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drm removal

When you pay Amazon some money for a Kindle eBook, you probably think it’s yours now. I mean, you paid some money, you got some content, and now you have it, just like any other book you buy at a brick-and-mortar store. Well, that’s wrong. Actually, you didn’t buy anything, and you don’t own that book you just paid for.

Amazon’s official Kindle Store Terms of Use are very clear about this, stating “Kindle Content is licensed, not sold, to you by the Content Provider”. Technically speaking, Amazon can take the book away at any time – simply remove it from your device remotely and delete your account, which wouldn’t be a first for them. If this sounds wrong, and if you think you should actually own a book after clicking a button that says “Buy now with 1-Click” and paying some of your hard-earned money, read on and I’ll show you how to take ownership of your Kindle eBooks.

What DRM Removal Means

After you de-DRM your Kindle books, you will be able to read them on your Kindle as per usual, but you will also be able to convert them to PDFs, ePubs (for reading on a Nook, for example), and any other format. Most importantly, Amazon would never be able to take those books away from you – you get to keep what you bought.

This Is Not About Piracy

A few important caveats you should keep in mind before proceeding with DRM removal:

  • Stripping DRM violates Amazon’s ToS. By taking ownership over the books you paid for, you are doing something they specifically told you not to do. Again, I quote from the Kindle Store ToS: “you may not bypass, modify, defeat, or circumvent security features that protect the Kindle Content.”
  • Stripping DRM may be illegal in your country or state.  Laws change from country to country, and I’m sad to say that in some countries, it is now illegal to actually own content you bought. I am not telling you to break the law, merely informing you about technology. Whatever you do or not do is your own responsibility.
  • If you are a decent human being, I trust that you will not distribute the content you de-DRM. If you do this, you don’t hurt just Amazon, but the individual author who wrote the book you’re sharing with others. That’s just not fair, so please don’t do  it.
  • Last but not least: DRM is a cat-and-mouse game. This method works at the time of this writing, and may stop working tomorrow, as soon as Amazon change things.

If this whole concept of DRM sounds new and unfamiliar, go read James’s recent piece, What Is DRM & Why Does It Exist If It’s So Evil? What Is DRM & Why Does It Exist If It's So Evil? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is DRM & Why Does It Exist If It's So Evil? [MakeUseOf Explains] Digital Rights Management is the latest evolution of copy protection. It’s the biggest cause of user frustration today, but is it justified? Is DRM a necessary evil in this digital age, or is the model... Read More in which he presents some compelling arguments explaining the problems and realities of digital rights management. If it’s not just DRM-free books you’re after, Matt recently published 6 Places To Buy DRM-Free Games 6 Places To Buy DRM-Free Games [MUO Gaming] 6 Places To Buy DRM-Free Games [MUO Gaming] Since I’ve decided not to buy games from Steam, I need to find other sources. Many of them are actually worse than Steam itself. Ubisoft’s store is baffling and full of annoying DRM. Electronic Art’s... Read More , and Justin showed you how to Rip A DRM’d DVD Disk To ISO Format With BDlot DVD ISO Master Rip A DRM'd DVD Disk To ISO Format With BDlot DVD ISO Master [Windows] Rip A DRM'd DVD Disk To ISO Format With BDlot DVD ISO Master [Windows] Watch everything on your favorite DVD, including special features and commentary, from a single file on your hard drive. With the right software you can overcome the file protections on your DVDs and watch them... Read More .

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Ingredients (All Free, Except For Your Book)

drm removal

You will need:

  • A Kindle book (or fifty) you bought and now wish to actually own. These books should all be registered under your Amazon account for this to work.
  • Amazon’s Kindle for PC application. Even if you use Windows 8, get the one that’s labeled “for Windows 7, Vista, and XP.” It works just fine on 8, just doesn’t use the Modern interface.
  • The Calibre eBook manager. Much has been written about this fantastic free application, and we have an entire manual dedicated to it, titled Open Book: Managing Your eBooks With Calibre. You don’t need to read the whole manual to do this.
  • The magic sauce: Apprentice Alf’s DRM Removal Tools for eBooks. This is a ZIP file full of lots of plugins and tools, and we’ll use just one of them.  Download the ZIP and remember where you put it.

Installation

First, download and install Calibre and Kindle for PC.

Then, register Kindle for PC under your account, and download all of the books you wish to de-DRM. To do this, click Archived Items within Kindle for PC, then right-click the book you wish to download, and pick Download:

free drm removal

This is a very tedious process, because you have to manually download each and every Kindle file you own. If you know of a way to bulk-download these titles into Kindle for PC, enlighten me in the  comments and I’ll amend this part of the post with full credit to you.

After you’ve downloaded all of your books, your Kindle for PC Downloaded Items screen should look nicely populated:

free drm removal

Of course, we’re not going to have the same books, but you get the point. Now we need to get at the actual files for these books. By default, they’re going to be in your Documents folder, under My Kindle Content:

free drm removal

The files we care about are the AZW ones – these are the actual books. So, now we have all of our DRM-protected files downloaded, and we know where they are.

Next, install Calibre.

Now, unzip Apprentice Alf’s plugin bundle into a folder. It doesn’t matter where you put this folder. I just dumped it in my Downloads directory:

remove drm

Note the Calibre_Plugins subfolder – that’s what we’ll need. Also, you can definitely take a look at ReadMe_First just to get a better understanding of what this whole bundle is about.

