Turn A Folder Of PDF Files Into a Proper Electronic Library

The web is awash with programs that can help you to organise your collection of digital audio files.  Media players such as Songbird and Winamp are a great way to search and play your audio, rather than simply scrolling through the list of files with Windows Explorer.

For photos, too, there are programs such as Picasa to help you organise and view your shots.

But what about PDF files?  If you've been building a collection of free ebooks or other documents, have you ever stopped to wonder whether there's a program to help you organise and view the contents of your electronic bookshelves?

As it happens, there are plenty of programs to do it, and some of them are free.  One well-known example, with over 7 million users, is Calibre.  It's a hefty 53 MB download, and you can get it from www.calibre-ebook.com.

Personally, I prefer Adobe Digital Editions.  Like Calibre, it's free.  It's from Adobe, and is only a 5 MB download from http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/.  Unlike Calibre, it has the built-in ability to read and search PDF files, rather than simply acting as a front end to your installed copy of Adobe Reader.  Which makes it a pretty, fast, and very useful addition to your PC.

 

Adobe Digital Editions on Windows 7

 

Both of the programs mentioned have been checked with VirusTotal and are free of all malware and viruses.

 

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Comments

by SpiderJon on 20. February 2012 - 11:44  (89089)

There are three advantages to using Calibre over Digital Editions:

1. Calibre supports far more devices than just the Sony e-Reader.

2. Calibre doesn't reqiure you to go through a DRM activation process.

3. Calibre will convert between formats.

by boristhemoggy on 20. February 2012 - 15:40  (89111)

I think this article is poor in terms of it is not comparing like with like at all.
Digital Editions is nothing more than a tool to catalogue and view e books, and there are some very negative aspects of it indeed.
Calibre on the other hand is a program which is designed to catalogue, convert, manage, maintain, alter and read ebooks, and also download and manage libraries of online news.
To compare them at all is like comparing a razor blade with a chainsaw.
Adobe Editions may well be useful to some people, in that case perhaps it needs a full review which goes into it's limited features and abilities? But comparing it to Calibre imho shows a lack of understanding of the two programs and their intended purposes.

by WHiTe_aSH143 on 20. February 2012 - 16:01  (89114)

The article is meant to inform people of software we may find useful, not provide full-blown reviews. And it's not a comparison, it's a personal preference for one over another. So for the price of one article, you get two optional pieces of software.

by boristhemoggy on 20. February 2012 - 16:27  (89117)

and that is a great thing, bringing to us programs that we may find useful, and I am sure many any people will love the focussed abilities Editions has.
I just think that by making comparisons with another program, which was what happened, it feels like a review of "which is best", which if that's not what was intended perhaps it wasn't really thought out as well as it could have been?
If there's a personal preference, then perhaps to be useful to people you could have listed all Editions features? As it was I had to go download it, install it and try it to find out what it was.
Anyway that's just my opinion, peace and love.

by VelvetElvis on 20. February 2012 - 16:33  (89121)

Been using this amazing piece of software for 2 years now. I can't imagine managing an ebook collection without it. There are some great Calibre user forums on MobileRead, and the app itself is updated nearly every Friday.

by Anupam on 20. February 2012 - 17:58  (89128)

The article just informs about two software, which have the ability to create a library of pdf files. The article just suggests the two software.

And only one thing was mentioned as comparison, and that too because Digital Editions being his personal preference.. he just mentioned what point he liked about it. He did not go into a full blown feature by feature comparison. If he had done that, that would have been called a comparison... not a mere mention of a point.

He never mentioned in the article that one software is better than the other. Surely, he is allowed to mention his personal preference, he being the writer.

by Jojo Yee on 21. February 2012 - 8:36  (89180)

A good find Robert. In terms of reading and organizing PDF files, this is a perfect piece of software.

Calibre has many good features but it has a shortcoming particularly when reading my PDF files from its built-in viewer, in which images and layouts are badly aligned after reflowing text in PDFs, unless I use Calibre as a front end of Adobe Reader and forget about text reflow.

by boristhemoggy on 21. February 2012 - 16:08  (89194)

I've had Calibre for quite a while now and didn't know it had an internal PDF viewer. Can you let me know how to access that?

by Jojo Yee on 21. February 2012 - 16:46  (89198)

Click the View button on Calibre to open up the E-book Viewer, then at the side bar of the Viewer, click the 'Open ebook' button and browse to a PDF file.

Hope this helps.

by boristhemoggy on 21. February 2012 - 17:37  (89200)

That does help, I never knew about that, thanks.
You're right though, it comes out as gibberish :s

by Graham (not verified) on 22. February 2012 - 22:16  (89268)

Great find thanks! I've been looking for exactly this piece of software for 3 years!
I've been using Calibre and have only praise for the marathon work of Kovid, but it's weakness in relation to PDF's has always been a big issue for me, as most of my digital collection of technical standards come in PDF format. I've spent hours manually telling Calibre the title, author, publisher, edition, issue date etc. of each paper or standard.
I will be checking out Digital Editions to see if my problems will now be solved, I am hoping it allows me to bookmark pages, that would be a great plus.

by Graham (not verified) on 22. February 2012 - 22:45  (89270)

Update:
It uses the file name as the book title - if the file has a random or abbreviated name then this is what it will be called in the Bookshelf.

PDF's are notoriously poor for tag type information such as author, publisher etc. and the Digital Editions does nothave the facility to improve this. It unfortunately does not allow you to change the information on PDF's in your catalogue (bookshelf) so if you want a comprehensive sort facility for your library you will have to manually change this information for every PDF.(right-click the file, select properties, select the Summary tab, type into each box - slow, tedious, not worth the effort). Only then will the sort by author/publisher option be useful.

On the plus side, it does bookmarks well and is light and fast.
I think I will stay with Calibre, and use DE only for quick reference when I know exactly what files I want to view.

BTW if anybody can suggest a fast and efficient Properties-Summary editor for files I would be eternally grateful!

by Jojo Yee on 23. February 2012 - 2:42  (89275)

Try BeCyPDFMetaEdit mentioned in Best Free PDF Tool.

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