How to Add a Nook DRM-Removal Plugin to calibre

A few months ago I posted a how-to post on removing DRM from Kindle ebooks, and to my surprise it is one of the most read and most shared posts on this blog.

Clearly that is a sign that lots of readers need help in this area, so today I’d like to share a similar set of instructions for removing DRM from ebooks purchased from Barnes & Noble. The process is fairly similar to the steps needed to remove Kindle DRM. Both require calibre, and both require installing a plugin which will do the work for you.

  • 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.
  • Note that these instructions are Windows only, and some details will be different between the various versions of Windows. They were also written without the permission or participation of Kovid Goyal, the creator of calibre.

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 Nook4PC is the most straightforward way to download the ebooks. Note that you will need to specifically download them and not simply double click on a title; you can find the download button under the options button for each title. Look in the library menu.

Edit: A reader has pointed out that if you have a Nook then you don’t have to install Nook4PC. Calibre can pull the ebooks off your Nook automagically.

Set up your account with B&N and make sure you download the ebooks you bought. Install calibre. While they’re being installed, go download this ZIP file full of plugins:

Got everything installed? Good.

  1. UnZip the ZIP file you just downloaded.
  2. 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. See Pic 1.
  3. 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. See Pic 2.
  4. 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”. See Pic 3.
  5. Use the file browser window to find the folder you downloaded. Open it, and then open the DeDRM_calibre_plugin folder.
  6. There should only be a single ZIP file in that folder, and it should be called “DeDRM_plugin”. Double click to select it.

Here’s where things get a tad difficult. Before this plugin will work you will need to configure it.  You should see the plugin you just installed highlighted in the menu. Click on the button at the bottom of the menu that says “customize plugin”. See Pic 4.

Type in the credit card number and name used to purchase the ebooks. Separate the name and CC number with a comma. If you bought ebooks with multiple credit cards, you can enter them on the same line. Just separate the name-number pairs with a colon. Like (name,number: name:number). See Pic 5.

The name you need to type in might be the one associated with your shipping address. That’s how mine worked.

Note: If you cannot find the older CC info, enter a current number into your account at B&N. Delete the older copies of the ebooks bought with the older credit cards and download them again. This will let you use the current cc info to de-DRM the ebooks. (I just tried this and it worked.)

Final Step: Shut down calibre and launch it again. Some times the plugin won’t kick in until you after you do this.

At this point the plugin should be working, but we won’t know until you try it for the first time. You’ll need to copy over the ebooks you downloaded, which you should be able to find inside a folder inside the My Documents folder. Copy and paste the files into calibre.

Edit: Or, you can let calibre copy the ebooks off your Nook via the USB cable.

Try to read them with calibre. If you can do so then you succeeded in removing the DRM (or the files didn’t have DRM in the first place). If you cannot read them, try to reenter the credit card info. Then try to copy the files over to calibre again.

Addendum: There are files which Nook4PC won’t download. That app doesn’t support everything B&N sells, so for some ebooks you will need to get the files off your smartphone of tablet and then copy them into calibre.  The name,number pair you entered above should work to remove the DRM.

67 thoughts on “How to Add a Nook DRM-Removal Plugin to calibre

  1. Who wrote the software (plug-in?) that I’m giving my credit card info to in order to decrypt the DRM? How do I know that my CC account won’t be compromised by using this software?

    Also, isn’t this plug-in in direct violation of the DMCA? How are they getting around that?

      1. I would just be wary that you’re using a piece of software that is probably illegal (not illegal to use – illegal to produce and distribute according to DMCA), and you don’t know who wrote it (or possibly modified the version you’re about to use somewhere along the way), and then you’re blindly handing it your credit card info.

        As a software engineer, that’s just a bit too spooky for me. If the source is available and you can audit and build it yourself, that would go a long way toward putting a mind at ease, or if the software was produced by a company that could be sued if they were caught selling valid CC accounts on the black market. That would be another indication that the software was somewhat legitimate. But apparently there are neither of these assurances with this particular plug-in, so who knows what it’s doing with your CC number or any other personal info on your machine.

        Besides, let’s be honest here – you actually have no idea if those “thousands of other users” had their CC numbers stuffed away in a Russian database of stolen credit cards somewhere. What you probably meant to say was, “…except for the fact that I haven’t heard of anyone getting their CC account compromised by using what appears to be a popular plug-in.”

        1. The source _is_ available. The plugin is a ZIP file wrapped around a php script. You can look at the php any time you want.

          And I do know of the person who developed this one originally as well as indirectly know the person maintaining it.

    1. Anyone who is concerned about using the Calibre DRM-removal software can limit their potential risk from their credit card number being illegitimately used. Simply buy ebooks using only Visa gift cards with a low starting balance. Gift cards are often available at banks and grocery stores, and can be acquired without any fee for just the cash value of the starting balance.

    2. I tried the credit card thing with a prepaid card I don’t use much (put the CC on my account to see if worked). Not only did it not work, but then it wouldn’t let me log into the plugin to delete the info. I had to delete the plugins. Anything like this that asks your payment info is a scam.

      1. That’s not true. B&N uses your payment information as a part of the key, the only way for the software to work without that knowledge would be to brute force the key. Or find an outright crack.

        What the software does effectively is take the key that you have for your copy and permanently unlocks it.

        Calling it a scam just because it asks for that information when that information is essential to the progress isn’t fair.

  2. I trust Apprentice Alf, Nate Hoffelder, and Kovid Goyal (I also think Americans will vote smart in November, so take my opinion with a hardy dose of scepticism). It doesn’t change the fact that B&N encoding your credit card information into the DRM scheme was a classically stupid thing to do. This is the single reason I will buy no ebooks from B&N. I’d choose them over Amazon else. It’s only a matter of time before credit card information is cracked from people’s B&N ebooks. That’s just the way the Great Game is played.

    1. I download directly to Calibre too from the Barnes and Noble site. I have to put most Kobo books into Adobe before I can import them to Calibre though.

    2. You’re assuming that the card is used in a reversible way. As I recall when I looked at ignoble some time ago, it isn’t – it’s hashed (ie, passed through a one-way algorithm) that uses the name and card number as initialization values.

      Short of brute forcing for the two factors, there isn’t/shouldn’t be a way to extract the CC# from the book.

  3. Thanks again for posting this, I followed the plugin’s instructions (enter B&N account name) and it wasn’t working, it was only after I read your post that the light bulb turned on and I used my mailing address name and everything worked like a charm.

    For those paranoid souls (it’s only paranoid until it happens… so understandable) This is a pretty low risk endeavor, the source is all open code, you can poke around and see if there are any malicious links or IP’s hidden in there before you do anything.

  4. I have tried this several time and can not get to work in my win 7.followed the instructions
    And can’t get it to work.

    1. The trick is to get your name and CC info exactly the same as given to B&N.
      Yes, I used it on Win7. Followed the instructions as given but I didn’t use nook for PC, I just downloaded the file from B&N to my desktop and them added it to calibre.

      WORKS GREAT. THANKS NATE.

      Wife happy – books passing between my Nook and her Kobo.

  5. I did everything I was suppose to do and nada. The message says, “this plugin no longer uses “.b64 keyfiles stored in calibre’s configuration directory. Do you have any existing key files there or anywhere that you’d like to migrate into the new plugin preferince method?” So no luck for me. Guess everything changed with the new calibre upgrade. Bummer.

    1. I’m also having trouble getting this to work – it mentions the bit about .b64 – and I’m certain I entered my info right in the plugin key. I very much would like to know what else to try?

  6. I’ve tried using all combination (full name,only first name, only last name, combined without space, email address) all with the same cc number I used to purchase the ebook. But none is works.

    any other idea?

  7. I am unable to download the Calibre program. I have made no less than 10 attempts in the last hour, and it continues to stall during download, at various points: 65%, 68%, 75%, 98%, etc.

    Any ideas?

  8. To be more secure, I updated my default BN credit card with one that never has a large balance. But that’s not how it works. Two things I had to pay attention to:
    1) use the credit card with which the books were purchased
    2) use the name I have under my shipping address (which is the name that is on the credit card, I think)

    Then the key worked, using the latest version of Calibre updated today.

    I did not understand this instruction: “You’ll need to copy over the ebooks you downloaded, which you should be able to find inside a folder inside the My Documents folder. Copy and paste the files into calibre.”

    I just imported the epubs from the folder to which I had saved them on my pc.

    Thanks a lot!

  9. Does the plugin remove DRM from NOOK Comics? I think I have a different DRM removal plugin installed right now, and I recently tried copying the comic files from my tablet and adding them to Calibre, but I still get a DRM popup.

  10. Plugin for new calibre v 0.9.5 works nicely – thanks!
    Ref step 6 above, I didn’t get to “Ignobleepub.zip” to select. The new version of calibre allows to select “DeDRM_plugin.zip”. Then execute the “Pict 4″ instruction.
    Pict 5 is not valid for the new calibre, which is now menu driven:
    – select the appropriate reader format
    – then select the green plus sign
    I had to delete my previously added book and re-add the title for the DRM to remove.

    1. It’s still not working for me. I bought a B&N ebook with a B&N gift card, so that is the cc info I entered under Pict 5 with the green plus sign. I removed the ebook from Calibre and added it again, and it still gives me an error saying it’s protected by DRM when I hit convert. Am I missing something?

      1. Adam, I bought some with a BN gift card but I also had to put a default credit card before it would let me use it. You may need to enter that default cc info you used when you created the new account. Let me know if that worked for you.

    2. Thanks Gary! I was about to give up until i saw your comment about removing the book from calibre and RE-ADDING it. That was key!

      Michael

    3. thanks!!! it wasn’t working for me until I read your comment about deleting my library and re-adding them!! works perfect now. Thanks for the comment!

  11. P.S. – Also, note that the “name” for the B&K (Nook) acct when configuring the plug in, needs to be the name on the B&K acct, not the name on the credit card used for purchase.

  12. Hi.
    I cannot get this to work. I think it is setup right. The problem is that my nook simple touch glowlight hides the books in a partition (I think) so calibre cannot access it. As I am a UK customer, even though I managed to find a download of nook4pc for my windows7 pc, it defaults to the USA .com site so I cannot download my books to my PC. I am a bit stuck. Finally, there does not seem to be any feature on the UK nook site for downloading a book to a pc. Does anyone know where I can get help or advice?
    Thanks
    David

    1. David:
      I am also in the UK and like you have set up Nook for PC; I cannot see any of my UK Nook purchases, though the three free classic novels I downloaded to my Nook are there. The only solution I could find was to install Nook for Android on my phone, copy the epub files to my PC and import into Calibre from there. Do you have an Android device?

      Fred

  13. David/Fred

    I’m having troubles with this, can get the epub on my Android device no problem, but it then fails to allow me to ‘import correctly’ to Calibre.

    Have tried adding the epub to Nook for PC and it keeps asking for name and credit card number – driving me nuts!!

    1. Craig:
      I’m assuming you have installed Calibre for Windows, and installed the DeDRM plugin; and you’ve configured the plugin for Barnes and Noble ebooks by adding a key with a name (any name will do) your own name, and the credit card number associated with your Nook account.
      If it doesn’t work I think it’s most likely that it doesn’t like the formatting of your name. I first tried
      fred shadow
      all lowercase, as it appears on the B&N account page; that didn’t work.
      I then added two more keys with the names
      Fred Shadow
      Mr Fred Shadow
      using the same credit card number, and one of them must have been right, as I could then import the epubs into calibre.

      Fred

    2. As Nook.co.uk does not offer Nook for PC at the moment, I tried this…

      I have managed to get the books into Android Nook as well….
      Calibre ‘seems’ to import them OK – well there is no error message! But when I try to view, I get File Protected by DRM (or something similar) warning. I have tried all permutations of name and CC number – to no avail..

      I also tried to sideload these into Nook for PC (from the B&N.com site) – but again it says locked, and wants name and CC. Again tried all permutations to no avail.

      Is Nook for Android using a different DRM??

      1. Hi Andy
        I’m no expert, but have you definitely installed the plugin as described by Fred on 12th June (above). If yes, I’ll just summarise what seems to work for me (Thanks to Fred). I download to my Android phone and copy the files across to my pc. The open Calibre and ‘Add books’. The book is now in epub format. and saved in my Calibre library ready for me to use.
        Sorry if this is repeating what you already know.
        David

        1. Thanks David,
          ALL help gratefully received!
          I *think* I am doing it all correctly!
          If I use the Nook/PC app – from the (US) B&N Site, I can download just a few of by ebooks (as this is the American site) – and I can open / convert them in Calibre with no problem.
          If I down load my UK books (that I can’t see on the PC app) via the Android App, and then try to open / convert them, Calibre seems to open them OK, but if I try to view / convert them, I get the dreaded DRM message,
          So…. not sure where to go from here! I am wondering whether having the US PC app loaded is affecting Calibre…
          Might try it on another PC without the PC app loaded.
          (getting to the stage where I will try anything!!)
          Also…. I have tried using different variations of my name / CC on the plug in, but the plug in tells me that John Doe / john doe / JohnDoe all give the same key, which seems strange given earlier posts…
          Andy

  14. Hi,

    I purchased a book which does not available for Mac/PC Nook app to download but available for Nook mobile apps (iOS, Android). I extract an DRM epub from my iOS device, it is actually a PDF file but ends with .epub extension (PagePerfect Nook book). Any way to remove DRM from this file? Maybe it uses different drm sustem…

    1. I’m in the same boat. I added a graphic novel I bought on the NOOK to calibre, but it couldn’t remove the DRM. I think these files have a different type of DRM encryption.

  15. ASKING FOR HELP TO STRIP DRM ON B&N PDFs (PagePerfect NOOKBOOKS):

    Hi All,
    I am completely stuck – I’m trying to remove DRM on a PagePerfect NookBook. I live in Canada and we cannot buy Nooks here, so I use Nook4PC apps to view books I’ve downloaded. I prefer to strip the DRM so I can view them in Calibre, and read them on my e-reader – neither will allow me to view the encrypted PDF. I have tried to download the book using Nook4PC – but the book refuses to download (not available for download on this device, Error 2138 message).

    When I used the latest NookStudy (for PC) app (v.2.1.2), the book appeared in my library and downloaded as a PDF file. HOWEVER, I could not remove the DRM!! I tried to use ineptpdf (or the variation, ineptpdf2) – one site mentions that this worked for others (reddit.com). It didn’t work for me. I got an error (error: pdf error error decrypting book session key). I thought perhaps the new NookStudy app uses a different DRM scheme (this was an issue with K4PC books for a while). So with much ado, I finally found an older copy of NookStudy (v 2.0.2 from 2009-2011)- I installed that version of NookStudy onto my PC and tried to download the PDF using that app. Turns out that the older NookStudy won’t even SHOW my new PagePerfect NookBooks!! I can’t download them…I can’t even see them!!

    I’m completely stumped.

    PLEASE, CAN SOMEONE HELP ME STRIP DRM ON B&N PDFs?? (PagePerfect NookBooks)

  16. Used the method above. Imported ~80 books from B&N nook4pc. All downloaded from same account and at same time. 50 book came though fine to Calibre and 30 are still locked. How can i get the last 30 unlocked?

  17. When I download a nook EPUB, with the DRM removal stuff installed, once I open the EPUB, is the DRM permanently gone from the file, or do I have to “convert” my EPUB into another EPUB that would have the DRM removed?

    Great tool, seems to work OK for me.

    1. From my experience, you just get a DRM stripped copy when you add the NOOK books to calibre. You shouldn’t need to convert anything. Just open it in calibre to be sure. If it opens fine with no DRM notification, you should be good.

  18. I think you need to convert to be sure. You could even convert back to the original format… That way you are sure your Calibre library file of the ebook is definitely DRM free.

    Just make sure you use Calibre ONLY to create backups of your purchased ebooks and not to share them with anyone…. :)

  19. Just a small update on this wonderful guide (very successful and satisfied!): if you are trying to do this with a text book from B&N’s NookStudy program, you’ll have to configure the plugin for Adobe Digital Editions.

    1. What do you mean by configure? I am trying to do the same thing you are how did you get it to work? Can you explain step by step please? I would appreciate it gratefully!

    1. Can anyone give me a DEFINITE answer? When the book has been paid for with a GIFT CARD, do you enter the 16-digit default Credit Card number or the 15-digit Gift Card number?

      I have not had a problem decrypting until using the gift card for payment. I’ve now tried both numbers and neither one works using the acct name that has always worked prior to this.

      Presumably, there is no way to tell whether the name or the cc number is the problem?

      THANKS for any ideas…

  20. It’s not working for me. Like another user asked, how do I remove the DRM from a pageperfect nookbook? This type of book doesn’t open with nook for PC, it only opens with the nookstudy app. It says that it’s a pdf but when I try to open it with Adobe Reader, I get a message saying that the document requires drm features supported by Adobe Digital Editions and gives me the option to open it via ADE. However, ADE can’t open it and all I get is a blank.

    Is it even possible to remove drm from a pageperfect nookbook? I would’ve never bought this had I known before!

      1. I tried with the newest ADE version today and it asks for the username and unlock code (which I suppose comes from my cc). Even if the new ADE can’t open it, I wanted to know if the username and unlock code still comes from the cc number I have with B&N? I entered everything correctly and still got invalid username/password. Or is the DRM scheme different or unbreakable with pageperfect books?

  21. Thanks for what seems to be at least a partial fix to my problem. I have downloaded (purchased) a technical book from B&N, and would like to be able to export it so that I can print it so I have a readily available copy for reference at my desk instead of having to pull out yet another device to look something up. (Sometimes an regular old page turner Is easier to follow lol). Does anyone know of a way I can do this if I get this plugin to work? Thanks in advance!

  22. Followed the directions step-by-step, was able to successfully remove the DRM and can now put the Nook books I bought on my Kindle.

    Can’t thank you enough for explaining this.

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