Next, launch Calibre and click Preferences:

remove drm

In the Preferences screen, click Plugins under Advanced:

remove drm

In the Plugin window, click “Load plugin from file” (near the bottom of the window):

kindle[23]

Now, navigate to the folder where you unzipped Apprentice Alf’s de-DRM bundle, and click Calibre_Plugins. There, pick “K4MobiDeDRM_v04.7_plugin.zip” (the version may change by the time you read this):

kindle[25]

Calibre will now explain that installing plugins locally is a security risk. That’s true, but we’re going to go ahead and take that risk anyway:

kindle[27]

So, click Yes, you do want to proceed. You should now get a success message:

kindle[29]

And… you’re done. At least on my machine, this is the totality of what needs to be done to break DRM on Kindle books.

Now restart  Calibre, and let’s break some DRM.

The Fun Part

Remember the My Kindle Content we located a few steps back? Now, open that folder, and open Calibre.

Sort the folder by extension, and highlight all of your AZW files:

drm removal

Now go ahead and drag them onto the Calibre window. That’s right: Just drag and drop, there’s nothing more to it.

Calibre will now crunch some numbers, and add all of your books to its library. As it does this, it creates DRM-free copies of your books, which you can then convert to any other format you wish to use. Those copies can’t be removed by Amazon, no matter how naughty they think you’ve been. What’s yours is yours – mission accomplished.

Final Thoughts on DRM Removal

Seriously, please don’t pirate books. Authors need you to buy their work so they can make a living. That said, I do think that when you buy something, it should be yours.

Circumventing DRM is a finicky process, and what I’ve described may not work for you. If you try it out, let me know in the comments how it went. Good luck!

  1. Pat Bolt
    September 20, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    All works fine as described although l used the free winrar program to unzip the Calibre de-DRM Bundle Sept 2016

  2. Wayne
    September 13, 2016 at 12:50 am

    after downloading Apprentice Alf’s DRM Removal Tools for eBooks, i got as far as looking for the file “K4MobiDeDRM_v04.7_plugin.zip” from the instructions above ... whereupon the instructions began to fail ... i could not find this file. so i looked around and found, in the folder "/download/DeDRM_tools_6.5.1/DeDRM_calibre_plugin/" i found the file DeDRM_plugin.zip ... i used that in the calibre instructions rather than the "K4Mobi..." file in the instructions and everything worked from there. I was able to import the azw3 books from the "/documents/My Kindle Content" folder, convert the books to epub format, copy them to my new Samsung tablet (bought because of Amazon's 'effed up policies when my Kindle began to need repair) and read them via the Universal Book Reader (a fairly good app) ...

    I agree with you ... once you buy something, it should be YOURS ... if I buy a paperback book (which i haven't for several years now, and i've used this process to convert somewhere in the vicinity of 650 books from Amazon) i can take it to a used book store and dispose of it. or buy some other used book ... i SHOULD be able to do the same with ebooks ... in MY opinion, what they are doing with DRM is nothing but thievery ... I also agree with you that authors should be properly compensated for their work ... i do NOT involve myself in this process to resell these books ... ONLY to be able to read them where and whenever !!I!! so choose

  3. Bob Marley
    September 6, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Does not work with .azw4

  4. Hammer
    August 23, 2016 at 3:59 am

    Worked perfect - dont download the Kindle App, just the PC Version

  5. KELL
    August 8, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    FYI this artivle is horribly out of date as book vendors have for the most part figured out how to eliminate Calibre (doesn't work anymore) and other apps that circumvent DRM.

    They just steal our money and then make us flail around in stress and frustration and we end up with NOTHING fo r our money. TIME TO BOYCOTT EPUB DISTRIBUTORS

  6. Venti
    August 7, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Both Calibre and this plugin are HIGHLY overrated. The plugin has never worked for me, not once. The Calibre is not good enough even for converting files.

    If you really want to remove DRM from the books you legally purchased, use Epubor All DRM removal. There's 30 days free trial, but the full version costs 20 USD - as I'm a prolific buyer and reader of ebooks, that's not so much.

  7. nnn
    July 25, 2016 at 6:18 am

    Thanks a lot.

    Worked perfectly for all kinds of books purchased / rented
    I just tried one rented book to see if this method will work or not

    all for personal use and as you said NO PIRACY NO PIRACY

  8. Al Adams
    July 3, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    The Bulk Download of Kindle eBooks can be Done by: (Follow Directions Carefully) Login to You Amazon.com Account on Your PC, Look for the Tool Bar Area Line Starts on Your Left with "Departments" Look toward the Right Same Horizontal Line, Until You See "Hello, (Your Name)" Select Manage Your Content and Devices {From that Menu - White Arrow} SS#1 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/20236683@N06/28034125236/in/dateposted-public/) Next Check Boxes of Content Wanted Select Deliver SS#2 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/20236683@N06/27787387820/in/dateposted-public/) Pick one of the Devices to BE YOUR PC Kindle eReader ... Simple - Yes !!

    • Mihir Patkar
      July 4, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      Fantastic, thanks for this!

  9. Mr
    June 6, 2016 at 1:51 am

    Worked

  10. Fidou
    May 17, 2016 at 3:33 am

    THERE IS NO SOLUTION FOR Rented book in Kindle(file type .azw4) Stop wasting time people! Just screenshot every single page.

  11. Keth Selhan
    April 10, 2016 at 9:53 am

    I have a BIG problem. I removed DRM from e-book via Calibre and now is the font has changed from regular to italics style. How to change it? It is unreadable.

