Great combination of Calibre, Stanza and iPhone (or iPad) to edit / upload / read ebooks

I am using Calibre for a long time. It is the BEST eBook tool I have ever seen. It is free and works on Windows, Linux or Mac. It get from many different formats in and creates flawless many different format out. For over 2 years now I combined this software with my iPhone and iPad. I use a software called Stanza. After many revisions in all software I just mentioned it came to a “perfection point” so I wanted to write this article. I will do a how to setup and work with all guide for new beginners, although I believe “already users” can benefit from it too.

Ingredients (click on them to reach to related website):

On your PC
Calibre: Setting up Calibre as easy as downloading and, double clicking on it. Since I use Xubuntu I setup DEB package and it took 5 minutes to finish the operation. No tips and tricks, it is plain simple… There are two important options to choose when you first time open Calibre. I will only write about options that we will choose else than defaults. For the rest of the options asked to you just say NEXT.

First screen is about choosing the correct DEVICE. As you see in Figure 1 I have choosen iPhone, iPad like devices.

Figure 1: Choose iDevices

And the next screen is about automatically starting CONTENT SERVER. This is actually a web interface to reach the books in Calibre from iPhone, iPad etc. You may choose to start this server after you open Calibre but what is the point. I make it run automatically when Calibre starts and when I a close it, it shutdowns with it. I suggest you tick the box as I did in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Start the content server

On your iPad,iPhone
Stanza: Again, just go to App Store and set it up.

Make it work:

1) Go to your Calibre and add a book. We need this added book to be converted in to ePub or simply it should be in ePub format. You might need some experience to convert books into ePub format nicely, so best thing to do is to use a ready ePub book. Let’s use the FREE book about GNU founder Richard Stallman. Please, download here in ePub format.

2) Add the book by simply using “Add Books” button and choosing the ePub format of Stallman book (Figure 3). Here, lets also learn a great feature of Calibre. You see the Author of the book is unknown. Which is crazy because, it is actually in the format and known-well. So, to fix this right click on the book and select “Edit Metadata Individually” (Figure 4). Update the Author name as “Sam Williams” and click on “Download Cover” button. This will open up a search screen and will find the cover of the book on the internet (Figure 5).

Figure 3: Add the book
Figure 4: Update the info
Figure 5: Find the book cover online

3) Now, it is all ready. Click OK twice and go back to Calibre front window. We are done with Calibre. (Check if the content server is up and running. Go to top menu Network/Share and check if it says Stop Content Server. If it says Start Content Server it means it is not running. So, click and run it).

4) Go to your iPhone and open Stanza. Go to “Get Books” and “Shared”. You suppose to see your computer’s name under “Computer Sharing Books”.

Figure 6: Go to share

5) Now, select your computer from the list. And the “By Newest” from the new window. You must see the Stallman book in the list now.

Figure 7: You see the books in any order you want.

Figure 8: Stallman book is ready to download

6) When you click on the book, you will see a short info about it. If you press on the “Download” button on right top the book will be added to your book library.

Figure 9: Info about the book

Figure 10: And now we are downloading

7) The “Download” button will be “Read Now”, so click on it to read your book.

Figure 11: Let's read our book

8) You can do this for many books and Stanza will work without any problem even for 1000 book on your iPhone or iPad. Enjoy !..


  1. p133mmx

    According to this page Calibre does not support sending books to iOS devices under Linux. Therefore I’ve got excited when I found your post. In my case Stanza keeps searching for shared computers on step 4, without giving any results. I use Linux Mint 12 LXDE with an iPhone 4 connected by usb cable. File manager can see its folders, so I think there is probably no problem with the cable connection or device recognition.

    Do you have any idea about how to solve this issue?

    • Ferhat

      Looks like a “firewall” issue to me. Try to open the stanza share via the website http://YOUR_COMP_IP:PORT (you can get your ip with ifconfig command and port number is in calibre sahre settings). If you see the list of book in another computer you must see in iPhone too. But, maybe your computer is forbidding Calibre to start a web server.

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