Have you ever found that you paid for a Kindle book but you can’t read it on any device with any app you like? Have you ever complained that you paid for a Kindle book but you can’t share it with your family or best friend? Have you ever been frustrated for paying for a Kindle book but you can’t print some pages you need to paper?
All these are caused by the DRM (Digital Rights Management), it is adopted by online eBook retailers to bind consumers with their own device or app, and the target is pretty clear, the market share. In fact, DRM brings consumers no benefits but inconvenience.
Why Remove Kindle DRM?
- To read the book we paid for on any device or app we want, not only on Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire and Kindle app.
- To share with our family or best friend. When we buy a paper book or DVD disc, it’s totally OK to share with our family or friends, why it becomes impossible for Kindle books?
- To make this book 100% owned by us. You might not have realized that in fact you are just “renting” a Kindle book, Amazon can make this book no longer owned by you even without informing you. Here is a true story. In other words, only by removing DRM you can make a safe backup for purchased Kindle books.
- Print the pages out as we want. We are not just buying fictions from Amazon, sometimes we also buy textbooks or reference books, like recipes. Therefore, printing some specific pages to paper for better usage is a pretty normal and reasonable demand.
A True Story
This story happened in 2012 and was reported by The Guardian, New York Times, and some other authoritative media.
Here I am telling the story in brief if you do not want to read the whole story. There is an Amazon consumer called Linn, one day she received an email from Amazon.co.uk and told her that “her account is directly related to another which has been previously closed for abuse of our policies”, and the staff from Amazon didn’t want to reveal more details about the “previously closed account” or how they link the accounts together.
As a result, Linn’s account is revoked and all her purchased Kindle titles are gone, without refund or anything compensation, the most pity part it, Linn even couldn’t get the real reason why this happened to her.
This is why I said at the beginning at this post, we are just “renting” eBooks from Amazon, instead of truly owning the items we are paying for. What if Linn had removed the DRM from her Kindle books and made back-ups, maybe her account would still be revoked, at least she would not losing those books she had paid for.
Remove DRM doesn’t Equal Piracy
As a summary, we have enough reasons to remove DRM from the books we bought, and we do not do this for piracy, but just for safe backup and the rights to enjoy the books anywhere.
Free Kindle DRM Removal
Calibre is a personal eBook library management software and also be famous for eBook format conversion. By default, it is not able to remove DRM, but with a Plugin called DeDRM tool, we can achieve our goal.
In this post I’ve explained in details about how to get this DRM Removal plugin, so please read it and install the plugin to Calibre, there is no need to repeat the steps in this post again.
In following parts, I am going to introduce 3 ways to remove Kindle DRM.
- You are using a Windows or Mac computer — Easy
- You have an E-Ink Kindle (Eg., Kindle Keyboard, Kindle Touch, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage, etc.) — Medium
- You can only get Kindle books from an Android phone/tablet — Difficult
Method A: Remove DRM from Books Synced via Kindle for PC/Mac
This is a universal method, as long as you are using Windows or Mac computer, you can use this method, and it is the most reliable way.
Download and Install Kindle for PC/Mac Software
Update on Mar. 5th, 2017:
If you’ve updated Kindle for PC/Mac to version 1.19 and later, you may get books downloaded with .kfx format. At the moment, no tool can remove DRM from .kfx books or convert them.
The solution is installing Kindle for PC/Mac 1.17, with the old version you can still download books with .azw format.
Login with Amazon Account and Sync Books to Computer
As I am using a Windows 7 computer, so I will take PC as an example. The steps on Mac are exactly the same with PC.
When you run the program at the first time, it will ask you to register. In this step please register the program with your Amazon account which is used for buying Kindle eBooks.
Then you will see the program like this.
- All Items: All the books in your Kindle library, both the cloud library and local library
- Downloaded Items: The books you already synced to local computer
- Archived Items: The books saved on your Kindle cloud library which hasn’t be downloaded to local
So look at All Items, and sync the books to local computer. For example, I download three books to my computer.
Find the Downloaded Kindle Books in Computer
Now click “Tools” –> “Options…”
And switch to “Content” tab, we can get the folder saves the downloaded books.
Opening this folder we can see the files. The books synced via Kindle for PC/Mac always have the extension name “.azw”. The others are temporary files to record our read position, highlights, etc.. I will write another post about these files in the future.
Use Calibre DRM Removal to Handle the Books
Before loading these books into Calibre, please make sure you’ve installed Calibre DeDRM plugin.
Update on 2017.3.14:
If you fail to remove DRM on AZW4 books, please download this modified DeDRM plugin instead the original one. It’s specially modified to deal with AZW4 books.
Now launch Calibre, and directly drag these files into Calibre. You will see a progress bar like this. The DRM removing is processed at the same time, but you can’t see the details.
To check the DRM removing result is simple.