  12. Chris
    April 8, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Anyone tried to convert to pdf and or print ebook with this method? Is it just me or is this not possible because its becoming strange formatted and unreadable

  13. Nicole
    April 6, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Can someone please direct me. I got all the way to the step where he says: In the Plugin window, click “Load plugin from file” (near the bottom of the window).

    I did that, but when he says, Now, navigate to the folder where you unzipped Apprentice Alf’s de-DRM bundle, and click Calibre_Plugins. There, pick “K4MobiDeDRM_v04.7_plugin.zip” (the version may change by the time you read this):

    I could not find a folder with that name. What other name would it be under? These are the folder names I got:

    images
    obok
    translations
    __init__.py
    action.py
    common_utils.py
    config.py
    dalogs.py
    obok_dedrm_Help.htm
    obok_plugin.zip
    obok_plugin_ReadMe.txt
    pugin-import-name-obok_dedrm.txt
    utilities.py

    Which one out of these is it?

    • Abba
      April 24, 2016 at 11:50 pm

      Hi, when you extract the zip file you should have 5 directories. the top one is:

      DeDRM_calibre_plugin

      Double click and chose the zip file, and follow the rest of steps

      I hope that'll work for you too.

  14. Missy
    March 28, 2016 at 5:54 am

    It worked for me :-)

  15. John Dungan
    March 23, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    I have had the Apprentice Alf’s plugin bundle in my Calibre for some time, and they flat do NOT work. Those titles with DRM are not workable, ever.

  16. Anouck
    March 20, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    I wanted to use Calibre to remove the DRM on my purchased Kindle books,
    but they don't show in my content folder.
    Only the books you get for free (in my case Pride and Prejudice, Aesop's Fables and Treasure Island) are in there, not my own purchased ones.

    Is it possible to break the DRM if you can't find the file on your PC?

    • Bill
      April 11, 2016 at 1:44 am

      You have to download the books from your Amazon library for them to be in your content folder. Also, verify where your Kindle app is looking for your downloaded books (under Tools/Options/Content in the App, and ensure it is pointed to the right folder where you've save the book files.

  17. James
    February 20, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Really good. I appreciate the post and the philosophy behind it. It does work, as of Feb 20 2016 with a Kindle Classic 7th generation. Thank you!

  18. Seth
    February 2, 2016 at 7:01 am

    It works on bought books not rented because the rented are password or I guess serial number protected.

  19. colin
    January 29, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Hope there is an ultimate ebook converter can stip drm and convert ebook format in easy way, don't need to add plugins or other inconvenient steps.

    • Grace
      February 20, 2016 at 8:01 am

      There surely is an Ultimate eBook converter which contains both DRM removal and eBook conversion features.

  20. AnonymousPerson
    January 29, 2016 at 1:12 am

    Just a tip when you download the books to your kindle for pc... and you go to the my kindle content folder... you can open each book and rename the file in the file folder to the book... so you know exactly which book it is.... if you do this you will still be able to open the file. It's beyond me why they are listed this way... very confusing ...bleh

  21. Name
    January 20, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    Does not work as of January 20 2016

  22. alml
    January 2, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    does not work

  23. Alex
    December 28, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    I followed the instruction like you said and it worked perfectly, for me is a way to transfer the books on a linux based computer, since the easiest way to read a book on ubunto is to download calibre, "apt-get install calibre" but when i try to open the books i bought from amazon I had the DRM screen, using your procedure all went fine thanks

  24. Tom
    December 19, 2015 at 11:02 am

    All my Kindle books stopped working when Amazon recently deliberately broke Kindle 1.10 reader on Mac, and my operating system won't run the required later version and my computer won't run a later version of the O.S. (and Amazon won't fix the problem or issue a refund). Basically, they are thieves. But the DRM removal tool requires me to be able to open the files in the Kindle reader. Is there a way to remove the DRM in my situation, so I can continue reading my books?

  25. Cortney
    December 17, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Everything works until I click Covert, then I get an error code when it fails to convert using all defaults. ConversionError: return code: 1.

    I'm not sure how to change this or if I missed a step?

  26. donkey
    November 20, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    I downloaded the book to PC Kindle.
    Unzipped the files as instructed
    Updated Calibre with the plugin
    Dragged the .azw files over to Calibre
    Opened the files but DIDNT WORK

    either the instructions are missing something or this crack doesnt work anylonger.

    • T. N.A.
      December 1, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      The instructions are absolutely all right. I've just gone through the process (as of December 1st, 2015) and it worked like a charm. After dragging and dropping your file onto Calibre, right-click on the desired book and select "Convert", then choose the output format and voilà, it'll be ready to be accessed right from the Calibre's folder in Documents. I've also noticed that a .mobi file appeared in "My Kindle Content" folder, also in Documents.

  27. Sam liu
    November 19, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Follow the guide step by step, but finally failed...

  28. muzhi1989
    October 17, 2015 at 2:38 am

    Dear editor,

    Thanks for sharing this with us. So helpful.

    Here I want to know that, are there any online Kindle drm removal tools that you can recommend to us?

  29. Mark
    May 17, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Nice guide ! I understand and support your claim ! Though I tried to do it but it keeps saying the ebook is locked (DRM) after dragging it and trying to convert to a mobi or pdf format. Any idea?

  30. Aziz
    April 10, 2015 at 2:01 am

    Hello
    I would like to know if this method works for rented kindle items as some books are only available as rent while still costing a couple of hundreds.

