High Calibre

I've been using the Amazon Kindle DX, in the UK, for a while now and have grown to love it's ability to display PDF, more than any other feature. Until recently once feature which I had never really used was subscribing to Newspapers, that is until I discovered Calibre.

Calibre is a free, open source, cross-platform ebook management software. It's like iTunes (the way it used to be) for books, but kinda uglier. Looks may not be it's strong point, but it is great for managing your library, converting formats (DRM free of course), renaming books and meta information individually or en masse. One feature I hadn't made use of, was it's ability to generate a newspaper from an RSS feed. What surprised me even further was that on the DX, the newspaper displayed in the exact same way, with a section list etc, as the newspapers from Amazon. Very nice when the blog or news site you use doesn't have and issue to buy on Amazon, even nicer when you're in the UK and Amazon have blocked purchases from outside the US.

But wait, it doesn't stop there, Calibre goes as far as to contain "recipes" which are used to scrape text from certain websites. Web page scraping might be a controversial feature, but if you want a newspaper created from BBC News or a your unread Google Reader articles, then there's a recipe for that. It's even possible to customise your recipe by adding new feeds, so my BBC Newspaper now contains a section for news in Northern Ireland just after the headlines. You can see how it turns out, below.

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Andrew Gribben @grib