- In most cases, the book format will turn to .AZW3 or .MOBI after removing DRM, while the file format was .AZW before the process;
- Click on the file format (in this case AZW3), then you will be able to read this book by Calibre’s built-in book reader module. For DRM-protected books, clicking on the file format you will see a warning dialog tells you the book is DRMed.
Method B: Remove DRM from Books Downloaded to E-Ink Kindle Device
E-Ink Kindle Device means the Kindle Reader which can only let you read books, like Kindle Touch, Kindle 5-Way Controller, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyate, etc.. Not including Kindle Fire tablets.
If you have got an E-Ink Kindle, then you need not install Kindle for PC/Mac client. Things are a bit easier than method A.
Find Kindle Serial Number of Your Kindle
There are two ways to find the Kindle Serial Number:
- Check device information on Kindle;
- Find it on Amazon website.
If you choose the first method, just click “Gear icon” on Kindle’s homepage, choose “Settings”. Then click “Gear icon” again, choose “Device Info”, then you will see the Kindle Serial Number.
And I prefer the second way, as we will need to input the Kindle Serial Number(KSN) into Calibre later. Obviously directly copy from the web page is easier.
First, visit Amazon official website, move the mouse to “Your Account” then you see the drop-down menu, choose “Manage Your Content and Devices”, in old days it’s called “Manage Your Kindle”.
Then switch to “Device” tab we can see the Kindle devices/apps registered with this Amazon account. Choose the correct item then we can see the “Serial Number” just like the image below.
Connect Kindle to Computer
You can keep the web page there, then please connect Kindle to the computer with USB cable. If you haven’t installed the Kindle DRM Removal plugin into Calibre, please read this post at first.
Open Calibre to Remove DRM from Books Saved in Kindle
Now run Calibre, and add the books saved in Kindle device into Calibre.
Unlike the method A, for books directly loaded from Kindle device, Calibre Kindle DRM Removal cannot remove the DRM silently, you need to manually customize some setting.
First please go to the plugin list and find the DeDRM plugin, and click “Customize plugin”.
Choose “eInk Kindle ebooks”, then click “+” icon and input the Kindle Serial Number we found on Amazon web page at step one.
Notice: when paste the Kindle Serial Number into plugin, please delete the space, just put all characters together.
Now we can add the books from Kindle into Calibre, the Kindle DeDRM plugin will process them. Check the result by reading the book in Calibre.
Method C: Remove DRM from Books Downloaded on Android Device
This method is not recommended, as it is more limited and complex than the other two methods:
- It requires a low version of Android: 4.0 -4.4
- You must install a special version of Kindle for Android app
- You need to manually input many digits into Kindle DRM Removal plugin and try several times
Then why we need this method? Because in some countries Kindle for PC/Mac is not available,
like Japan. And not everyone who buy books in Amazon store has an E-Ink Kindle. But Android device is pretty common. these people need an alternative way to remove Kindle DRM.
Update: Since 2015.01.31, Amazon Japan starts to provide Kindle for PC/Mac client, Japanese users can use the Method A to remove Kindle DRM instead of the complex Method C.
Please read the 3 requirements above carefully, if you are sure you want to do this, then go on reading the following parts.
Install Patched Kindle for Android App
This method requires you to install a patched version of Kindle Android app, the patch helps you get the PIDs list. PID is the key for removing Kindle DRM.
Notice: if your device’s Android version is higher than 4.4, the app may crash every time when you open it.Patched Kindle for Android APK
Download Books via Kindle for Android and Check the PIDs
Login your Amazon ID and download purchased Kindle books to computer, open some books and slide some pages. Then go to “Info — About — PID List” to check the PIDs.
Do remember to open some books, only in this way the PIDs will be generated.
Find the eBook Files in Your Android Phone/Tablet
Some Android phones and tablets are running heavily customized Android system, some of them even limit you from browsing the storage folders.
In this way we need a powerful file explorer, ES File Explorer is a good choice. This app is available in most of Android App market, if you cannot find it, click the button below to download the .apk file and install it on your Android device.ES File Explorer APK
The Kindle books downloaded to Android device are saved in “[Device’s storage root]/Android/data/com.amazon.kindle/files/”. And the files always have the extension name “.PRC”.
Process the Books with Calibre Kindle DRM Removal Plugin
Find the plugin in Calibre’s plugins list, and click “Customize Plugin”. Unlike the method B, don’t input the PIDs in “eInk Kindle ebooks” option. Instead, click “Mobipocket ebooks”, and input the PIDs one by one.
Then add the books from your Android device to Calibre, just like the other two methods, the books will be DRM-free after loading finishes and displayed in Calibre’s library.
If you fail to remove DRM from a book, please run Kindle for Android app, open this book and slide some pages, then check the PIDs. As the PIDs may change when you open different books.
A deadly easy-to-use eBook Converter
If want more information, please visit their official website.