    Otherwise, very handy, especially for very expensive medical books.
    In my country, school is free.
    Here, in Canada, we have to pay for everything in addition to over-inflated taxes.
    After all, medical knowledge should be free, especially when written by doctors.
    Yet they complain of a lack of doctors in Canada.

    thanks

  31. Kim
    April 1, 2015 at 12:36 am

    What an asshoie you are promoting theft.

  32. Baby Face
    March 26, 2015 at 9:11 am

    How do I edit content from my kindle? Like books I bought, for example. I want to know how I can delete sentences I don't like, as well as change words into other words?

  33. Greg Fletcher
    March 8, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    When I have removed DRM and have the resultant Kindle Content, how can I find out which is AZW and which is MOBI? Also, if I give a Kindle Content book a new name, which version will appear on my Kindle as I have titled it?

  34. Victor
    March 2, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks alot for this!! Really great! I was studying from this book and loosing a ridiculous amount of time because you can't copy/paste with the kindle software. This solves my problem.

    I owe you one!

  35. Matthew
    February 22, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    There are other tools ... I got a giveaway offer of EPUBOR - works brilliantly.

    So far only used it on free (but DRMed) book offers ... want the book on Mum's kindle, but it's only on one with a DRM EPUB - no problem.

    Similarly, if I want something from Amazon on my Nook.

    If DRM was compatible across platforms, and escrowed against disappearance of any particular host, then it wouldn't be so bad.

    DRM actually STOPS YOU BUYING from any service that has DRM incompatible with your device.

  36. Kriekit
    February 22, 2015 at 10:12 am

    It seems it doesn't work on Calibre x64 bit. I Installed 32 bit and it worked, after re-adding the book to Calibre library.

    For all those that wants to urinate in their knickers over removing DRM, consider this: I am a student. I need a programming book for class. As a student, I do not have the permissions needed to install software such as Kindle reader on the PCs in college. Even if I did have the permission, I would have to install it on every PC that I use. So I *will* remove the DRM if at all possible.

  37. yumeze
    February 5, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Hi, downloading Calibre now and when it does, it isn't downloaded as a zip. So I don't have access to any of the plug ins???? I am using windows 8.1. Am I doing something wrong??

  38. Nickle
    January 31, 2015 at 6:28 am

    I don't know about a method to 'mass download' your kindle books, but I do know that in the reader app for windows, if you go to the archived items tab, you can double click on your books and it'll automatically que up and download your books.

    It took me about 10 minutes to select all 500+ books that I have.

    Hope this helps!

  39. Lisa
    January 26, 2015 at 3:07 am

    Doesn't work. Cannot Convert. DRM Protected. Great - Now I have an Amazon book I bought that I'm forced to use Kindle app with. 1 book.

  40. Ani
    January 13, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Worked flawlessly!!!! So excited...I'd never buy on amazon but unfortunately book I bought is amazon exclusive,so I was forced to buy it. Anyway,glad I have a copy of my book now...

  41. Mighty Mouse
    January 10, 2015 at 1:19 am

    I realise this is a fairly old article but it's still worth a comment. Erez has done a fine job explaining a method of removing DRM from Kindle books but there is a slightly different way of achieving the same result:

    Rather than install the Kindle app for PC or Mac you can perform the whole process in Calibre then convert your ebooks to MOBI, EPUB, FB2 or whichever other format you need and Amazon (and other retailers) will not be able to steal your purchases at their whim. The Calibre DRM removal plug-in just needs the serial number of your Kindle which can be found in the 'Device Info' section of the Kindle or in the 'Manage Your Content and Devices' section of your Amazon account. Once the plug-in is installed in Calibre, select it, click the 'Customise Plug-in' button at the bottom of the screen & choose the 'eInk Kindle ebooks' button from the 'Customise DeDRM' Window that appears. Click the '+' button then type in your Kindle serial, without any spaces and click 'OK'. That's it. All your Kindle ebooks should now be DRM free so convert them while you have the chance. Any that don't convert should be removed from Calibre, re-downloaded and added again, you'll usually have better luck the second time around. This also works for DRM'd ebooks from Barnes & Noble, Mobipocket, eReader, and Adobe Digital Editions.

    Over the last 10 years I have amassed over 8'500 ebooks, some from Project Gutenberg, a few free from Amazon and other retailers but all the rest of those works in copyright have been paid for and all are now DRM free. I hate to think what I would have had to spend to replace them as various eReaders have broken, worn out or when support has been removed. I don't share them, I'll recommend the really good ones to friends & help them remove the DRM but the one's I've purchased are mine to read, on tablet, phone, PC, laptop or printed out & taped to the toilet door.

    To those that are confused about the reasons for Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) on digital content: it's not about stopping piracy! No, really, it isn't! If someone can open digital content they can copy it one way or another, and they will if they are copyright pirates. They may need to take screen shots of each page and run them through OCR software or daisy-chain VCRs to record from each other but they'll do that if they have to. DRM is all about selling you, the legitimate end user, the same content multiple times. If, when your Kindle dies, you decide to buy a Nook or Kobo ereader you will be obligated to purchase the same titles again, and again, and again. It's all about the money they make from reselling the same content to legitimate users repeatedly. The alternative is to buy another Kindle and, if you don't know about de-registering your old device, you're likely to have to pay again for the content anyway - either way the retailer takes more money from you. The only people really affected by DRM are legitimate purchasers and users; pirates aren't affected, beyond minor inconvenience, and laugh at the people that pay for books, discs, games etc; the value of which is less than that of the pirated copies because they can only be used in certain, prescriptive, ways. All DRM is cracked eventually anyway, except by most legitimate users.

    It's worth noting that there is little evidence that DRM affects the sale of ebooks, or other digital media. Those that do acquire pirated copies will usually buy a legitimate copy of their own, if they like the book. If they don't like it they delete the illegal copy to free up valuable hard drive space and, if they couldn't download it illegally wouldn't have bought it in the first place. DRM is an evil, money-making scam that needs to be stamped out. Crack your digital purchases and make them your own but don't share them with others, simple really.

    Finally, my deepest thanks to Apprentice Alf for his hard work on the plug-in. You're doing good work, keep it up (or send me the source code so I can continue it!). Thank you, again AA; Digital Restrictions Management must die!

  42. TheRob
    December 29, 2014 at 4:16 am

    Great Advice and a great discussion.

    I did have a problem about a year ago with Amazon deciding to delete my entire library. I had purchased my Kindle in Ireland and registered it there and purchased many of my e-books there. (I made sure that I clicked on "buy" and not "rent" like they advertise for many books.)

    However, when I moved to South Korea for an English teaching position I found that all the books I had purchased had disappeared! Some were text books that I needed for my master's programme! After much debate they had clarified that for copyright reasons I was not allowed to take these books to Korea. I was then forced to either repurchase or find through other means my old collection. I still have my kindle but I have de-registered it and have yet to buy anything through amazon since.

    So it's not that Amazon can just decide to take books away from you, but they can also dictate where you can and cannot read stuff downloaded from their website.

    Erez is right. It's not about Piracy, it's about owning what you buy, and Amazon's current policy forced me into a corner and forced me to do things I didn't want to do to get these books back.

    So thank you for all the help Mr. Zukerman. You're doing a great service. You've potentially saved me a bunch of hassle and I'm sure you've done the same for others!

  43. Mitch
    June 12, 2013 at 9:53 am

    tried would not work azw3. Files Did what it said in help forums.

  44. Mary
    May 31, 2013 at 2:54 am

    I downloaded the file to remove the drm and it kept giving me zipped files so I had to keep unzipping files and then I followed all of your directions through Calibre but it wouldn't take me to the file with that filename in it. There is a file with that name, but it won't "let me" access it with the directions that you give.

    • The Book Girl
      June 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      If I pay for something ( and I always do ) I want to watch it, read it or stuff it in a jar if I choose too. I paid for it, I should be able to do with as I please, as long as what I do with it is not illegal. Screw DRM. I De-DRM everything I pay for, and then watch, read or listen on whatever device I damn well choose.

    • The Book Girl
      June 4, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      Sorry Mary, that was not in reply to you, thought I was making my own comment. Apologies

  45. Maxi3w
    May 15, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Hi Erez! This is Great. Thanks ever so much for writing this article AND providing the way to convert AZW books to other formats.

    Calibre is brilliant and this has now made it practically Perfect! It's a pain when you can't read Kindle books on your reader. I have a Sony E-Reader and have wanted a way to read Kindles books on it for ages.

    I checked out some software but they all cost around $30.

    The Kindle books I have, I paid for or got them free when Amazon offered them. So for me your article is purely about getting my books onto my reader which now the conversion through Calibre is done - I can! And very happy.

    I don't want to buy a Kindle as I have a reader that cost quite a bit and like I said, I just want to read all my ebooks on it.

    Thank You sooooo much!

    • Erez Zukerman
      May 15, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Brilliant, glad I could help! :)

    • Walt Huntsman
      May 30, 2013 at 4:28 am

      This whole process is even more complicated under Linux as I have to install an additional version of Python and some other stuff and make sure I get it all installed in the same directory (as least that's how it seems) under Wine. The older version of the plugin worked fine. What happened to require the update and the apparent change in how and where the plugin gets installed? It's all becoming clear as mud at this point.

  46. Heather
    May 3, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Hi there. I have followed the instructions and the books have been dragged successfully into the Calibre window and they are showing in my Calibre window as format AZW3. Is there a way I can test that they are DRM free now?

    Thank for these instructions.

  47. MikeB
    May 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    When my antivirus scanned tools v6.0.5.exe, I got a half dozen virus hits from my antivirus software; what's up with that? I think your advice to go thru the plugin virus warning as if it were trivial may not be the best advice. I think the best advice would be to make certain that you DO scan the file for viruses before you install it.

    Here's why I want to de-DRM: I'm reading a textbook that I want to outline as I work my way thru it; everytime I copy and paste, PC Kindle appends a !@#$ attribution footnote to the paste! I can then delete it, but it slows down the process. It, or course, doesn't really do anything except nag you, but multiply that nag by hundreds, over the course of the whole book, it's a real PITA!

  48. Clyde Atwood
    April 26, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Thank you for the info, even thought I have a Fire HD.

  49. RJM
    April 24, 2013 at 1:58 am

    I should also mention that the name of the zip file that contains the plugin has changed from your original article. It is now "DeDRM_plugin.zip".

    • Erez Zukerman
      April 24, 2013 at 7:56 am

      Thanks for the update, RJM! And for your kind words as well. :)

  50. RJM
    April 24, 2013 at 1:55 am

    Great post - everything worked smoothly - thanks! We are using this to share books within our family on kindles and kobos. This is also my first look at calibre - and it seems like an amazing tool. I'll definitely be using it more often.

  51. José WARNEZ
    April 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you for your help.
    Everything works fine, except: I can download Alf's tools ... ZIP-file,
    but when I open it, I do not find the K4...plugin.zip file I need to add to Calibre, but 4 folders, one containing a k4mobidrm.py file.

  52. j Williams
    March 9, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Purchased a book on Amazon today. I have a non-kindle ebook reader & wanted to be able to read comfortably instead of perched in front of the computer. File extension was azw3 for purchased book. Followed your instructions to the letter & tested on a book with file extension azw I got free off Amazon a while back ago. The azw book converted automatically to mobi when I dropped it into Calibre (i have preferences set to auto convert added books to Mobi). When I dropped in the azw3 book I had just purchased it did not convert & I thought "Oh-oh' but I manually set it to convert to mobi without problem & now have a readable Mobi on my ebook reader. So thank you very much!

    • erez
      March 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      You're most welcome! Glad I could help :)

  53. Kip Slaybaugh
    February 15, 2013 at 5:49 am

    Bought a new book from Amazon tonight. Didn't work for it. All my older books are fine as I converted them a while ago. Wondering if they have done something to update their DRM.

    • Erez Zukerman
      February 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      DRM, the never-ending cat and mouse game... It may very well be Amazon changed something, but it'll only hold until freedom-loving hackers update their tools.

  54. SamR
    January 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    What about Mac users?

  55. Rmte
    January 2, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    "This is a very tedious process, because you have to manually download each and every Kindle file you own. "
    Correction: This is a very tedious process, because you have to manually download each and every Kindle file you have in your kindle library.

    • Erez Zukerman
      January 3, 2013 at 7:05 am

      I'm not sure I understand the distinction? You mean, "including free files that are still DRM protected"?

  56. Shay
    January 2, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Doesn't work for me. Installed plugin, dragged, it seems to be doing something, ok I can view the book, but it still says the file is azw and I don't see anything else besides the book in Calibare. Where is the pdf, and how do I save into it?

  57. gmvolk
    January 2, 2013 at 2:40 am

    Did not work for a lot of my books, mostly those with the azw extension. azw3's seemed to convert OK. And yes they were all download from the same account. I really just want a way to rename/retag the ebooks so that series show up in order on the Kindle.

    • Erez Zukerman
      January 2, 2013 at 7:31 am

      Hmm, maybe after breaking the DRM you could change the book titles (not just rename the files, but go into the file metadata and edit the title).

      Too bad this didn't work for all of your books. :\ Such is the finicky way of DRM, I guess.

      • gmvolk
        January 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm

        What's weird, I have 133 books, all from Amazon all with the azw extension in "My Kindle Content". After following your steps and dragging and dropping onto Calibre, some get changed to mobi, some retain the azw and some changed to azw3 format. Not sure where that decision was made, tried digging around Calibre, but I've always thought their program was more "complex" then it should be. For the books that did de-drm, I was able to edit the metadata, and change things, add cover art, etc. Maybe eBook DRM will go away like it did with MP3s?
        Thanks for the info, I'll keep trying.

        • Erez Zukerman
          January 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm

          I certainly hope ebook DRM eventually dies out... And yes, I hear what you're saying about Calibre being too complex -- it feels really bloated and complicated.

        • gmvolk
          January 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm

          OK, just figured something out. In the common options/page setup in calibre, I changed the output profile to default, was Kindle. The input profile was already on default. After doing this, one of the books that did not convert now does and is in the .mobi format. Just to be clear, dragging and dropping the files onto Calibre is all it takes to de-DRM the book, I don't have to click Convert Books(unless I want a different format)? Correct? Thanks again.

        • Erez Zukerman
          January 2, 2013 at 3:56 pm

          Replying to your last (because we've hit the Reply thread limit): As far as I know, yes, all you need is just to drag the book onto Calibre. Converting to a different format is important just to verify that DRM has indeed been broken (unless you know of another way to tell this happened?)

  58. Ronnie
    January 1, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Thanks for the article. I have been after this method for a long time. Part of my 900 ebook collection comes from the mobipocket/Palm Treo days. My challenge is getting the collection to adapt as the tech changes. Many of my mobipocket reader library prc/mbp books are trapped in the reader, all are purchased from various vendors, but that was the Treo days.
    An additional problem is the stability of app readers, stanza is oft-crashing, ibooks has acceptable workarounds and Adobe Digital Editions is meh.
    I tried the Calibre method some time ago and it bottomed out, but advances have taken place and my collection is worthy of making another go of it.
    I have purchased my entire collection, I respect authors and researchers enough to never share or steal, losing Palm was a huge eyeopener as was the amazon purchase of mobi-but not allowing drm mobi onto Kindles was like being held hostage.

  59. Mike Poole
    January 1, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks very much Erez. It worked just as you said. I live in an apartment with over 5,000 books of my and my family's books and we have around 150 ebooks. I definitely prefer to 'own' those ebooks the same as the physical books. Thanks again!

    • Erez Zukerman
      January 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      Sure thing, Mike! I'm glad it worked :)

  60. John
    December 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    This worked and generated mobi files for about half my books. The other books come up "locked by DRM" when I even try to read them. Even with the plugin installed. I'm confused, because it can convert some of the kindle files.

    • Erez Zukerman
      January 1, 2013 at 9:14 am

      That's interesting -- did you buy all of the books using the same username/account? I did this with about 50 books or so and didn't get a single error...

      • John
        January 2, 2013 at 9:56 pm

        They were bought with the same account, yes. Over time, I have collected two different kindles and occasionally read from my phone. But all from the same account. So they may have been purchased on different devices.

