As a Constant Reader I’ve acquired a large collection of e-books; and though most are from Amazon I’ve also acquired a great many from other sources. Baen Books, for example, has the most amazing habit of putting their back list out on the ‘web for free download with no DRM. And like most people (so far as I can tell) I manage my non-Amazon e-books using an app called Calibre, which is a sort of an iTunes for e-books. Or, rather, it’s like iTunes was in the old days, when all it did was manage music. All Calibre does is manage e-books; it lets you find them, read them, group them as you like, and convert them into whatever e-book format you happen to need.
A couple of months ago I wrote about my struggles to get my Calibre-managed e-books onto my iPad in a convenient way—a way that just works. Calibre supports e-readers; connect your e-reader, and Calibre is supposed to be able to send books to it, doing any necessary format conversions along the way. It seems that this is supposed to work with the iPad/Kindle App combination, but I was unable to get it to work. In the event, I ended up using two cloud-based e-reader apps, the Google Play app and Marvin (which can find your books on DropBox), but I’ve not been entirely happy with either one: the Google Play reader is buggy, and Marvin has some annoying quirks.Consequently, when the Kindle Voyage showed up I was eager to give the Kindle/Calibre link-up a try—and I’m happy to say that it works like a champ. When I plug in the Kindle using the USB cable, Calibre detects it right away; and then I just select the books I want to send, right-click, and tell it to send them to my reader’s “main memory card”. Calibre queues up a job to reformat and send them, and in a couple of minutes there they are; and then reading them is just like reading any other book on the Kindle.
Google Play/Marvin do have one advantage: both will download my books from the “cloud”, provided that I’ve made them available to myself there. In the case of Marvin, for example, I created a DropBox directory with my e-books in it; and Marvin will let me go there and download what I want. No muss, no fuss, no cable, and it’s especially handy if I’m out and about and need to download the next book in the series. But that means remembering to copy all non-Kindle e-books I acquire to the DropBox directory, and I don’t have access to Calibre’s sorting and grouping capabilities. And besides, as I noted yesterday, I’m trying to wean myself off of reading books on my iPad.