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4 Ways to Organize Your Kindle Library Using Calibre

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Calibre is a hugely useful ebook management software. It allows you to tag, sort, and otherwise play around with the ebooks in your personal library. And if you’re anything like us, you may have accumulated a vast number of ebooks in your Kindle library.

It’s difficult to meaningfully organize your Kindle ebooks, so here are four ways to organize your Kindle library using Calibre.

1. Use Plugboards to Sort Books Into Series

If you buy multiple books in a series directly from Amazon, they will automatically be sorted into Collections, a handy way of separating them out into their own little file on your Kindle. Unfortunately, the Collections feature doesn’t automatically apply to side-loaded ebooks.

Related: How to Remove DRM From Your Ebooks

This is where plugboards come in. They’re a piece of code which automatically places your book titles into a certain format, meaning they’ll be in series order when you sort by title or author on your Kindle.

To use plugboards, first, you’ll have to ensure the books on Calibre have the appropriate series metadata attached. You can do this by selecting the book, clicking the Edit metadata button in the top bar, and inserting the correct number into the pop-up window (if it isn’t there already).

The example here uses Munro by Kresley Cole, which is the 19th book in the long-running Immortals After Dark fantasy romance series.

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'Editing metadata' page on Calibre

Once that’s done for all the books in the series, it’s time to set up a plugboard. Click off the Edit metadata window and select Preferences in the top bar. You’ll see a range of options in the window which appears; click the Metadata plugboards button, located under Import/export. The following screen should appear.

Window showing metadata plugboards options in Calibre

From the drop-down lists under Format and Device, choose which type of ebook format (MOBI, AZW3, or KFX) and Kindle you have. In the Source template box, it’s time to choose what you want your titles to actually look like. There are a lot of different options, but here are some basic strings and what the output would look like:

{series}{series_index:0>2s| #| – }{title}: Immortals After Dark #19 – Munro
{series}{series_index:0>2s| – | – }{title}: Immortals After Dark — 19 — Munro
{series:|| }{series_index:0>2s|[|] }{title}: Immortals After Dark [19] Munro

Alternatively, if you don’t mind doing a bit of coding, you can come up with your own template by reading Calibre’s template language guide.

Now copy and paste the code (minus the colon at the end) into the Source template box and choose title in the Destination field drop-down. Apply the plugboard (via the tick button at the bottom of the window). The plugboard is now saved.

Next time your Kindle is plugged into your computer, you can send books to it from Calibre through the Send to Device button in the top bar. When the books are sent, they’ll appear with this new title format, ensuring they’re automatically sorted into series order.

2. Organize Your Books by Format

You may have multiple different formats of a single book stored on your computer, perhaps left over from when you converted an EPUB into one of the few formats supported by Kindle devices.

Related: How to Get News Updates on Your Kindle Using Calibre

Calibre will store all of these formats under the single entry which exists for that book, so you don’t need to worry about duplicates. However, you can delete unwanted formats to free up space.

Highlight the book in the Calibre database. In the information sidebar, you’ll see basic metadata such as the cover, series number, and author. Under all of this will be the stored formats for that book. Simply right-click the format you want to delete.

deleting epub format in Calibre

When the list of options shows up, choose Delete the X format. You can also do plenty of other things with it, such as saving just that format to a particular place on your hard drive, opening it in Calibre’s native ebook reader, or setting a specific cover for it.

3. Get Higher-Resolution Covers With a Plugin

One of the pieces of metadata you can edit for your books is the appearance of the cover. Particularly when you’re dealing with side-loaded books, you may find that the native cover image is too small, resulting in a poor resolution. The Kindle hi-res plugin will help.

Click on the Preferences button at the top, then, under Advanced, click Plug-ins. A window that looks like this should appear.

calibre-plugins-window- showing plugin options

Select Get new plug-ins at the bottom, and a second window will appear. In the Filter by name box start typing “hi-res covers”. The correct plugin should appear. Click Install, and once you’re back to the first window, Apply. You’ll have to restart Calibre for the changes to take effect.

Once that’s done, however, you’ll find that a whole new variety of cover options has opened up to you. Choose a book in your library, then Edit metadata from the top bar, and finally Download cover.

Window showing a high-resolution image for Kindle e-books

One of the options you’ll now get will be a high-resolution image sourced directly from the Kindle Store, meaning you never have to independently find and save one yourself again. Using this plugin also means that on your device, the books will have nice, uniformly sized covers, making your library more aesthetically pleasing.

4. Tag and Rate Your Books for Easier Sorting

One of the things which makes Calibre so useful is that it has an extensive filing system which lets you tag and rate your books. Admittedly, you can also do this on Goodreads, but if you only want this information for your personal reference, doing it on Calibre is much more private. Searching by tag or rating is also infinitely faster than it is on Goodreads.

Related: Ways to Find New Books to Read Using Goodreads

To rate and tag a book, first choose a book and click Edit metadata, bringing up the usual window.

Editing metadata window on Calibre

Towards the middle, you’ll see a box for inputting your rating. Clicking on the arrow will bring up a drop-down menu that lets you select a star rating from one to five. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t accommodate half-stars, but then again, neither does Goodreads).

Tagging a book is almost as easy; when you type in a tag for the first time, it will be saved so that you can easily access it again. From the main program, you can now search your books by tag or rating.

Calibre Helps You Do More With Your Kindle

The range of things Calibre allows you to do is extensive. This includes allowing you to read books by stripping the DRM. Meaning that books bought from Amazon can be read on any other device.

Even if you want to stick to reading with your Kindle; tagging, rating, choosing better covers for your books, and more, can all be done on Calibre. Which makes it a must-have program.


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