Once you purchase an eBook on Amazon for your Kindle you may think that the content is yours forever in the same way as a physical book. This isn’t the case. You don’t own that book, according to the Kindle Store terms of use. It’s licensed to you only and you actually own nothing.

They can take that book away whenever you want. They can even delete your account without warning and revoke all your purchases. But if you want to actually own the book, you can do so by stripping away Digital Rights Management (DRM). And this is how to do it.

Understanding What You’re Doing

Removing DRM from your books may look like nothing has changed at all. You can still access them on your Kindle. The difference is you can take those files and convert them for use on other readers, as well as in PDF form. And Amazon can never take away those books.

Do bear in mind that in some countries this process is illegal. It’s also violating the terms of use. It’s almost impossible to get caught, but do remember that this is technically against the rules. A recent study revealed that there’s a severe lack of statistics regarding this issue.

You have to make your own decision on whether this is right for you.

So what do you need to get started?

  • The Kindle for PC application, where you can manage your account.
  • The Calibre eBook Manager. It’s a free downloadable application.
  • A DRM removal tool. There are plenty of them out there, but for this tutorial you will be using Apprentice Alf’s DRM Removal Tool.

Step 1 – Installation

Begin by installing Calibre and Kindle for PC. To go any further, you must register Kindle for PC under your normal Amazon account. Once it’s connected, you will be able to download all your eBooks to your computer. Take all your books and download them. Do this by going into the Archive and then Kindle for PC, before right clicking and bringing up the menu.

Sadly, you have to do this manually. Amazon has yet t offer any form of bulk download.

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Step 2 – Readying for Calibre

Once you have the files on your computer, you can start to play around with them. The actual files you are looking for will be found in the Documents folder. Search for the folder labelled My Kindle Content, or some other variant. Inside here you should find all the files that you downloaded in the previous step.

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At this point, you should have already installed Calibre and Apprentice Alf’s plugin bundle. The AZW files seen in your folder are the ones you need to focus on. These are the files protected by DRM. If you tried to convert or manipulate them as they are, the process would fail.

Step 3 – Working with Calibre

Launch Calibre and click on the Preferences menu. You should then look for the Plugins tab on this menu, before clicking on the Advanced button.

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Once you are in the Plugin window, you should click the option that allows you to load a plugin from a file. This should be found near the bottom of the window. Another screen will open and you can find Apprentice Alf’s plugin, which you should have already unzipped by this point.

Choose the K4MobiDeDRM ZIP file. After the file name there will be a specific version, which is constantly updated. You will then receive a warning window that will tell you that what you are about to do represents a security risk. Ignore this window and proceed.

If all has gone well, the plugin should have been installed without any problems.

At this point, all you need to do to get started with actually breaking DRM is to restart Calibre.

Step 4 – Breaking DRM

At this stage, you can get to the business of actually breaking DRM. Open Calibre again and open the folder where you downloaded your Kindle books to originally. Highlight all the AZW files and ignore the other ones. These are the DRM files you are going to strip.

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Drag and drop every file into the Calibre window. The software will then add every book to this window. What it’s actually doing is copying the files and creating duplicates of the books, but without any DRM attached. And these copies are impossible to remove from Amazon, which makes these books your property.

Conclusion

This process is easy and Amazon can do absolutely nothing to stop it. The software may update, but the process will remain roughly the same. Will you be breaking DRM on your books today?

 

AJ Agrawal
I cover the art of using smart, simple shortcuts that lead to growth. I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @
AJ Agrawal

@ajalumnify

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