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Streaming - Frequently Asked Questions

What is streaming?

Streaming is a live feed from the internet – it is like BBC iplayer.

Is streaming the same as downloading?

No, streaming is different from downloads as it does not store the file on the users PC (or other device). Calibre plans to add a download service but we are currently prevented from doing so because
a) publishers have raised objections about possible copyright breaches
b) commercial services that we have investigated are not sufficiently VI friendly

Which Calibre books can be streamed?

All our digital titles – that's 6,500 books! Streaming uses the same MP3 files as our CDs and memory sticks, with the same 10 minute tracks.

What can members use to stream?

Smart Phones
Newer web enabled Kindles such as the Kindle Fire and Fire HD
Newer web enabled ipods
The device must have a web browsing facility

What internet browsers work with streaming?

Internet Explorer – version 8 upwards
Mozilla Firefox
Google Chrome
Apple Safari
If you are using an old version of a browser, you may need to update it. There is no cost to do this.

Which Screen Readers work with Calibre’s website and streaming?

NVDA (free!)
Dolphin Supernova
Window Eyes (with a few tweaks to the browser that most users are familiar with)
Unfortunately the site will not work with Dolphin Guide.

What  restrictions apply?

Streaming is available to EU members only (copyright restrictions)
Streaming is only available to individual members – not schools, groups, care homes etc.

What does it cost to stream Calibre books?

There is no charge for existing members to join Calibre’s streaming service.
For new members the same joining fee applies as for our postal service (i.e. £35 adult/£20 Young Calibre)

How do I sign up for streaming?

Existing members must have their account enabled for streaming before they can use the service. Login details and guidelines on how to use the service will then be sent by email.

Can I still receive books by post if I choose to stream?

Yes, you will note that the e-mail sent when streaming is enabled asks you to tell us if  you would like to stop receiving books by post. Unless you advise us otherwise, your postal service will continue.

What about bookmarking?

The streaming service automatically bookmarks so the book should resume where the previous session concluded. Bookmarks are linked to your member login so will be transported from one device to another e.g. from a PC to a phone

Why can’t I listen to x-rated books?

Again you will see that the e-mail sent explains that preferences on x-rating follow those set up for books by post. This can be changed by request.

What size are Calibre books?

This varies greatly depending on the length of the book and can be anything from 50MB to 1.2GB. We recommend that you check your broadband/mobile contracts to ensure you have unlimited or at least high data allowances, otherwise you may incur high costs. Each book is shown with a length (in hours & minutes) against it but not a file size.

Can I listen to several books at once?

Yes, a number of books can be chosen for the online booklist. However it is easier to manage if kept to 10 books or less. There is no need to add a lot of books at once as titles are available to stream at any time with no waiting.

Known Problems

Duplication of books

Members using streaming and one of Calibre’s postal service may receive by post a book they have already streamed. The two services are not linked currently so we cannot prevent this – just return the unwanted postal book which will trigger issue of a different one. Members with postal wish lists may want to call in to remove titles they have streamed. However duplication may still occur through issues by category. The two services will not be linked in the foreseeable future.

Apple devices

Ipad, iphone etc can think the user is in Cleveland Ohio and therefore disallow streaming access. If the member logs in at a PC first this normally gets round this issue as their wifi picks up the correct location. There are no problems with Apple devices used via w-fi, the problems relate to 3G service only.


These can appear to stop a book – the book can normally be resumed by tapping the screen. Alternatively the screensaver setting can be amended to set for a longer time before the screensaver kicks in or to switch the screensaving facility off.

Failure to bookmark

This is often overcome by adding Calibre to the list of trusted sites (especially in Internet Explorer)
3G on mobile devices can offer a patchy service, depending on location – this is the same with any internet provision.

Poor internet reception

This may mean that books cue for a long time and are prone to stopping and starting. Streaming places quite a high demand on the internet connection so may be a problem if the service or equipment is poor or outdated.