Update: These instructions were updated on 22 August 2013. They worked for me on that day.
DRM is the bugaboo of ebooks. It’s the cause of more pain and agony than a Snooki photo, and today I plan to help fix that. I have long been on the side of removing DRM (it’s the best way to protect your purchases), but up until today I had never gone beyond pointing my readers at tools.
A few hours ago I was reading a post on Cult Of Mac. They explained an easy way for someone to automate a process for converting Kindle ebooks to Epub and transferring them into iTunes. It’s OSX only, of course, but I gave it a try on my windows laptop anyway. I wanted to see how good their instructions were before I shared the link.
I figured I’d get as far as removing the DRM before being forced to stop.
Unfortunately, CoM glossed over the setting up the DRM removing plugin in calibre so that post isn’t nearly as useful as I would have liked. But I’m not one to stop a project once I’ve gotten started, so I went ahead and set up calibre so it can remove Kindle DRM.
The process is minimally difficult and I’d like to share it with you.
- Note that these instructions are Windows only, and some details will be different between the various versions of Windows.
- Note that these instructions were written without the permission or participation of Kovid Goyal, the creator of calibre.
- These instructions are written in order to assist the average user in protecting their purchases. I did not write it to assist in committing piracy; I believe in buying content, when possible. But I also believe in controlling the content I buy and that is why I strip the DRM.
First Things First
You need to download and install these apps on your computer. If you have any of them then you do not need to install them again:
Calibre is of course the ebook library management tool. I’ve mentioned it once or twice, and that’s what you’re going to use to remove the DRM. And K4PC is how you’ll download the ebooks.
Install the apps one at a time (and set up your account with the K4PC app, if you haven’t already). While they’re being installed, go download this ZIP file full of plugins:
Got everything installed? Good.
- UnZip the ZIP file you just downloaded. Open the folder called calibre and you should see a folder full of plugins.
- Launch calibre. When it’s open, look at the icons on the top row. There’s one on the far right called “Preferences”. Click on it.
- It will bring up a new window with a bunch of icons. Look on the bottom row for the one that says “plugins”. Click it.
- And now you’ll get another new window. Look at the buttons on the bottom row. Click on the one that says “load plugin from file”.
- Use the file browser window to find the folder you downloaded. Open it, and then open the DeDRM_calibre_plugin folder.
- There should only be a single ZIP file in that folder, and it should be called “DeDRM_plugin”. Double click to select it.
- Shut down calibre and launch it again. Some times the plugin won’t kick in until you after you do this.
You’ve just installed and configured the plugin (assuming all went well). You should be able to copy any ebook you’ve downloaded from the K4PC app to calibre. Calibre should now be able to read the ebooks and convert them to whatever format you prefer.
But before you can do that you’ll need to find out where the Kindle ebooks are stored. This varies depending on which version of Windows you’re running, but they can usually be found under the My Documents folder. I’m looking at my Win 7 laptop right now and the Kindle ebooks are found in “My Kindle Content” under My Documents.
The ones you will need to copy are:
After you copy the files into calibre, you might have some trouble getting calibre to open them so you can read them. Windows will need to be told that calibre can open the files. This should only happen once, so it’s a relatively minor issue.
Note that if you simply convert the ebooks, you won’t have this issue.