How to Add a Kindle DRM-Removal Plugin to calibre

9740648442_83e4f12bf3_bUpdate: These instructions were updated on  11 July 2015. 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.

 

The process is minimally difficult and I'd like to share it with you. But first, a few warnings.

Warning

  • 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.

TL;DR

Here's the short-short version: You need to get the DeDRM plugin from Apprentice Alf and install it in calibre (and reboot calibre). Once you've installed the plugin, all you have to do is find where Kindle4PC put the ebooks on your computer and drag each ebook into calibre (everything else is automatic).

Luckily for you, you only have to go through the set up process once in order to remove Kindle, Nook, and Adobe DE DRM. (Kobo is a separate process.) If you've followed my instructions for removing Nook DRM then you've already finished the process of setting up to strip Kindle DRM, and you can skip to the end of this post.

First Things First

You need to download and install these apps on your computer. If you have either 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 it's being installed, go to the Apprentice Alf website and download the ZIP file full of plugins.

Got everything installed? Good.

  1. UnZip the ZIP file you just downloaded. Open the folder called calibre and you should see a folder full of plugins.
  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.
  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.
  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".
  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.
  7. Shut down calibre and launch it again. Some times the plugin won't kick in until you after you do this.

Yippee!

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:

  • AZW/AZW1/AZW2/AZW3
  • MOBI
  • PRC
  • TPZ

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 to Epub, you won't have this issue.

images by pellestenRosino

About Nate Hoffelder (11210 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

21 Comments on How to Add a Kindle DRM-Removal Plugin to calibre

  1. Thankyou!

  2. Dear, I downloaded the latest version of tools but is not working to convert Amazon Books with PRC format, can you help me?
    thank you

    • I’m pretty sure that an Amazon book in the PRC format has no DRM (unless you bought it a log oong time ago as a Mobipocket ebook). You should be able to just copy it into calibre and use it as is.

  3. > I have long been on the side of removing DRM (it’s the best way
    > to protect your purchases)

    No it’s not. That’s an excuse to steal content. You ONLY purchases a license for that product ON THAT DEVICE. FFS grow up.

  4. > I have long been on the side of removing DRM (it’s the best way
    > to protect your purchases)

    No it’s not. That’s an excuse to steal content. You ONLY purchased a license for that product ON THAT DEVICE. FFS grow up.

  5. There was such an unbelievable amount of nonsense at the top of this thread that it hurt my head to continue. Perhaps someone inserted the following sanity in that which I skipped but I kinda doubt it so I’ll take the time to do it.

    First — assuming that you don’t share the converted book openly (and, likely, even if you do) — the Amazon Police Department is probably not gonna break down your door, nor will they do so if you happen to tell others how to de-drm … what kind of idiot would suppose that they would?

    Second — for Amazon — the de-drm plug-in requires that you have a legitimate copy of the book to begin with and it checks this by comparing the serial number of the device that’s doing the conversion against the serial number of the device that’s associated with the retail sale. Enter that serial number for your device into the plug-in and you can download the book you purchased from Amazon, drag the file into Calibre and it will automatically convert. It’s the same process for Kindle for PC; it’s just that the PC is already associated with the drm-protected ebook so you don’t have to enter that information into the plug-in.

    BTW, the conversion removes the serial number of your device from the ebook so if someone should steal your pc with the Calibre library and distribute that library of ebooks to the world, the world would never know that they came from you (at least, they wouldn’t from the ebook itself)

    Third — if Amazon really gave a shit about any of this, they’d change the protection scheme. Clearly, they know that drm has been hacked but what they also know, I’m guessing, is that Calibre allows users to easily change the typography of the book — margins, justification, fonts, paragraph spacing — in ways that Amazon can’t AND THAT keeps users from fleeing to Kobo which does all of those things. Those changes require that drm be disabled. That’s maybe why Amazon doesn’t care a whole lot about it.

    Fourth, what Amazon probably ALSO knows is that Usenet — that giant untraceable, anonymous black hat library in the sky — has just about every book ever written residing on it and — if one is so inclined — any and all of it can be downloaded; far easier than Overdrive, in fact. The way it’s set up, it is completely untraceable for content coming into it and going out of it, thus making it unstoppable. Getting nasty with drm won’t accomplish anything except for driving folks to that Usenet and away from legitimate Internet bookstores.

  6. I have used Alf’s DeDRM and followed the instructions to the letter including deleting other DRM plugins. There doesn’t seen to be anything to configure, but it doesn’t work for me trying to convert an AZW book that is already in Calibre to a MOBI format.
    I also tried saving the file to the desktop then reimporting it but this doesn’t seem to make a difference.
    Am I doing something wrong or is the DRM updated?

    • I’m not sure what the problem is here.

      Tell me about the ebook in question. What is the title/listing page? What is inside?

      Can you read the ebook in calibre’s ebook viewer?

      • I also have a problem with loading/viewing an AZW file. I am able to import/view/convert .mobi files but get stuck with a 2015 .azw file. I recently updated to Calibre 2.78 and the v6.5.3 release plugin. No viewing, no converting the .azw file. Tried to remove all books and then load the .azw file into Calibre, no luck. I do see the file listed in the Calibre Library, can see its preview and metadata, but I can’t open/read the book or convert to .epub.

  7. this scheme doesn’t work with calibre 2.7 because there is no option to load a plugin from file. not that i can find. so we have to find an old version of calibre? or it is all a no-go?

  8. You do? !! Where is it? Mine has gone now, I installed a previous version and motored on from there. Have done what I wanted to do. But I’d still like to know. I looked many times, couldn’t see it. Looked at the pics of people using previous versions and saw where the choice was – on a second line of options below the first at the bottom of the screen. I got no such line of options.
    I better install it again and take a screenshot…

    🙂

  9. I’m doing it all again now. I notice that I downloaded calibre 32 bit last time. I’m pretty sure. Wouldn’t matter though, really, would it? This is a 64 bit win10 system but it usually runs all 32 bit apps okay.

    Pity I didn’t try a side by side install. I uninstalled before I installed the ‘old’ version.

    We’ll see.

  10. Well here’s what I see, on this page:
    http://bullockornis.com/
    no options at all…

    • I just figured this one out myself. You have to go to the top right where it says properties, then click ‘change calibre behavior’. After that, you’ll see plugins on the bottom with advanced, then there’s the option to load plugin from file.

      I’m trying to strip the DRM from a textbook rental. Not proud, but broke. So far no success but please let me know if you find something I don’t. Cheers.

  11. For anyone following this thread and perhaps coming across the same problem I did the answer is there’s two ways to get to the add-ons page. I took the wrong route. Go the right way and you get the screen with ‘options’.

    I got an email about it. I thought from this thread but I see nothing there. So that’s why I’m posting this.

    I followed that instruction, got the right page up, made the changes and all’s good for me. 🙂

  12. If I downloaded the book from Amazon to be transfered to my kindle, will it automatically strip the DMR when I upload the book into Calibre?

  13. as of 03/17/2017
    Installed plugin, installation went smoothly, but it would seem that the new Kindle files are impervious to this remedy, as I am unable to convert the files.
    Is there an update ?

    • I forgot to update this post (sorry), but I do know the problem. Kindle 4 PC has been updated so that it now supports the newer KFX format, and cannot download the older Kindle format.

      The DRM on that format has not been broken, so this hack no longer works.

      Just a second and I will find you an older version of K4PC which still works the old way.

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