Stripping DRM from Ebooks

I found a good post on how to remove DRM from ebooks at
They have a link to some python scripts that can remove DRM from some forms of
ebooks as long as you know the PID for the book that you bought.

This morning I purchased Brandon Sanderson’s “The Well of Ascension”, the
second book in the Mistborn series. I found the first book during’s
launch ebook giveaway, (you can get it too!) and really enjoyed the book. I
wanted to read the rest. (Apparently, I might not be the only one.) So I
checked online, and I could get the second book for about $14 from Fictionwise.
Sounds great. The only problem is that the books they sell there have DRM, Digital Restrictions Management. I am not able to read books that are encrypted
with DRM on my preferred ebook reading platform: FBReader on my OLPC with Ubuntu
installed on it. So I decided to try to remove the DRM. That would restore my
rights as the owner of the book to archive it, so that I can read it in a month,
six months, five years, or twenty years. As long as I ensure that I have the
regular unencrypted file and software to read it, I should be fine.

If I did nothing about the DRM I would only be able to read the book on the
computer that I used to download it. A 15″ notebook. It isn’t really all that

I was able to strip the DRM as outlined in the link above, but the resulting
mobipocket file came up empty when I tried to load it on FBReader. Bummer. So I
tried another approach. I took the unencrypted mobipocket file, and loaded it
up into the OSX Stanza ebook reading software. Then I saved it again as an
ePub file, a more open format. That did open ok in FBReader, and now I can read
the book that I purchased on any hardware that I like.

I am a bit disappointedthat I needed to pay $14 for the book. I would have
preferred $7 or so since I do not get a physical copy, but ebooks are actually
more convenient for me. On the book is actually $7.99 for a new,
physical copy (or the Kindle copy, which I am not able to buy, but could use if
I could after stripping the DRM) that includes lots of costs for printing,
shipping to warehouses, distribution, whatever. Ebooks are a lot simpler when
it comes to distribution: you ship them over the internet, with perhaps some
up-front computation to encrypt the book using some sort of DRM scheme. Costs
would be lower without the DRM. Customers would be happier because things are
easier to use. People who want to buy books probably are not the people that
are going to go and upload the files to the internet. People who just want to
get the book for free can already do that. I can’t see how DRM is really
helping the industry, but that is the standard for books right now.

Thankfully, it is now possible to get non-DRM’d music files, from Amazon or
Apple’s iTunes store (but you need to make sure the stuff is iTunes plus still I
think?) Hopefully video will go the same way.

I would really like to get a Kindle but I won’t do that until I can get one that
works in Japan. Until then I will make do with what I have. Even once I get a
Kindle though, I would like to make sure that my books do not have DRM on them
so that I have control of my files, and what I can do with them is not dictated
by a third party (regardless of whether or not I think that the system is
reasonable enough, and non-intrusive enough to use.)

BTW, you can use the MobiDeDRM if you get the Kindle PID (type ‘411’ from the
Setting menu, according to this blog post.)



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20 responses to “Stripping DRM from Ebooks”

  1. Ken Avatar

    Ditto here. A few weeks ago, I picked up a Sony eBook reader at Target for $180. I love the eInk display, the feel of the device in my hand, and the convenience of carrying around a hundred books in a small pocket. It’s a wonderful device.

    My first eBook was actually on O’Reilly one. O’Reilly doesn’t encumber their downloads with DRM and the book came down into Calibre and loaded on to my Sony reader flawlessly using 100% open source software. I read it front to cover without a problem.

    Then I made the mistake of buying an eBook from They advertise “ePub” files so I thought I was safe, but when I made my order, the download came through not as ePub, but as an Adobe Digital Editions file. I was able to circumvent the DRM, but not after a good half hour of hassling with it, googling it, and just being frustrated.

    That left me with a bad enough taste in my mouth that I’m not sure I’ll be buying any more eBooks. I want to pay for the content I read, but I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place: If I download legal eBooks, they’re DRM-encumbered garbage — the only way I can get quality content is by *not* paying for it and finding a pirated copy. (Ironic, huh?)

  2. Fugu Avatar

    The multiformat books at are non-DRM’d. Unfortunately, not all books are available in multiple formats. I have spent a pretty good amount of money on ones that are though.

  3. eBook Converter Avatar

    there is a easy way to remove drm from ebook,
    try mobipocket to PDF

    mobipocket to PDF

  4. Lori Avatar

    I’m looking at purchasing an eReader and am confused by a few things regarding the supposedly open ePub format that the Sony readers use. This post came the closes to providing the information that I’m looking for so I thought I’d make a post here.

    As I understand it, one of the huge advantages of the Sony readers is that you can use nonencrypted ePub-formatted books on them. But just how is the Sony Reader owner supposed to know where to buy said books? I don’t like the idea of paying more money for the same book at the Sony Reader store than I would pay at Barnes & Noble or Amazon, or some of the independent eBook sites that I know exist out there. I just spent almost an hour on the phone with Sony, talking to 3 people, including one supervisor and it seemed that no matter what question I asked, either about this, or anything else, they danced around the question, never really answering it.

