Exporting Calibre database for use with Librarything?
#1  Statch 08-21-2009, 09:35 AM
I really apologize if the answer to this is already somewhere on the forum but I couldn't find it by searching. I have a account and I want to add my ebooks to it, but that's a painful process to do manually. (I have over 800 ebooks.) Since I already have all my ebooks in Calibre, is there a way to export my Calibre database as a .csv file, or perhaps some even easier way to get the information into Librarything?

I found a help ticket from a while back asking the same thing, and the answer was to use 'calibredb list --help' to export the database, but I don't see .csv as one of the options for --output-format.

On a related topic, does anyone else have trouble with ISBNs for ebooks? When I add an ebooks to the Calibre library, it usually shows up with an ISBN, but I can rarely get info from ISBN.db using that ISBN, so I almost always end up choosing an ISBN from a print version, just to get the description of the book into Calibre. So of course if I am able to upload my books into Librarything, they're all going to have ISBNs for print books. That doesn't really matter to me (I'm not a librarian), but I imagine it does to other people so someone may have already figured this out?

#2  Dave_S 08-21-2009, 10:30 AM
Quote Statch
I found a help ticket from a while back asking the same thing, and the answer was to use 'calibredb list --help' to export the database, but I don't see .csv as one of the options for --output-format.
Someone else my be able to provide more help, but a CSV file type just means a text file with Comma Separated Values. Why not export the database using the "text" option of "output-format" with the "separator" option set to use a comma?

#3  Statch 08-21-2009, 01:53 PM
Dave, thanks very much. That did work. I used a very simple method for doing this, and will describe it here as a jumping-off point for anyone else who wants to do the same thing.

The very simple way to get a list of your Calibre ebooks into your account is to ask Calibre to create a simple list of ISBNs. You'll import that into, which will look up all the ISBNs and create a library list. An alternative is to provide Librarything with a properly formatted file that contains more information, like tags and ratings, if you want to include more information, but if you don't properly format it, Librarything will just pull the ISBNs and leave the rest.

So I started with the simple ISBN list and am going to fool around with adding other information later.

Here are instructions for creating the ISBN list (written with the non-programmer, like me, in mind):

1. At the command line (Start Menu->Run, then type 'cmd' and click on OK), type:

calibredb list --fields=ISBN > Yourfilename

* Yourfilename is whatever you want to call the file. (The > symbol says to put the output of the calibredb command into the filename that follows the symbol; otherwise, it'll just list the information to the screen, which doesn't help you.)
* Note the directory (folder) path on the command line. It'll look something like C:\Documents and Settings. (When you get to Librarything, you'll need to know which folder the file is in.)
* The --fields=ISBN flag says that you want to create a list that contains only the ISBN, no other information. (The output file will contain an ID number column as well by default.)
* The 'calibredb list' command creates a text file by default so you don't need to specify that.

2. Now go to and log in to your account. Click on the 'Add Books' tab. At the bottom of the page, you'll see 'Other ways to add books.' Click on 'Import Books.' At the top of that page, you'll see 'Import from a File.' Click on the Browse button, navigate to the directory path you noted above, and select your file. Then click on 'Upload.'

3. Because all you've given Librarything is a list of ISBNs, it will take some time for it go to out to databases and pull in information for each one, but when it's done, click on the 'Your Books' tab and you'll see your library listed there.

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