Using Calibre To Keep Your Digital Library In Order with Kovid Goyal


November 25th, 2018

43 mins 25 secs

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About this Episode


Digital books are convenient and useful ways to have easy access to large volumes of information. Unfortunately, keeping track of them all can be difficult as you gain more books from different sources. Keeping your reading device synchronized with the material that you want to read is also challenging. In this episode Kovid Goyal explains how he created the Calibre digital library manager to solve these problems for himself, how it grew to be the most popular application for organizing ebooks, and how it works under the covers. Calibre is an incredibly useful piece of software with a lot of hidden complexity and a great story behind it.


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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Kovid Goyal about Calibre, the powerful and free ebook management tool


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • Can you start by explaining what Calibre is and how the project got started?
  • How are you able to keep up to date with device support in Calibre, given the continual release of new devices and platforms that a user can read ebooks on?
  • What are the main features of Calibre?
    • What are some of the most interesting and most popular plugins that have been creatd for Calibre?

  • Can you describe the software architecture for the project and how it has evolved since you first started working on it?

  • You have been maintaining and improving Calibre for a long time now. What is your motivation to keep working on it?

    • How has the focus of the project and the primary use cases changed over the years that you have been working on it?

  • In addition to its longevity, Calibre has also become a de-facto standard for ebook management. What is your opinion as to why it has gained and kept its popularity?

    • What are some of the competing options and how does Calibre differentiate from them?

  • In addition to the myriad devices and platforms, there is a significant amount of complexity involved in supporting the different ebook formats. What have been the most challenging or complex aspects of managing and converting between the formats?

  • One of the challenges around maintaining a private library of electronic resources is the prevalence of DRM restricted content available through major publishers and retailers. What are your thoughts on the current state of digital book marketplaces?

  • What was your motivation for implementing Calibre in Python?

    • If you were to start the project over today would you make the same choice?
    • Are there any aspects of the project that you would implement differently if you were starting over?

  • What are your plans for the future of Calibre?

Keep In Touch


  • Tobias

  • Kovid

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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA