It used to be that you could strip Audible DRM by paying for a $30 app or by running the right python script, but now there may be a simpler option.
Andrew Hickey noticed a couple weeks back that Audible gave you different versions of an audiobook based on which OS you were using.
Windows and macOS users downloaded a DRMed AAX file, but when Hickey was browsing the web from a Linux system, he was offered a DRM-free AA file.
Today, while looking through the comments on File770, I noticed someone linking to a free audiobook short story by Ben Aaronovitch, part of his Rivers of London series. It came out yesterday, and is Audible-only (get it here), I got it because I quite like the Rivers books, and I can always listen to it in my web browser, because it’s only twenty-nine minutes, and I’m not going to complain too much about free (to quote from Nez’s Infinite Tuesday, which I reviewed yesterday, “never complain about the air conditioning on a private jet”).
So I got it, and went to the Library section of the Audible website to see how to listen to it in the browser. I saw a “download” link. Just out of interest I thought I’d download the file — if nothing else, I could store the encrypted file until such time as someone *did* write software to crack the encryption.
Being me, I thought “well, as long as I’ve downloaded it, I might as well just see what happens if I try playing it in VLC” — the filename was ARareBookofCunningDeviceUnabridged_mp3[tons of gibberish].aa, so I thought it *might* be just a wrapper round an MP3 file, though that didn’t seem likely given what I know about Audible’s DRM practices.
I tried it, and it Just Worked.
I thought maybe that was because it was a freebie, so I tried the Sherlock Holmes books. They worked too.
We're still not sure what is going on here, but I have a similar report from a friend, and Hickey found a 4-month-old forum post which appeared to confirm his findings.
It appears that Audible has a DRM loophole for Linux systems, but at this point we don't really have enough data to reach that conclusion with absolute certainty.
If you run Linux, would you mind downloading Audible audiobooks - just to see what happens?
image by davidmulder61