Liberate your Kindle eBooks. Remove DRM!

I finally caved and bought a Kindle.

I’ve been thinking about it for years but I held back because it was a pricy gadget (at the time) and I was concerned about eBook DRM. However, a few months ago I had a lengthy travel to the States and I decided, ‘to hell with it,’ and bought a Kindle to accompany me on my plane flight. Now that I have been using for a few months, I can safely assert that it is one of the best purchases I’ve made in terms of ease and frequency of use. (I’ll spare you of any further I <3 Kindle gushing.)

However, recently I remembered why I hesitated to buy the Kindle in the first place: DRM. I was talking to a friend of mine who is interning at Kobo and their new touch edition Kobo came up in conversation. My thought process at that point went something like this:

The wave of blind rage actually made me conversationally unresponsive for a moment. When I got back home, I immediately set out to rectify this horrendous injustice. Turns out, it is actually so easy for you to remove DRM. This is how.

Free your eBooks from oppression, a 10 min guide

  1. Download the latest DRM tools package and unpack it
  2. Download, install, and run calibre
  3. Install the DRM tools plugin:
    1. Preferences -> Plugins (under the Advanced section)
    2. “Add a new plugin”
    3. Navigate to where you unpacked the plugins and select a .zip file to add
    4. Repeat above for all five .zip archives
  4. Configure the plugins:
    1. Click on “K4PC, K4MAC, Kindle Mobi and Topz DeDRM” plugin and click “Customize”
    2. Add your Kindle serial number in the field. This can be found in the Settings page on your Kindle, accessible by the Menu button from the home screen. The serial number is case sensitive.
  5. Connect your Kindle via USB
  6. Given a minute, calibre will detect your Kindle and will appear in the top menu bar as “Device”. Click “Device”
  7. Select all books you wish to liberate, right click and either “Add books to library” or “Save to disk”

The steps for other DRM schemes such as the Barnes & Noble and Adobe are similar and can be found at the Stream Recorder forums.

Commentary on DRM

Now that you have read the useful part about this post, here is some ranting about DRM; feel free to skip past to the end.

I don’t understand why people think that eBook DRM is a good idea. I don’t claim any knowledge of how authors feel about this whole debacle, but I do know how I feel about it as a consumer.

It blows. Hard.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble would tie me exclusively to their devices and software with no recourse if their DRM format becomes obsolete. Also, what if my Kindle failed and I had to go back to reading on my Nintendo DS, the only portable electronic device I own? In fact, I know exactly what I would do, because I have been doing it for years; I would pirate my books.

I just want publishers to know that they have been losing my business for years because of DRM. I would have gladly shelled out some bucks if the books I wanted were available in a free format which I could use to convert to plain text files. (Or even better, offered in plain text in addition to ePubs and PDFs!) I love supporting the authors who wrote my books and the publishers who made it possible for me to find them. I want publishers to know that they would have lost my business again if circumventing DRM didn’t turn out to be so easy.

I want them to know that they should just get rid of the damn thing.

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