[Server-devel] A possible alternative to Pathagar: calibre2opds

Anna aschoolf at gmail.com
Fri Jan 4 00:32:22 EST 2013

I use Calibre for my ebook management on my regular desktop and a while ago
I saw a Calibre OPDS project.  Basically you run it against your Calibre
database and it generates a browsable catalog of your ebook collection.
Calibre is cross platform, as is calibre2opds.  Unfortunately calibre2opds
doesn't generate searchable catalogs, which is a huge issue with huge

To sum it up, I put my 600MB Calibre collection on a USB drive, ran
calibre2opds against it, and generated a web browseable catalog.  I
installed apache on a 12.1.0 XO-1, then mounted that USB drive on
/var/www/html/books.  Booted up a stock 12.1.0 XO-1, downloaded a few epubs
from Browse, and they straight up opened in Read.  I tried downloading a
book in rtf format, but that wanted to open in Write and then Write just
hung.  And no, the XO-1 doesn't know what to do with mobi files.

If you have a well organized Calibre library and don't intend to add books
all the time, this would be perfect for a schoolserver.  It doesn't require
anything extra.

If a school was upfront with which ebooks they needed, someone could create
that Calibre database and set up calibre2opds for it.  Ship it, it's done.
Lives in an apache dir, there's no messing with it.

Poking through my new "Bookserver," I realize that I have not curated
things the way I should.  It's messy.  But it's just for my personal use.
Teachers could give little writeups, make sure the cover art is there, and
make sure all books are in multiple formats.  Most of my books are only in
mobi, since I do the vast majority of my reading on a Kindle 3.

As far as the "server XO-1," it just needed a web server.  I could have
used lighttpd, but went with apache because that's what the XSCE is going
to use.  Seriously, all I did on the XO-1 was "yum install httpd," started
the service, and mounted the USB drive on /var/www/html/books.

If you've never used Calibre, it is a very, very nice piece of software.
Like iTunes for ebooks.  Cross platform, and converts seamlessly (except
for PDFs.  That's always been crappy).  You can edit metadata, get
bookcovers, and insert your own "blurb" for the book.  There are also
plugins so you can strip DRM.  Not that I'm advocating this, but a teacher
could be visiting in the States and use her sister's library card or Amazon
account to download a lot of ebooks, then she could import those books into
Calibre and take them home and serve them up to her students.  But that's a
moral and legal issue outside our scope.

Just an option if Pathagar proves to be too problematic.

Reference Links:

Anna Schoolfield
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