      • John
        January 2, 2013 at 9:56 pm

        They were bought with the same account, yes. Over time, I have collected two different kindles and occasionally read from my phone. But all from the same account. So they may have been purchased on different devices.

  61. Doc
    December 31, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    "Next, install Calibre. Just Next-Next-Next your way through the installer." NEVER do this. And I mean NEVER. Most freeware now comes with additional "junk" installers that will put CRAP on your computer, like RealPlayer, toolbars, and sometimes even SPYWARE. ALWAYS watch what you're doing while installing software.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    • Erez Zukerman
      January 1, 2013 at 9:13 am

      That's a very good point! Weird, I was sure I changed it myself. I went ahead and edited that "next-next-next" reference out of the post. Thanks!

  62. scott
    December 31, 2012 at 6:20 am

    if you remove the DRM, and upload it to your kindle, when sync it will Amazon figure it out and close your account?

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 31, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Absolutely not. If/when they stoop to that level, that'll be the day they'll lose a ton of users. There's a limit to how creepy and invasive corporations get to be (it's constantly eroding, yes, but it's still there).

      So, short answer: For now, you're safe. :)

  63. John
    December 31, 2012 at 3:41 am

    But what format should I convert it to that is both open and able to be read by kindle?

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      .mobi is the format you're looking for. On the Kindle, it looks just like any other book (cover image and all, if you have the new Kindle Paperwhite). But it's YOURS. :)

  64. Ashutosh
    December 30, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Worked like a charm for the 99% books I owned or got as free from amazon. Thanks for the workaround.

  65. A&L
    December 30, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Does DRM apply to nook as well, is it just books bought from Amazon or does Barns and noble do it too?
    thanks

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      I believe that yes, B&N use DRM as well. This specific method is for Amazon, but I think the same ZIP file you download in the instructions above also has something for Nook. Not sure, though.

  66. drowlin
    December 30, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Have tried this before, this article prompted me to use the updated zip file. Still not working on a couple of books (DRM still intact). This is annoying as I bought the books to read on my wife's Kindle and she throws a wobbly when I want to access them. I know I can read them on my PC, but that's something I don't want to do, I spend enough time on it as it is.

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 30, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Right -- reading on a Kindle is much, much better than reading on a PC, I fully agree. Now, about your books: Does this method generally work with your books, and only these two still retain the DRM? Did you buy them using the same account you've registered Kindle for PC under?

      • drowlin
        December 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm

        I don't convert many, but the method has worked its just 3 books that don't respond. Yes the same registration used.

        • Erez Zukerman
          December 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm

          Pretty interesting that just those three books balked. Not sure why. One thing you might try it removing them from the PC and re-downloading them -- maybe that would help?

        • drowlin
          December 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm

          I retraced my steps and found I hadn't transferred all 5 zip files across to Calibre. Also I transferred the files straight from the Kindle to Calibre. Finally connecting my Kobo & converting. Worked great.
          Thanks for the article, am now a happy chappy, & family harmony is restored.

  67. Anonymous
    December 30, 2012 at 6:36 am

    I use and actually prefer PC-Kindle, however it's nice to know I now have a way of converting my local Kindle content to a form readable without the Kindle software. Case in point: For some reason unknown to me, my reader stopped functioning last month, and I was unable to continue reading a book (a tutorial) I was in the middle of. Fortunately, I was able to re-install, and the new installation recognized all of my content. BUT, I was in the middle of some work (using said book) and I would have been thoroughly irritated had I needed to download my entire library again. Having a .pdf backup at the time would have saved me some stressful moments.

  68. Junil Maharjan
    December 30, 2012 at 4:39 am

    This is why i don't buy ebooks from amazon. when i buy books, i'd like to own them and not own the license only. I like to control what i have bought and not give control to a company to delete the books i have purchased whenever they think we have violated their terms and conditions. I read about the last line in an article. A woman's entire kindle library was deleted just because they thought she violated some terms and conditions. and when amazon found that it was their mistake, they simply told the woman to buy those books again and was not recompensed in any way. So i want to thank you guys for providing us with this wonderful tutorial.

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      Yes, that was the story that motivated this piece -- and you're welcome! I hope this never happens to me or any of our readers.

    • Jose
      January 3, 2013 at 1:16 am

      Please check your sources.

      If you are talking about the same case that happened few months ago, that woman actually violated Amazon guidelines and contract. She had several accounts and was in clear violation of the Amazon terms. Amazon did not reinstated her account.

  69. Rajaa Chowdhury
    December 30, 2012 at 3:09 am

    Though appropriate disclaimer has been written within the article, still I personally feel a reputed forum like MakeUseOf should not feature DRM removal techniques as there is a very line line separating DRM removal and piracy. However, this is wholly a personal opinion.

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 30, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      I respect that, Rajaa. That said, this technique only works with books you bought yourself -- you can't copy protected books from another computer and strip the protection, for example. So, in this case, I feel it's relatively safe to assume that the books readers will strip will be their own books which they bought with hard-earned money.

  70. Al
    December 30, 2012 at 2:26 am

    I don't think I'm doing anything wrong and followed each step. However, its not allowing me to convert any books. They're all still DRM. I'm using a Mac.

    Any suggestion?

    Thank so much!
    Al

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 30, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      Hi Al,

      Hmm, that's interesting. What exactly is it saying when you drag the book into Calibre? And what does it say when you try to convert it to a different format?

