A new version of Calibre, the open source ebook manager (and then some), is now available to download for Windows, macOS and Linux.
Calibre 4.0 is the first major release of the app in nearly 2 years and succeeds Calibre 3.0, which was released back in 2017.
“It has been two years since calibre 3.0. This time has been spent mostly in making the calibre Content server ever more capable as well as migrating calibre itself from Qt WebKit to Qt WebEngine, because the former is no longer maintained,” writes Kovid Goyal, Calibre’s chief developer.
Among the new features and improvements that are on offer in Calibre 4.0 is a new ‘distraction free’ ebook viewer that, early feedback suggests, is a step down from the previous one (and also apparently much slower).
The main work effort between Calibre 3.0.x and 4.0.x has been handling the migration from Qt WebKit (no longer maintained) to Qt WebEngine (which is maintained).
That said, the app is still clinging on to Python 2; it’d be nice to see Python 3 support broadened.
Calibre’s system requirements also increase with this release. Full details of these changes are listed on the Calibre download page for each operating system’s respective build.
Also improved is the application’s content server. When connected to Calibre via the built-in content server you now get the option to edit ebook metadata, convert ebooks to different formats, and perform general management options, like removing titles from the library entirely.
To use the Calibre content server just hit the Connect/Share button to start the content server, take a note of the address generated, and use that to connect from a different device.
Calibre 4.0 is More than a Reader
Although Calibre merited a mention in our list of the best ebook apps for Linux it wasn’t without a little dig at Calibre’s visually exhausting UI.
The app’s interface is crammed with custom icons, buttons, menus, and toggles. It makes Calibre feel unwieldily and intimidating to new users — a complaint which isn’t entirely new.
Alas, this is not addressed in Calibre 4.0.
It’s for this reason that the terrific Foliate remains my top pick for anyone looking for an ebook reader app for Ubuntu et al. It’s clean, lean, and it’s focused.
Calibre, however, is far more than just an ebook reader or viewer: it’s an ebook manager, an ebook converter, and a general cross-platform do-all-the-things utility that, criticism of its bespoke UI aside, means it still ticks a lot of boxes.
You can download Calibre 4.0 for all major operating systems, including Linux, from the project’s download page:
Image credit: Kovid Goyal