Calibre 2.0 is out

The announcement claims that there are much-improved tools for creating and editing epub ebooks. The stated goal is to go beyond Sigil, since Sigil is no longer being advanced.

I have had no trouble with Sigil so far aside from the occasional crash; never lost any data and found it easy enough to work with. But Calibre intends to be something that lets you edit your epub that Scrivener compiles in a way that does not require much knowledge of html. We shall see about that.

Having no experience in editing epub with Calibre, I can’t vouch for how good it is. It is good to have choices though, when a Scrivener compile to epub needs some direct tweaking.

Anybody else use this to edit epubs? Is it worth mastering?

  • asotir

I’ve played with it a bit in its earlier form. It has actually had the editing suite for a few versions now as 1.x was wrapped up, but it was kind of tucked out of the way. For the most part I just wanted to familiarise myself with it in case Sigil stops working (but it works fine in Yosemite, so I’m not too worried for now).

Calibre’s editor is very similar actually—if you have used one you will probably feel comfortable in the other—I wouldn’t say there is a huge reason to use one over the other, outside of external reasons. If you like using Calibre to manage compiles and don’t mind continually swapping test books in and out of the library, then having an integrated editor would be nicer. If you prefer to test and work on e-books prior to putting them into a database, then a stand-alone program like Sigil will probably work better.

I’ve played with it a bit in its earlier form. It has actually had the editing suite for a few versions now as 1.x was wrapped up, but it was kind of tucked out of the way. For the most part I just wanted to familiarise myself with it in case Sigil stops working (but it works fine in Yosemite, so I’m not too worried for now).

Calibre’s editor is very similar actually—if you have used one you will probably feel comfortable in the other—I wouldn’t say there is a huge reason to use one over the other, outside of external reasons. If you like using Calibre to manage compiles and don’t mind continually swapping test books in and out of the library, then having an integrated editor would be nicer. If you prefer to test and work on e-books prior to putting them into a database, then a stand-alone program like Sigil will probably work better.

One of the largest differences that I can see is that Calibre’s editor does not have a “WYSIWYG” mode. That seems odd considering what you said about its stated goals. With Sigil you can type and edit in a simple text editor view, or switch to editing code directly. With Calibre you edit code on the left side and preview the results on the right. The only way to type or edit formatting is in the code pane. Maybe I’m missing something though.

I agree, that there are some inconsistencies in where you edit in the new Calibre editing mode. For instance, mostly you must make changes to the raw HTML pane, but some things, like for instance splitting a file, happen only in the preview pane.

Here are 3 big improvements I have found in playing with Calibre over Sigil:

  1. Cal lets you set mileposts, like Snapshots in Scrivener. You can revert if you find your last big project-wide change did something you did not want. Also, the program automatically sets mileposts when you do something like a project-wide search and replace.

  2. Cal has the ability to embed fonts, either the whole set or a subset. I haven’t yet tried it on test files to see if this works with a later conversion to kindle, but this is something that Scrivener writers might find very helpful. I never saw any way Sigil embedded fonts, but I may have missed something there.

  3. Cal also has lots of help, particularly with the css part. But in playing with an edition of Pride and Prejudice, I found Calibre did not like plain css margin-bottom, but insisted on -webkit-margin-after instead. Like as not this was something I was doing wrong. (Cal has 2 ways to work on css, either in an individual file or chapter, and project wide in the separate css file.)

I have been having trouble with Sigil importing the svg cover files I create in LibreOffice. This was working before, I don’t know why not now. But other than that I was always very pleased with Sigil, and liked switching back and forth between the book mode and raw code mode.

Oh yeah I forgot this one too - with the snapshots facility, Calibre lets you diff the two versions, with the changed paragraphs highlighted. This highlights the entire paragraph and seems to be only in the code editing pane, so it is not nearly so detailed as Word or LibreOffice’s ways to track changes.

  • asotir