Turn Raspberry Pi into an Ebook Server with Calibre

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Aug 16, 2012 GMT
Dmitri Popov

There is probably no better tool for managing, converting, and sharing ebooks than Calibre. You can use it as a regular desktop application for reading and organizing ebooks, but Calibre also features a built-in server for sharing ebooks on the web. In practical terms, this means that you can publish your ebook library on the web and access all your ebooks from any machine using a browser. To publish your ebook library, you can turn Raspberry Pi into a little headless Calibre server. And since a fairly recent version of Calibre is available in the Raspbian software repository, this project can be done in a few simple steps.

Because Calibre doesn't allow you to create libraries and populate them with ebooks from the command line, you need to do this using Calibre on your regular machine. Copy then the library to your Raspberry Pi (e.g., ~/pi/calibre). Next, install Calibre on Raspberry Pi using the following command:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install calibre

Run then the calibre-server command followed by the path to the Calibre library:

calibre-server --with-library=/home/pi/calibre

Once the server is up and running, you can access the published library by pointing a browser to http://myrpi:8080 (replace myrpi with the actual IP address or domain name of your Raspberry Pi server). The calibre-server command supports several options. To restrict access to the published library, you can protect it with a password using the --password option, and to run the Calibre server in the background as a daemon, use the --daemonize option. Refer to the Calibre documentation for a list of supported options and their descriptions.


  • Calibre + OwnCloud + Cops

    Sorry, can you detail how you set up your RPi? Do you run calibre on a laptop then syncing its library with RPi ownCloud?
  • Use a separate webserver instead

    I've stopped using Calibre on my Pi. Instead I'm using Owncloud (to synchronize my Calibre Library) and COPS (http://blog.slucas.fr/en/oss/calibre-opds-php-server).

    I find it way lighter.
  • Raspberry Pi Calibre server install faile

    Hi, this installed failed for me. What size memory card is required? Thanks
  • Headless Calibre Server with Raspi

    Using TurnKey Linux's model and principle, as well as TKLPatch - their SDK - I've put together a patch to strip a new install of Raspbian/Raspian of unnecessary packages and rebuild it to meet as nearly possible the qualities of TKL Core 12 - the foundation for all of TKL's appliances. From that foundation, there's Calibre installed from repo and preconfigured as a headless server. The intention is that the calibre library will be managed from a more capable gui workstation, than synced with the Raspberry Pi appliance using rsync or a similar strategy. More info here: http://gonzotech.tumblr.com...alibre-e-book-server-for-raspi
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