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Using Belvedere to auto add purchases to Calibre

This is a follow on to Jane’s post on automating the adding of books to Calibre in Mac OS, but this time for Windows users.

There is a neat little program called Belvedere from Lifehacker which is kind of a knock off of the Hazel program Jane mentioned for Mac’s. Belvedere is an automated file manager that can do all kinds of things, but we’re only going to look at it from the specific task adding our purchases to Calibre automatically.

Step 1: Create folder for Calibre additions

Before we start setting up Belevedere we want to make a new folder where Calibre will look for books to add to its library. Mine is called “Calibre_Add”, but you can call it whatever you want.

 

Step 2: Run Belvedere as Administrator

Belvedere must run as administrator in order for you to modify any instructions once they’ve been created (you can create and enable them at the time of creation without admin priviledges, just not edit or delete).  Any easy way to make sure it always runs that way is to right click on the shortcut in your Start Menu (on on the desktop if you had the installer add one) and under the compatibility tab check the “Run this program as an administrator” box and click OK.  You should only need to do this in Vista or Windows 7, not in XP. Now right click on the Belvedere icon in your task bar (near the clock) and select Exit, then relaunch the program for the changes to be in effect.

 

Step 3: Launch Belvedere’s Manage Window

Once you’ve downloaded and installed Belvedere right click on the little Belvedere icon in the task bar (down near the clock) and select Manage. This will open a window where you can set up the folders you wish Belvedere to monitor for new books so that they can be copied to your Calibre add folder. Note: I changed nothing from the defaults in the Preferences tab of the program.

 

Step 4: Tell Belvedere where to look (repeat as necessary)

The first thing to do is click on the plus symbol in the folders column.  This will bring up a browse for folder window so you can point the program to the right place.  Adobe Digital Editions files are found by default in Documents/My Digital Editions, Kindle files are found by default in Documents/My Kindle Content.  If you’re using Sony’s software to get books from them look in Documents/My Books/Reader. Select the folder you want and click OK, then repeat to ad other sources.

Now that we’ve told Belvedere where to look for files we need to tell it what to do with them. Do you want to move the files (meaning they will no longer be in the source folder) or do you want to copy them?  I’ve chosen to copy the files for my setup so those are the settings you’ll see in the provided screen shots. You can easily change this behavior in the “Do the following” instruction dropdown. I’ve included windows showing both my Kindle and ADE settings and we will go over both in detail.  Select your folder from the Folders pane and then click the plus sign under “Enabled / Rules”, this will bring up the window where we tell Belvedere what to do.

 

For Kindle we need to remember that there are multiple AZW file extensions (AZW, AZW1, AZW3, etc.) so for or instruction line we want the following conditions. We want in to look at the “Extension” (default is “Name”) and if it “Contains” (default is “Is”) and then AZW is the text of the extension we want.  It is important that things are set to “Contains” or we won’t get all the various AZW extensions only regular AZW.  Next click the plus sign next to where you typed AZW, this will let us add a secong rule. For our second rule we want to select “Date last modified” then “in the last” then set it for 1 minute (I tried 30 seconds, but it didn’t work properly), this will make it grab only new books as they’re downloaded and not try to add all of your books everytime. Once the program knows what files to grab we go to the “Do the following:” and set it to “Copy file” (default is “Move”) and then browse to the folder we setup in step one.  If everything matches the above graphic then check the “Enabled” box in the upper right and then click OK.  The program should start copying your files almost right away (remember it only copies what was added in the last minute).  If you have existing books in your Kindle Content folder already that you want copied one time you can run the rule without the “Date last modified” setting once to get everything that would be missed and then go back and add that line in, but it’s probably easier to just add those to Calibre separately instead.

 

For ADE we have two file extensions to deal with, ePub and PDF, so repeat these instructions to make a second set of rules substituting PDF for EPUB.  We want in to look at the “Extension” (default is “Name”) and if it “Is” and then EPUB is the text of the extension we want.  Next click the plus sign next to where you typed EPUB, this will let us add a secong rule. For our second rule we want to select “Date last modified” then “in the last” then set it for 1 minute (I tried 30 seconds, but it didn’t work properly), this will make it grab only new books as they’re downloaded and not try to add all of your books everytime. Once the program knows what files to grab we go to the “Do the following:” and set it to “Copy file” (default is “Move”) and then browse to the folder we setup in step one.  If everything matches the above graphic then check the “Enabled” box in the upper right and then click OK.  The program should start copying your files almost right away (remember it only copies what was added in the last minute).  If you have existing books there already that you want copied one time you can run the rule without the “Date last modified” setting once to get everything that would be missed and then go back and add that line in.

We are now done with Belvedere so you can close out the Folders window we’ve been working in.  The program will remain running in the task bar.  Now it’s time to get Calibre to auto add our books.

