During a rather random bit of googling yesterday around the subject of ebooks, I came across an application called Calibre, which is billed as “the one stop solution to all your ebook needs”. Calibre is available as a free download from the developer’s website, which includes a very helpful animation of its features.

In brief, Calibre allows you to take your collection of ebooks, which come in a variety of formats, convert them to other formats as required, and then download them to whatever handheld ereader device you are using. In my case, it allows me to take ebook content and install it on my iphone, once I downloaded a free ebook reader app, Stanza, from the App Store.

The really cool thing about Calibre is that it allows you to gather news content from the internet and then convert it into ebook format. This is done by directing Calibre to the website of a news organization and then telling it to gather all the RSS feeds on that organization’s website using what Calibre calls a recipe. The html programming for writing a recipe is rather daunting … well, to be truthful, it looks way over my head. However, the Calibre install comes with prewritten recipes for many news sources, including 200+ English language sources. Shortly after installing Calibre on my PC and Stanza on my iphone, I was able to gather the latest issue of the New Yorker and of the New York Review of Books into ebook format and can now read them on my iphone in a matter of minutes. That in itself is just too, too cool, considering that I would have to drive two hours to buy print copies of these two journals.

If you are a news junkie and you have an ebook reader, that feature of Calibre alone is worth a look.