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How to convert eBooks from PDF to ePub on Linux

Many eBooks come in PDF formats. While the PDF file format usually works pretty well with eBook apps on Linux, some files can present issues. Issues such as font rendering, pages messing up, etc. For this reason, many users would prefer to convert their books to ePub, a file format that tends to work a bit better in Linux book apps like Calibre, Foliate, and others.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to convert your eBook files from the PDF file format to ePub. To get started, grab your favorite eBook PDF file and follow along with the guide below!

Install Calibre on Linux

Converting eBooks on Linux is best done with Calibre, an eBook manager and editor. In this section of the guide, we’ll walk you through setting up this tool on the desktop, as we cannot go into how to use it without first covering how to set it up.

Installing Calibre on Linux is an easy process, as the app is almost universal, showing up on a majority of Linux operating system repositories as well as the Flathub app store. To start the installation process, launch a terminal window on the Linux desktop. After that, follow the command-line installation instructions covered below that corresponds with the Linux OS you currently use.


On Ubuntu, you’ll be able to get Calibre working by executing the following Apt installation command.

sudo apt install calibre


Those on Debian Linux will be able to install the Calibre eBook tool using the Apt-get command. But beware, Debian’s packages are less up-to-date than other distributions. If you require a more recent version, follow the Flatpak instructions instead.

sudo apt-get install calibre

Arch Linux

Using Arch Linux and want to get Calibre working? Run the following Pacman command.

sudo pacman -S calibre


On Fedora Linux, the Calibre eBook program can be set up using the following Dnf command.

sudo dnf install calibre


On OpenSUSE, users will be able to get stuff working using the Zypper command.

sudo zypper install calibre


Calibre is available for installation as a Flatpak. So, if you can’t get the app working through traditional means (your distribution’s package manager), this is the way to go. To start the installation process, ensure that you have the Flatpak runtime set up. If you do not have it set up, follow this guide here.

After setting up the latest Flatpak runtime on your computer, enter the following commands to get everything working.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

flatpak install flathub com.calibre_ebook.calibre

Convert eBooks from PDF to ePub

Before you can convert an eBook from PDF to ePub, you must add the book to the library. To add a book, do the following. First, locate the “Add books” button in the top-right section of the app, and click on it with the mouse.

After selecting “Add books,” a pop-up window will appear on the screen. In this pop-up window, you will see your home directory. Using the window, locate the PDF eBooks you’d like to convert to ePub and select the “Open” button.

Note: want to add multiple books at once? Hold down the Ctrl button while selecting files. Holding down Ctrl will allow you to select multiple files at a time.

After adding your eBook PDF file to Calibre, it will appear in the descending list of books. From here, we can go over how to convert the book. To start, right-click on the book with the mouse to reveal the right-click menu.

Inside of the right-click menu, there are several options to choose from. Among the options is a menu with the label of “Convert books.” Hover over the “Convert books” button to reveal Calibre’s eBook conversion options. In the “Convert books” menu, find the “Convert individually” option and click on it with the mouse to bring up the Calibre eBook converter window.

Once the Calibre eBook converter window is open, you will see your eBook’s cover, followed by other book information, such as “Title,” “Author,” “Author Sort,” “Publisher,” and others. Fill out this information to the best of your ability.

When all of the book information is filled out, locate the “Output format” menu on the top right, and set it to “EPUB” if it’s not already set to that format. Then, click on the “OK” button to begin the conversion process.

With the “OK” button pressed, Calibre will begin to convert your eBook from the PDF file format to the ePub ebook file format. When the process is complete, a notification will appear on the screen.

The converted eBook file will appear in your Calibre eBook library, sorted into a folder with the author’s name. To gain access to the newly converted book, look to where you initially configured Calibre to store eBooks to.

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