Calibre - All Digital, All in One Place
October 15, 2019
Calibre - All Digital, All in One Place
Score 8 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Calibre
Calibre is a niche application we use for knowledge management. Being in a technical field, we often purchase technical books for training or improving our knowledge on something. More and more, users want digital copies of these books, and they become difficult to manage from a format perspective. Calibre and it's corresponding server help us manage our digital knowledge in an accessible way that all our users can access. Calibre handles multiple ebook formats with ease, and lets users select the one that they want that is of value on their device. As a result, our users now have a centralized spot to look for a particular ebook, without having to resort to word-of-mouth management.
- Management of multiple formats - Calibre does an excellent job handling multiple copies of digital media in different formats, making it available to users in their choice of format.
- Robust plug-in system - Calibre has a robust plugin system that support extensibility from it's wide user base. Anything from managing metadata to integration with other applications.
- Built in reader - Calibre has a built in reader for digital media files, enabling users to view the content before deciding to download the content to their device.
- User Interface - Calibre's user interface is pretty out of date looking, and the icons are often confusing. If not for the text labels, it would probably be a pretty hard interface to navigate.
- Calibre doesn't warn you about digital rights management until you try to open digital media containing it. It would nice to have that flagged ahead of time to remove the offending content and any chance of it being propagated amongst users.
- Calibre's metadata management system is fine, but doesn't always make the best choices when choosing to preserve or replace metadata depending on what it found online. It'd be preferable to have it present both the "before" and "after" metadata options prior to replacing the metadata.
- Enables technical engineers to share a pool of technical resources without needing to purchase physical copies. This makes it simpler for sharing digital media amongst users who prefer to consume it digitally.
- Calibre has enabled us to avoid the informal and confusing lending library approach by having one centralized system where users can obtain content in their preferred format.
- Calibre has also been seen as a value add by our employees as they see it as an investment in our knowledge resources.
FoxitPhantom PDF is not a direct 1 for 1 comparison to Calibre, but I called it out because some of what we'd use FoxitPhanton for is supplanted by Calibre. Calibre has built in meta-data editing tools, and that applies to PDFs as well, which is a huge benefit as we don't need to access multiple different applications to ensure our digital media has its metadata properly filled out. Previously, any digital media in PDF format would have required a PDF editor to update its metadata.
Not only has the customer support for Calibre been great, but the community surrounding it is great too. Users are ready and willing to jump in to help you solve a particular issue you're encountering with Calibre. As a result, I've expanded what we do with Calibre quite a bit through community support of its plugin infrastructure.
Do you think Calibre delivers good value for the price?
Are you happy with Calibre's feature set?
Did Calibre live up to sales and marketing promises?
I wasn't involved with the selection/purchase process
Did implementation of Calibre go as expected?
Would you buy Calibre again?
Calibre is the right tool if you have a a need for a shared knowledge management system whereby users can collectively access a shared pool of digital content. It eliminates scattered resources that your user base may have and replaces them with a single repository with version management that serves all major devices. The only situation I wouldn't suggest using library is when you have vast digital media libraries that contain DRM. Calibre doesn't handle DRM well. We've largely avoided this problem because our library is from DRM free publishers.