Quicker than you can turn a page, e-books have gone from a novelty to a publishing mainstay and will soon be the dominant format (perhaps by the time you're reading this). While many book-lovers use handheld e-book devices such as Amazon's Kindle, others read e-books on their tablets or even their smartphones. All you need is a good e-book reader. We tried the 64-bit release of Calibre, the free, open-source reader and library manager. It's a good e-book reader.
Calibre's welcome wizard let us choose from a long list of interface languages. It also prompted us to set up our e-book library by creating a destination folder or browsing to existing e-books. By default, Calibre creates its library folder in your Documents library. Of course, you can change it later, but it's not a bad idea to start with the right folder in the right location, since your e-book collection may grow rapidly when you see what's available for free (or cheap). It's also easy to establish your e-book library on a USB drive, memory card, or external drive. (You can lug your entire library around with you without giving yourself a hernia! Try that with hardbacks.) Next, we set up Calibre to be compatible with our specific e-book gadget. We could choose devices from a list of 15 different manufacturers, including Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble, as well as generic devices such as smartphones and tablets. The setup finished with links to demo videos and an online User Manual. Better yet, Calibre's main interface opens with one free e-book already displayed: "The Calibre Quick-Start Guide." A colorful interface with a familiar layout makes for easy navigation, aided and abetted by icons with easy-to-grasp labels such as Get Books and Fetch News, each with equally clear submenus.
We've got nothing but good things to say about Calibre, whether it's the 32- or 64-bit version. Adding, converting, and removing books, editing metadata, and even sharing our favorite titles all proved to be as easy as a few clicks. If you don't have a favorite e-book reader and library app yet, or even if you do, check out Calibre.