    There are other reasons that I like the Sony device as well–student discounted hardware and software, touch screen, annotations by pen, etc., but I’m very confused by this issue in particular. Is there some main web site where I can go and read the ins and outs of how this is all supposed to work?

    Thanks for any assistance or tips!

  5. Fugu Tabetai Avatar

    You can buy your books anywhere that sells unencrypted ebooks. The best place I have found so far is Fictionwise. Note that you can only safely buy their books available in MULTI-FORMAT versions, the other versions might be encrypted and then you have to jump through hoops (like the above) to decrypt them.

    It should be possible to also buy encrypted books from or Barnes and Noble and remove the DRM, but that is illegal (by way of the DMCA if you are in the US) and I haven’t tried it myself. I try to stick with non-DRM’d books.

  6. Leonard Avatar

    Let me start by saying I am not trying to use pirated material. I pay for my ebooks. I bought a book recently from Kobobooks and am reading it on their ebook reader for iPhone. This is very frustrating as page turning is very slow and breaks the continuity of the reading experience. I have read many books on Stanza and Kindle readers which have very snappy page turning and also much better customisation to format the page as I like it.
    So I would like to convert my book from Kobo to a format I can read on the Stansa reader. The book I have is a DMR protected pdf. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

  7. fugu Tabetai Avatar

    I can’t help you there; it looks like there might be some information at mobileread that could help you out.

    PDF is the worst of the ebook formats from my point of view because the data in a PDF is usually postscript and tied tightly to the presentation. It isn’t just plain text with some markup, which I think is a vastly preferable format.

    PDF is also much harder to read on smaller devices, unless it was formatted for them in the first place. Then you can’t read it on larger devices.

    Anyway, good luck. I think it is very important to be aware of the DRM and format of the books that you buy. If you want to be able to read the ebook say, twenty years from now (don’t say that is a stupid requirement, I have nice leatherbound hardcover books in front of me that I expect to still own in 20 years) then you really want to get just plain text with some simple markup.

  8. Mike Avatar

    Please tell how the heck you circumvented the DRM on the kobo ePub files. I just purchased two books from their website and they come up as ‘corrupt’ on my iRiver Story. I’d really appreciate the advice Mate, especially if you could dumb it down for me – I feel like I’ve just wasted $35 dollars!

  9. masoses Avatar

    How to remove drm from ebooks?I think you can use drm removal software.

  10. Ken Avatar

    I bought a BeBook for my wife for Xmas and am having an awful time with DRM. The BeBook is even better than the Sony – built in WiFi and Google Lets it function more like an iPad with eInk. Has Text to Speach, Touch screen, SD card, notations, sketch, etc, etc, and reads all formats. I downloaded several FREE ebooks and everything went fine – just a problem when I actually try to spend $$$ for them!!

    How does that make sense??

    As you probably have noticed this discussion has been going on some time and many of the posts must be out of date. I have been trying “Remove-ePub-drm-use-python-script.rar” but haven’t got it to work yet. Still trying – not sure how it finds the books to decrypt the key – looking for more documentation!

    I only bought books for 1 or 2 dollars each but still, after 2 days I feel like I have been ROBBED!! And I am quite ready to see if I can STEAL some ebooks somewhere!!

  11. karl Avatar

    Totally awesome….i am still amazed at the great info i come accross on the web….thanks

  12. drm converter Avatar

    good information…and if you want to use another way to delete drm protection, you can use a drm removal tool, and it also can convert wmv wma to ipad 2 | iTunes to Playbook | iTunes to htc thunderbolt | wmv wma to iphone 4 | amazon video demand for ipad 2 |iTunes to Motorola XOOM| amazon video demand to playbook etc.

  13. drm removal Avatar

    I really enjoy browsing through your site.. Thank you for all your wonderful posts.

  14. james cannon Avatar
    james cannon

    Actually, I’m not capable to browse books that are encrypted with DRM on my most well-liked eBook reading platform. Many thanks for posting this content. horse colic

  15. jarysory Avatar

    with DRM on my most well-liked eBook reading platform. epub drm remover.

  16. sandy Avatar

    Use ABC epub drm removal,you can easily remove drm from epub for windows and mac,enjoy!!

  17. AuthorHouse Avatar

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  18. Eric Avatar

    You can get ineptepub to decrypt epubs from Kobo (presumably from other vendors too, but I haven’t tested that part)
    You will most like need to run ineptkey on a windows machine…the instructions are all at the website.

  19. Guilherme Avatar

    You can set up Calibre to download neefsweds and have them sent to a Kindle via WiFi. I tried Google Reader with the browser and it works in normal mode but is kind of hard to navigate haven’t tried the mobile version or any other RSS readers.

  20. Andressa Avatar

    No. It can only convert files beewten formats. It needs to be able to read them to convert them and it can\’t as the DRM protected files can only be read by appropriate software e.g Adobe Digital Editions and DRM enabled E-readers. +7Was this answer helpful?

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