I don't know what to do to get my Calibre library back.

I have tried restoring my Calibre library from backups, and either get a message that no valid library is present when I try to switch libraries in the Calibre app, or, it seems to import my backup library, then shows zero books.

I have attempted this restoring while Calibre is closed, per earlier instructions. I end up with multiple Calibre directories that I didn't create.

I don't know what exactly I did to create this mess, but the more I try to fix it, the worse it seems to get. I have the ebook files on my computer, it's just trying to get them into a Calibre library that I am having problems with. Have spent more time than I want to admit trying to fix this.

I just want to restore or create a working library in Calibre. Is there not any way just to start from scratch?

2 Answers 2


You can:

  1. Close the Calibre application.

  2. Go into your Calibre library directory.

  3. Rename the file metadata.db to something else, such as metadata.db.old.

  4. Start Calibre again.

Renaming or deleting the file containing your Calibre library will cause Calibre to re-create an empty database (a new file metadata.db) at the next start.

If your e-book files are still all present in folders below your Calibre library directory, you can now also click on the dropdown arrow next to the button with your library's name in Calibre, and then choose "Library maintenance → Restore database". This will re-import the e-books from the database directory, and all metadata about them that you might have entered before. (This metadata is stored not just in the database but also in .opf files in the folders of each e-book within the Calibre database folder.)

In fact, when "Restore database" is appropriate, you may also do only that step. Removing the database file first is not needed, as that step completely overwrites its content.

  • Thanks very much, I appreciate the help and detailed response.
    – ChipAhoy
    Jul 28, 2021 at 23:59

Select Calibre Library > Switch/Create Library > Create an empty library... > Choose location for new Calibre library and re-import all your books.

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