The spread of ebooks is a wonderful thing for anyone who loves reading. Or for those used to study and work on the PC. Among the many advantages, from taking notes and copying songs to sharing and looking for excerpts, there is also one quite special: we can easily merge and divide ebooks. The reasons for doing so can be the most varied, from putting in order a collection of poems until the creation of our personal anthology. But it is not the motivations that I want to discuss but a more practical thing, or how to do it without losing too much time. Of course I take it for granted that an ebook in DOC or RTF format is easily managed by anyone, so I will focus on the more complex case, ebook in ePub format.
What we need
The best thing is to use Caliber, the best program to manage and organize a digital library. Needless to say, it is also free, and packed with features. I think it’s practically known by all digital readers.
The second thing we need, excluding ebooks, is the EpubMerge/Split plugin to incorporate into Caliber. To install it just go to the Caliber Preferences menu and choose the Get plugins to enhance caliber option.
In this way we can browse through all the plugins available for Caliber and choose the one that interests us. After highlighting click on Install, and then confirm that you know the risks.
While we have also set up the ability to call the plugin directly from the context menu, thus simplifying life later. And let’s restart Caliber to finish the installation.
After installing all the plugins we need, the one to split and the one to merge ebooks, we can change the settings manually.
Not that it is necessary to change much, and for the first times it is advisable not to touch anything. But, later on, with a little more experience, maybe we’ll find it convenient to customize some aspects of the union and division of our ebook.
How to combine the epubs
Once the program has been fixed, we can start by bringing together some ebooks in a single digital book. First we have to select various files on which we intend to intervene, and then click on the Merge Epubs menu. In this way a new mask will appear with the list of highlighted books and up and down arrows. What are they for? To sort the position where the various books will be joined.
After having given the OK we will find ourselves in a second window, a window in which we will be able to insert and modify the metadata of our new book. By default title, cover, author will be taken from the first selected ebook but, of course, we can change everything by inserting the right things in the right place.
When we have finished arranging the metadata, we can effectively merge the various ebooks. The operation may take some time, depends a lot on our computer and the size of the various books.
But the result is worth the wait: at the end of everything we will have a new ebook in our library, an ebook created by joining the others. And, importantly, our new book will already have the indexes arranged and the correct layout.
How to divide an ebook
And the reverse operation? Well, dividing an ebook into several parts is just as easy, just use the corresponding menu.
Obviously, instead of choosing the books to be merged we have to select the section of the volume to be extracted, or the parts in which we intend to divide our ebook.
The choice of metadata is identical to what we have already seen, just as the result is equally good. Or at least corresponding to the quality of the original book.
But there is one thing to keep in mind when we share an ebook with Caliber: the parts we can create are given by the tags used in the original book. Therefore if we want to divide a book that has no indexes or badly laid out, we will have serious difficulties.