History of Calibre Connector

I started writing Calibre Connector in late 2023 when I decided that a) I wanted to learn iOS programming and b) I wanted to keep my ebook library on my iPad and didn’t like the options that were out there. I decided when I started that I was writing the program for me, but that I might put it up as a free app on the app store and put the source out as open source if there was any interest. If there wasn’t, well, no problem as long as it suited my needs.

I started reading ebooks back in the mid 1990’s, first on my palm pilot and then on my Windows tablet (yes, there really was a Windows Tablet that predated the iPhone and iPad). At first the pickings were poor for ebooks. Peanut Press had some ebooks, Microsoft had some, there were a number in public domain and the were a lot where groups of people scanned in the books and others edited them to clean up the mistakes.

Then in 1999, Jim Baen, a SF publisher, started to release his books as ebooks each month in a format he called monthly bundles. For one price, you could buy ebook copies of all the books he released that month. I bought each monthly bundle for a good 15 years. This was my main source of ebooks until the Sony ebook store opened in 2006 and released the PRS-500. Naturally, I bought the Sony eReader and never turned back.

In 2007, Amazon released the Kindle, started the Kindle store and history was made. About that time, the first iteration of Calibre came out. It was called libprs500 and was a mac program that allowed the user to use a mac to update his PRS-500.

Over time, libprs500 became Calibre and I bought an iPad and transitioned to reading on that. I used a reading app named Marvin, which at the time was able to use a plug in to connect directly to Calibre. Eventually, a major upgrade of the iOS broke the ability of Marvin to connect directly to Calibre, though the content server connection still worked.

Eventually, an app named Calibre Companion migrated from Android to iOS. It was what I needed, but alas it was sold to a 3rd party and then eventually abandoned. The 3rd party updated it to include ads and left the ads in when he abandoned it. Major bummer. After waiting for a few years, I retired and decided to write my own.

Calibre Connector has a user interface that is rather different than Calibre or really any of the other ebook platforms (Kindle, Kobo, etc). I basically created a design that was closer to the way I did things. I like having a reading list of books which is closer to the pile of books that I used back when I read from regular hard copy books. New books by my favorite authors went on top, everything else got read eventually, with the pile getting manually sorted based on what I was in the mood to read.