Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. library addict
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 05:03:58

    I love Calibre, too. I downloaded it a few months after you first posted about it when my library was fairly small.

    I am a bit anal about my metadata, so probably will not use the plugins you mentioned. I like to ensure the title, author, and tags appear the way I want them to. It was a bit of a pain to manually edit at the beginning, but now I’m so happy I did. It’s routine now to fix things the way I like when I add new books.

    I tag all of my books by type (contemporary, historical, futuristic, time travel) and then have a few other tags I use, such as paranormal, novella, anthology, and series type (Silhouette Intimate Moments, Harlequin Intrigue, etc). Calibre automatically creates collections on my Sony using the tags so I don’t really want things like fiction, novel, secret baby, etc.

    Thanks so much for introducing this wonderful program to me and the continuing posts about it. I always learn something new. I am going to download the Fantastic Fiction plugin so I don’t have to manually grab covers from them. I hope it will include covers from their site when I click “download cover” if I have this plugin.

    ETA: Yay, it works. I guess I need to browse through more of these plugins. I now wonder what else I am missing…

  2. Lindsay
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 05:13:03

    Thank you so much for this, Jane. I’ve been using Calibre for a few years and have just started trying to bring order to my horribly cluttered library. I wasn’t happy with the results the standard metadata search was returning but I couldn’t face editing the metadata manually, so these plugins will be a huge help.

  3. HJ
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 07:24:36

    Thank you! I downloaded Calibre yesterday, so this article is very timely. I can set up Calibre the way I want it before using it.

  4. statch
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 07:39:55

    I love Calibre too. I use an ‘unread’ tag to keep track of my to-be-read list. (I tried using a custom column for that but went back to the tag, and now I can’t remember why.)

    I recently got a tablet. Since Calibre relies on volunteers for its upkeep and doesn’t have an app, I was having to still use my laptop for that, but I just got a remote desktop app, which allows me to operate Calibre on the laptop from the tablet. Very cool. (I’m using Splashtop because it was free on Amazon recently but there are others.)

  5. Jorrie Spencer
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 07:53:47

    Thanks for pointing out the Count Pages plugin. I love it!

  6. Mikaela
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 08:00:48

    I love Calibre. I only use a fraction of the plugins, but I am happy with the ones I have. I haven’t used Metadata plugins to get covers, but I might give it a try.
    For me the essential plugins are Reading List, and certain third party plugins ;).

  7. lisa
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 09:07:32


  8. Jane A
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 09:46:49

    Calibre is my favorite software, ever. I like to use my own metadata, but some of the other plug-ins you mention sound great. If one can go to the effort to track them down, figure them out and install them, the DRM stripping plug-ins are the bomb, too.

    As a side note, I am enjoying your “what could possibly happen next?”

  9. cecilia
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 09:52:16

    Here’s a possibly dumb question: I just started using Calibre last fall. I don’t use it as my main ebook software, but I like it for certain things. So, when I enter metadata, I just leave a book with whatever number of stars the metadata download gives it. If I export information to my Goodreads account, it’s not going to change ratings I put on books in Goodreads, is it?

  10. becca
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 10:22:28

    I’ve added the Count Pages plugin, and created a custom column called Pages – now, how do I get it to populate?

  11. Keishon
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 10:40:32

    The Reading List – do I have to create a custom column for this to work? Everything else has been straight forward so I don’t understand what it is I am doing wrong. Do you have any screensnaps to share what this looks like? I am at a loss here.

  12. Jane
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 10:55:20

    @Keishon: Yep, here is what mine looks like. Essentially reading list works like a filtering tag. You select the books that you want in your list and then you can view your different lists and it reduces the number of entries in your viewing page.


  13. Jane
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 11:01:46

    @becca: I think the custom column is an integer but once you have it created, simply highlight the book that you want to count pages or words and then press the “Count Pages” plugin button.

    Screenshot of Count Pages button

    Screenshot of custom column creation

  14. Jane
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 11:05:48

    I bet some of you are having problems not seeing the plugin buttons on your toolbar. If that is the case, press CMD/CTRL + P for preferences and then at the top row of icons, look for the Toolbar icon.

