thinking about converting the old fics to htmls too, but it would be a time consuming process to do it one by one (I'm talking thousands of files, which often wrap after 65 characters). I know Calibre can do a batch convert of files from one format to another, but like I said I have issues with the way it behaves. I am wondering if I can set it up so that I convert the files I need, add tags and covers, move them to the location of my choice and then have Calibre delete the files and folders in its library created in the process.

Or if this is not possible with Calibre, could you recommend an alternative program that could do a batch convert from txt to clean, bare bones html/epub, and allow me to add tags to the resulting files? I'd really appreciate any help you can give me.
kaiz: (dark sky)

[personal profile] kaiz 2011-07-03 05:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I'd get an author folder and 40 subfolders, correct?

Yes, that's correct. *g*

Would I then be able to remove/delete those books/folders from Calibre's GUI because I wouldn't need them any more?

I don't think that you can delete the book listings from the user interface without also deleting them from Calibre's folder/subfolder hierarchy. From what I can tell, Calibre reads the contents of its directory structure to build the book listings in the user interface.

However, you can easily delete bunches of books from the library, and Calibre gives you a bunch of options for doing so, including:

Remove selected books
Remove files of a specific format
Remove all formats from selected books except…
Remove all formats from selected books
Remove covers from all selected books
Remove books from selected device

So you can select the books you want to delete by clicking on them in the user interface, convert them in a big batch, then export the converted files to your chosen directory, then choose one of those deletion options to get rid of the book files.

Edited (fixed wonky formatting) 2011-07-03 17:45 (UTC)
kaiz: (Default)

[personal profile] kaiz 2011-07-03 06:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Okay, just tried this out. Using the Remove selected books option will also delete the directory from your computer. So win! :-)
kaiz: (parallax)

[personal profile] kaiz 2011-07-03 06:36 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm pretty sure that I used the basic install options, so I think you'll be fine. Good luck on the experiments. I'll be around off and on all day so if you run into something weird, I can test things out on my library, too, and eventually I think we can figure it out so you get some useful results! :-)
kaiz: (Default)

[personal profile] kaiz 2011-07-03 08:21 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm pretty sure Calibre guesses at the title of the book based upon the name of the file. So if you've got file named "Fic1001020.txt" you're going to end up with a title of either "Fic1001020", or for PDF files or cases where I have a filename with odd characters I noticed that I sometimes get a title that is the first sentence in the document.

the interface was a strange mix of one of our local languages and English

You might want to send them a bug report on that. I didn't experience that problem with the Mac version 0.8.8; if you're using the Windows version, perhaps it's a bug that is Windows only.
kaiz: (Default)

[personal profile] kaiz 2011-07-03 08:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Hard breaks are a bitch. I haven't found any easy way to fix those without editing the file. I use Emacs macros to fix those manually.
kaiz: (Default)

[personal profile] kaiz 2011-07-03 09:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, thanks! Definitely looks very useful!