 

Step 5: Set Calibre to auto add books

In Calibre click the “Preferences” icon and then select “Adding Books” under Import/Export then select the “Automatic Adding” tab.

The first thing we need to do is point Calibre to the books, so browse to the folder you created in Step 1 and select it.  Now a warning, Calibre will delete any books in your Calibre add folder once they’ve been imported (so if you moved the files instead of copied they’ll be gone and need to be re-downloaded).

If you don’t use ADE or K4PC for anything but downloading you might want to “Move” your books instead of “Copy” them as then you won’t need to delete them from the other program’s storage folders, but that’s up to you.

I also check the “Automatically convert…” box so that my ePubs auto convert to Mobi (my default format in Calibre) for my Kindle.

When ready click Apply, then restart Calibre.  You’re now on automatic.

Brian is an avid reader who loves books of all kinds. He's been known to try just about anything once, but is partial to SciFi, Fantasy, Mystery and Romance. His favorite authors include Jane Austen, Ray Bradbury, Jacqueline Carey, Lisa Kleypas, Michelle Sagara West, JD Robb, David Weber, Julie Miller, Lynne Connolly and Lynsay Sands.

15 Comments

  1. Keishon
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 07:31:33

    My issue is that when I add the folders they are not showing up in Belvedere. I have Windows Vista and did make sure to run as admin. I even tried dragging the file folder but nothing. Something else is going on here but I don’t know what it is. Plan to restart computer and try again.

  2. Keishon
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 08:03:56

    I figured it out. Thanks!

  3. Las
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 08:54:42

    I really needed this post. The state of my e-book collection is shameful and the bigger it gets the less inclined I am to organize it. Thanks!

  4. Jane
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 09:41:14

    @Keishon: Can you share what the solution was in case someone else runs into the problem?

  5. lorenet
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 15:09:04

    Great article. I have it working, but there are still a few kinks to work out. Word of warning: It seems to work better when I do not run the reader appl and Calibre at the same time. Even though I have a timer set, it keeps re-importing my files. I am using the Last Date Modified option, but it keeps re-importing all files, not just the new ones. I am also having a problem with the ebook covers. When it imports, the ebook cover is not coming across. However when I manually import it from the Reader folder into Calibre, the cover is there.

  6. Keishon
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 19:18:03

    @Jane: Oh this thing has some kinks I still need to work out because like it imports all of my ebooks not just the new ones. It’s not working like I want but it’s “working.” Not sure if it’s even worth it *sad face* and I don’t have the time to fool around with it. Sorry.

  7. Kaetrin
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 08:45:49

    Is there a way to auto convert from mobi to ePub using Belvedere/Calibre?

  8. Brian
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 08:52:40

    @Kaetrin: When setting up the auto add folder in Calibre check the box that says “Automatically convert added files to the current output format”. This would assume that you have ePub set as your default format.

  9. Kaetrin
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 21:35:52

    @Brian: thank you! I will give it a go.

  10. Las
    Jul 04, 2012 @ 10:14:48

    Any ideas why I ended up with several copies of books (up to 40 in some cases) in Calibre? I did get error messages related to one of my plugins, but many of the books that were copied several times wouldn’t have been affected by that particular plugin.

    I assume it’s a Calibre issue, but I didn’t check the CalibreAdd folder before doing the auto-add. Could it be Belvedere instead?

  11. lorenet
    Jul 04, 2012 @ 10:40:35

    @Las: Same thing happened to me. I think it is a timing issue. It seems that Belveder keeps re-importing the file to the Calibre_Add folder even after it has been imported to Calibre (because once it is imported, Calibre deletes the file). So I make sure I don’t have Calibre open when Belvedere is adding the files are in the Calibre_Add folder.

  12. Keishon
    Jul 04, 2012 @ 14:48:13

    I finally got this working like it should. No covers though but no biggie :-) I’m happy. The instructions are just like Brian mentioned above. I didn’t deviate from it to get it to work. The behavior of it though is what I had to figure out on my own.

  13. #BloggerTip: Using GravityForms to automate formatting of blog posts
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 22:00:33

    […] you couldn’t tell by the last couple of weeks’ posts about Automator and Belvedere, I am a big fan of automating repetitive tasks in my life. This way I can spend more time creating […]

  14. Becky Morlang
    Jan 24, 2013 @ 14:55:31

    I cannot seem to get this to work at all. I have followed all the directions but when I download a book from amazon to my pc it disappears and doesn’t go into the calibre_add folder I created. It is just gone and no matter how many times I go back to redownload it from amazon it won’t show up now. Do you know what could be going on? Thanks so much.

  15. winnie
    Jan 25, 2013 @ 19:11:23

    @Becky Morlang: When I download to K4PC, it goes into the C:\Users\xyz123\Documents\My Kindle Content folder. Because of drm, I then import into Calibre manually. I still use belvedere for things I buy from Samhain.

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