    Then select Main Menu. Go through and take out the icons that you don’t use. Like I don’t use news and a couple of others and then add your plugin buttons:

    Screenshot of customize toolbar button

    Screenshot of selecting the right toolbar

    Screenshot of modify toolbar options

  15. Jane
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 11:06:59

    @Jane A I was over at the Booksmugglers and their text is “tell me more, tell me more” and I thought my “click to read the rest of the post” was so boring. I had to change it!

  16. Jane
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 11:08:16

    @cecilia You can uncheck the star rating to be downloaded in the calibre metadata configuration section. As for exporting the information to goodreads, it depends on whether you map that field to a goodreads field.

  17. Angela
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 11:37:39

    Jane, how do your books sort when you get them into your Kindle? I have mine set up for view author and author sort the same way you do, but I’ve noticed that in my Kindle occasionally the author will show up under the first name instead of the last…I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong.

    I love these posts. Calibre has been awesome for me for the couple years I’ve had it, but I always learn something new here.

  18. Keishon
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 11:44:15

    Does the Count Pages plug-in just puts in the value of the total word count? There are no options to change it to total page count? I can view the log and see what the page count is but it would be nice if it could record that value instead of the total word count. That is all.

  19. Sophia (FV)
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 12:24:45

    Thanks for this post. I use Calibre almost every day but I’m positive I’m not using it to it’s fullest potential. I have a few of the plugins you listed but I’m going to install count pages and reading list.

    BTW I am constantly linking people to your Calibre posts. Thank you for the great resource!

    ETA: OMG, I LOVE the Quality Check plugin. <3

  20. Jane
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 12:40:02

    @Keishon The Count Pages counts both words and pages. You have to have a custom column for each. Here are my settings. Screenshot

    You access the settings of a plugin by going to preferences (CMD/CTRL+P), then scroll to the bottom for plugins. In the plugins page, type “Count Pages” to search for the plugin. Highlight it and then select “customize plugin”.

  21. Jane
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 12:42:51

    @Angela Not well. I am using the Kindle Fire and there is no organization. You can use this plugin in coordination with Kindle Collections. I’ll look into that but frankly I haven’t been using KC because I don’t have it on my Kindle Fire. (The Kindle Fire limitations are really irritating)

  22. CK
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 14:41:52

    Great post, Jane. Thanx!

  23. MarieC
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 15:21:15

    Hi Jane,

    Thanks for this tips. I’ve been using Calibre for a couple of years now and I love all the updates you give. While my library isn’t in perfect order, it is getting…slowly.

  24. Brian
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 22:38:28

    @Jane: It really is lacking. They’ve got an Android device so you’d think they’d be spending some dev time making that app better, but the iOS app seems to get way more attention (such as the recent addition of personal doc support).

    I really wish they’d get some consistency in features across all apps/devices.

  25. Carin
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 07:33:56

    Thank you so much for this post! I got Calibre set up with Dropbox just a few weeks ago and I’m still giddy every time I put a box on my iPad! It’s so much simpler! I’m ready for the plugins now. That may be my adventure this week.

  26. Chicklet
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 09:24:29

    Another fun plugin is Fan Fiction Downloader.

    There’s also another fanfiction archive, An Archive of Our Own — — that has one-button downloading on each story, in several formats, including Kindle, epub, PDF, and HTML. No need for a Calibre plugin; just open any story, click the “Download” button in the upper right, and choose your format. Have the file download to your desktop and move it into Calibre, or download directly into Calibre.

  27. Liz
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 09:58:47

    Is there a free calibre app for the kindle fire? I have only found a paid one. Since I have my library in dropbox I have been hesitant to waste the money.

  28. Jane
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 10:15:17

    @Liz There is no free calibre app for the Kindle Fire. I’m not even sure what the paid app does??

  29. Estara
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 16:51:19

    @Chicklet: Seconding this recommendation – there are even some published authors writing fanfiction in An Archive of Our Own (although not in their own worlds usually) and there definitely are quite a few real authors reading the fanfics, especially when the Yuletide event is running.

