RaspberryPi: Creating an eBook server

So I’ve set up my RaspberryPi to actually do something other than sit there: I’ve turned it into an eBook server using Calibre. I’ll admit it’s similar to the Library Box in concept but works a bit differently from the user’s perspective. (Mainly, the user needs to be on the same network as this server instead of connecting to a specific WiFi signal.)

How to set it up:

  • I’m assuming you’re using Rasperian.
  • Install Calibre via sudo apt-get install calibre. (This installs an older version of Calibre but it’s the only one I can find to work on the Pi.)
  • Instead of running the Calibre GUI and manually starting the Calibre server, you can run the Caliber server from the command line instead. This allows the server to run in the background, using a lot fewer system resources and since it’s done at the command line, you can set it up to run at boot. To do this:
  • $ cd /home/pi
  • $ cd .config
  • If you don’t already have an autostart folder here create it: $ mkdir autostart
  • $ cd autostart
  • Create the autostart file:
  • $ nano calibre-server.desktop
  • Enter the following into the blank file:[Desktop Entry]
    Name=Calibre Server
    Exec=calibre-server --with-library "Calibre Library"

    “Calibre Library” in line four above is the name of the directory containing your Calibre content. Change as needed. The quotes are not necessary if your directory name does not include spaces.

  • CTRL-X | Y to save the file.
  • Reboot

To access the Calibre content go to http://piIPaddress:8080 . (On my network I’d go to

It’ll look something like this:

Calibre Web


2 Replies to “RaspberryPi: Creating an eBook server”

  1. The calibre server is one role that works nicely. Another would be to compile Kiwix for the RPi on Raspbian which would then allow you to serve up mirrors of Wikipedia content. I’ve got that set up on mine for some selected articles that I downloaded as ZIM files using the Book Creator function. Ready-made ZIM files for a variety of languages are available for download too. Apparently you can find out more here where they also talk about a very, very new effort to build a purpose-built hotspot for serving up Wikipedia mirrors: http://www.kiwix.org/wiki/Kiwix-serve/en

  2. @Stephen

    Kiwix provides pre-compiled version of kiwix-serve (ZIM HTTP server) for ARM (like the RaspberryPi):
    * https://sourceforge.net/projects/kiwix/files/0.9_rc2/

    Beside Wikipedia ZIM files, the project has also started to release other files. For example a ZIM file with 2600 e-books of the French literrature (EPUB+PDF format):
    * http://library.kiwix.org/bouquineux/ (demo with kiwix-serve)
    * http://download.kiwix.org/zim/other/bouquineux.zim.torrent

    Wikimedia France with the project Afripedia already proposes hotspots (based on plug-computers) delivering this (we call the solution “kiwix-plug”):
    * http://blog.wikimedia.org/2013/01/24/afripedia-project-increasing-off-line-access-to-wikipedia-in-africa/
    * http://www.kiwix.org/wiki/Kiwix-plug

    We would love to port kiwix-plug to RaspberryPi…. this should be so complicated, kiwix-serve works well on raspberry Pi:

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