      This writeup is for Windows -- I don't have a Mac, so was unable to test this procedure on a Mac... It might be that you need some extra steps to make it work.

    • Mike Poole
      January 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      Al, I had the same problem on my Mac. I couldn't get around it so I followed the instructions on my Windows machine, moved the Calibre Library folder to Dropbox, and now use the same library through Calibre on my Mac. If you don't have a Windows machine but do have Windows in Parallels or on Bootcamp, you could do much the same thing. It's not terribly convenient, but at least it works.

      • Al Fike
        January 3, 2013 at 4:23 am

        Thank you, Erez! Mike helped me solve the issue!

        Great job, and thank you for sharing this great info.

        Al

  71. Phill Whiteside
    December 30, 2012 at 12:47 am

    I guess I should find out how to do this with linux? Come on guys.. get real.. DRM does not exist if you do not use M$ or iM@c... We just sit back and giggle :)

  72. Darryl Gittins
    December 30, 2012 at 12:02 am

    You say In the Plugin window, click “Load plugin from file” (near the bottom of the window): but there is no such button

  73. Darryl Gittins
    December 30, 2012 at 12:01 am

    You say "In the Plugin window, click “Load plugin from file” (near the bottom of the window)" however there is no such button in the current version of Calibre

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      Can you show me a screenshot of the window you have?

      • Darryl Gittins
        December 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm

        Thanks and apologies, Erez, it was a "pebcak" error!
        The article is correct and works as described.

  74. Mac Witty
    December 29, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Great! I'm tired of companies who decide how I should consume books

    • Robert Sadler
      January 7, 2015 at 9:35 am

      This is a silly justification of what is most definitely criminal/unethical behaviour.

      Are you also tired of companies who only sell their printed books in trade-paperback format, instead of hardcover? Do you then rebind those paperbacks as hardbacks, huh?

      Besides, you "consume" an e-book via the reader (e.g. a Kindle) and not the DRM system which is (mostly) transparent. If, however, the best books are available only in DRM'ed Kindle versions and your beef is that you thus cannot read these e-books on any other device, then please pause to think why this is so: because DRM protects the income of the author and publisher - and we also need money to buy food.

  75. Jason
    December 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Any drm info for video files from istore?
    We have a Mac in the lounge and stream to the bedroom the problem is if we go away and want to take the hdd and play off a laptop... Thoughts?

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      Might be an idea for a post by someone using iOS -- but the best place for these questions is MakeUseOf answers, http://www.makeuseof.com/answers. Give it a shot, and good luck! :)

  76. Mark O'Neill
    December 29, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Worked beautifully. The only snag is that, when converting to PDF, it's a bit of a bitch getting the margins to work properly. Words get cut off and all that.

    Apart from that, great stuff :-)

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 30, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      Glad it worked! :) And yes, PDF formatting can be finicky indeed...

    • Jose
      January 3, 2013 at 1:10 am

      PDF it's not an ebook format. Because that, will never translate good to any ebook format unless is pure text and simple layout.

      • JJ
        January 3, 2013 at 11:03 pm

        I think Mark meant converting TO PDF.

  77. Carol Parker
    December 29, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Re: DRM on Kindle books.

    I can understand peoples need to OWN things, but as a lover of Books & reading I think that there is a miss conception of the use of e-books, the same as when publishers first started printing mass market Paperbacks, it does not diminish the value of a book, just makes them more available to all and e-books are a natural progression in doing this.

    The DRM protects not only the author but all the other industries involved in printing books, I recently found a UK based book binders who have seen how e-books effect their industry and they are producing covers for e-readers which look like books http://www.klevercase.co.uk.

    You can even get a Bible on an e-reader and who would want to have that as a PDF so they could print it?

    If you want to OWN a printed book, then buy one.

    I read a lot of books so the Kindle is an absolute god send for me, I do how ever still buy & OWN books, owning a Kindle has in fact made me more aware of the value of real Books and I have become an avid collector as I feel that real books in the future may be a rare thing.

    I can't say I agree with you publishing the details of how to break the DRM on a Kindle, but I am pleased to see that you point out the legal & moral issues in doing this.

    I love what you do and pass articles on via facebook all the time.

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 30, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      Hi Carol,

      Thank you for your kind words. As I stressed the article, I definitely think people should buy their books -- this is not about piracy. But how would you feel if one day, Amazon decided to remove your account and just delete all of the books you've paid for, saying they were never "yours"?

      That's the sort of situation I'm trying to prevent with this post.

      • BJosephs
        January 3, 2013 at 10:31 pm

        Like it or not, Amazon isn't selling us any ebook - they are essentially renting them and lowering the price slightly to make us feel like we got a bargain. It's their choice to do so, and our choice to part with are hard earned cash for the debatable pleasure of using their services.
        I don't like it any more than the next guy, but lets call a spade a spade. If you want to own a book -BUY one. Or better yet - convince Amazon to sell us one. Now, if you are arguing that "Buy now with 1-click" is false advertising, that's a valid point. However, I'm not sure that justifies violating a contract (ToS) that you willingly agreed to.
        I do appreciate your intentions here, as well as your fine blog, even as I question the propriety of this particular issue.

    • SamR
      January 3, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      It's not merely an issue with "owning" the book, but of reader preference as well. Even though I believe that stealing intellectual property is a cruel crime, I do prefer other readers to the Kindle app for a long list of reasons, and believe I should be able to access my ebooks in ways other than those dictated by the Kindle app designers.

      Sam

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