  30. John Jones
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 15:19:53

    The paid Calibre app allows you to download books from your Calibre library to your device (I am using Android devices – and rooted Nooks) over your local wireless lan. It requires that Calibre be running, and if you have multiple Calibre “Libraries” it only accesses the currently active library. Unfortunately it is ONLY your local wireless, so you don’t have internet access… Still, it is handy. I can add books to my device from the comfort of my recliner.

    If you have a Fire or Nook Tablet, the app will not show as available – it is an app on Android Market.

  31. Bookmarks for January 11th from 09:10 to 20:41 — Somewhere out there!
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 03:02:16

    […] Setting Up a New Library with Calibre: Essential Plugins and Getting to Know Metadata | Dear Author – […]

  32. Setting Up A New Library With Calibre: User Created Columns, Saved Searches, Multiple Libraries, Plugboard | Dear Author
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 04:53:22

    […] by Alissa JohnsonThanking our January AdvertisersDA/SBTB Bestseller List, Week ending January 3Setting Up a New Library with Calibre: Essential Plugins and Getting to Know MetadataREVIEW: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuireFirst Page: Sylvan Legacy, YA Historical Romance with […]

  33. Angela James
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 11:18:41

    @Estara: @Chicklet The Archive of Your Own Site is invite only or join the waiting list and there are 720 people on the waiting list. Boo! Do either of you have an invite you’re longing to share?

  34. angel Graham (angel_graham) | Pearltrees
    Apr 11, 2012 @ 01:25:13

    […] After you double click on the entry that contains the metadata that you want to use, the next screen will load the covers and you can choose which cover you want associated with your file. Setting Up a New Library with Calibre: Essential Plugins and Getting to Know Metadata […]

  35. Eli Schwartz
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 16:17:34

    @Angela: There’s an option hidden in the Preferences, under Conversion ==> Output Options to fix this. Under the options for MOBI and AZW3, check the option “use author sort for author”

    Apparently the Kindle doesn’t recognize author vs. author sort. MOBI ebooks only have an author field, which shows the sort value. The kindle reads this and autoswaps it on the screen to show you the author, but sorts according to that field. Of course, calibre sets the author field to whatever you have set, so if you converted from an EPUB or corrected your MOBI’s then you have a problem. This option shoud really be checked by default, and I filed a bug report on the issue.

  36. aklaura
    May 07, 2013 @ 21:13:24

    Is there a way in Calibre to make the pages be the same as the book? So when my instructor says go to page 109 (because he is using the paper book) I can go to the same page? I want my screen to be the same as the book page and have the ability to zoom in or zoom out, not have Calibre break down each page and break it into 2-3 or 4 screen pages. Thank you.

  37. Jane
    May 07, 2013 @ 21:14:52

    @aklaura: You’d probably have to resize the font and size of the Calibre book window to match the print version.

  38. humbadalgaye
    Jul 20, 2013 @ 11:31:13

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  39. charlene
    Feb 22, 2014 @ 11:19:41

    hi i’m having trouble with downloading new covers, when i download a cover it only gives me one cover how do i get it to show multiple cover to choose from? … Please help.

  40. Jane
    Feb 22, 2014 @ 12:55:17

    @charlene: Highlight the book you want to update. Click the “Edit metadata” button. Then click “download covers”. That should give you the multiple cover option.

  41. charlene
    Feb 22, 2014 @ 13:33:18

    Thanx that was easy!!

  42. sashwilson @ Disappear Into Reading
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 17:29:06

    I seem to be having a problem with calibre. After reading a book through ibooks and making notes and bookmarking things, it doesn’t show up in my calibre library. How do I fix this problem?

  43. Jane
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 18:46:07

    @sashwilson @ Disappear Into Reading: Do you have the annotations plugin installed?

  44. sashwilson @ Disappear Into Reading
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 18:51:12

    I do have the annotations plug in installed but I don’t have Marvin or Goodreader. Is there no way to transfer my bookmarks via ibooks?

  45. Jane
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 18:51:54

    @sashwilson @ Disappear Into Reading: I’m not familiar with those, unfortunately. You may try forums.

  46. sashwilson @ Disappear Into Reading
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 18:58:15

    Alright, thank you for you help.

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