Tip for Calibre Companion and FBReader

This isn’t a WordPress related post, or even a Mac or web development post – but it’s something I’ve been wrestling with for hours and hopefully by the magic of… More »

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This isn’t a WordPress related post, or even a Mac or web development post – but it’s something I’ve been wrestling with for hours and hopefully by the magic of Google it may help someone in a similar situation.

I have a large library of ebooks, in a mix of EPUB and MOBI formats, that I manage on my Mac using Calibre. My preferred method of reading all these books is to use my Nexus 7 tablet with a popular ereader app called FBReader.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been using Calibre to gradually get all the books organised – checking the metadata, organising them into series, making sure the authors are sorted correctly, etc etc.

After each updating session, I then use the Calibre Companion app on my tablet to sync wirelessly with Calibre and grab all the books. It works a treat.

Except for one thing. With some of the books, FBReader understands that they’re in a series and organises them accordingly. But with others it seems to ignore the metadata about which series the books were in, and just stores them by author but leaves them out of the series view.

I spent the better part of a day trying the debug this problem before hitting on the solution. I focussed on one particular series of books (the 10 Thomas Covenant novels if you’re interested), and tried to work out what was going on. FBReader was recognising that one of the books was in a series called “Thomas Covenant” (which is how I set them up in Calibre) but ignored the rest and only showed them when I searched by author or title.

So I uninstalled FBReader, cleared out its cache files on my tablet, tried other readers including Moon+ Reader and CoolReader, scratched my head, cursed several times and eventually went back to Calibre to look at the books again. Then it suddenly hit me – the book that FBReader was recognising as being in a series was an EPUB; the ones it was ignoring were MOBI files.

So I used Calibre to convert the MOBI books in the series into EPUB files, deleted the books from FBReader, re-synced using Calibre Companion to transfer the EPUB files and then did a rescan with FBReader. BINGO. FBReader could now see that they were all in a series.

So I will now be converting my remaining MOBI ebooks into EPUB format, and if you have the same problem, I suggest you do too.

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