Hosting Books at Home using Calibre Web 

I don't buy DRMed books anymore. I stopped buying books on Kindle and also stopped using Audible. I have been buying only DRM-free eBooks or physical books. I use the FBReader App to read the books. It integrates well with FBReader Book Network to provide sync and backup features using OPDS. FBReader Book Network indirectly uses Google Drive to store ebook files. So I was still dependent on propitiatory Drive and FBReader Network. I wanted a FOSS. 

Like my music, I wanted to bring it to my internal network. There is no real need for it to be a public web service. I was looking for a web application that would

  • Store and serve DRM-free EPUBs and PDFs
  • Supports OPDS
  • Highlight and Annotation syncing
Calibre Web
Calibre Web

Even though it's not 100% there, I deployed Calibre Web recently and started moving my eBooks. I used docker to deploy; it was straightforward, other than setting up metadata.db. It needs a valid Calibre metadata.db from your Desktop Calibre Application setup.

You can use the default one provided if you do not have one. It should be writable. After that, log in and start uploading books. 

  1. I can use EPUB, PDF, and event audio books
  2. It supports OPDS, <url>/opds is the path, and needs a username and password.
  3. Currently, I can't sync page numbers, highlights, or annotations.

For now, I export annotations and highlights from my reader applications. I usually sync it to my notes application. Its not ideal but works and its FOSS.


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3 Responses

  1. Sai Krishna Dammalapati says:

    Do you use any eReader to read eBooks? My physical books count is increasing and I’ve been thinking of getting an eReader

  2. Thejesh GN says:

    I used to use a Kindle, it broke ( I think the battery needs a replacement). Its one of the early ones with keyboard.

    Currently I mostly use an android phone/tablet as reader. There are good apps.

    I am looking get an affordable PockerBook[1] e-reader which is fairly open ( android, ereader screen, app store).

    [1] https://pocketbookstore.com/collections/e-readers?page=1

  3. Sai Krishna Dammalapati says:

    Thanks for the link! I’ll check this out :)

    My Kindle also stopped working and no one could repair it. So wanted something different.