Reading Kindle ebooks on Nook and other devices (removing DRM on Mac)

This post is not for the technologically faint of heart.

This information will be useful to you if you have a Mac, and you don’t own a Kindle, and you want to buy Kindle books, and then read them on some other ebook device such as a Nook.

I was not able to find an easy way to remove the DRM from Kindle books on a Mac without having a Kindle device. All the many scripts available would failed to remove the DRM usually because they needed a serial number or a PID. On a Mac I was only able to view Kindle books on Kindle for Mac. But this provides no serial number and no PID. I then found instructions on how to use an outdated version of Kindle for PC along with a couple of python scripts to convert purchased Kindle books into a DRM free version. It took a lot of messing around in order to get the right combination of script versions and Kindle version, along with Wine.

I am not going to spell this out in great detail as I don’t have the time just now. But if you are familiar with Wine and other basic computer stuff you should be able to figure this out with my list.

  • Install Wine, if you don’t already have it installed. If you don’t already have Wine that might imply you’ve never used it, you’re your success with the steps to follow may vary.
    • Use the latest version of WineBottler to install Wine. You can get that here. I used version 1.2.3
    • Uncompress it and install.
  • Run WineBottler. Click on “Install Predefined Prefixes”. At the top of the list you’ll see the prefix for Amazon Kindle. Install that. It will set up a Prefix with everything Kindle for PC requires.
    • I could not get the scripts to work with this version of Kindle for PC. So you need to update it…
  • Download a slightly newer outdated version of Kindle for PC. I used this one, which is Version 1.0 beta just a little newer than the one the Prefix installed, as far as I can tell: http://okomestudio.net/biboroku/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/KindleForPC-installer.exe.bz2
    • I also tried 1.4.1 from here but couldn’t get it to install. Try it first though. On my computer I found the installer would run in Wine and then crash. But if you can get it to install then it’s likely a better one to use (it’s newer).
    • You need to uncompress the bz2 file if that’s the one you got. Then install with Wine.
    • If you got the 1.4.1 version, install it with Wine.
  • Run Wine.
    • Bring up Winetricks from the Wine icon in your menu bar.
    • Find python26 in the big list and install it.
  • Install PyCrypto
    • Use the instructions on this page:
    • They are under the heading: Installing PyCrypto on Windows
  • I updated Python to version 2.7.1. I just downloaded the .exe installer from the Python site, and ran it with Wine (into the Kindle prefix). If you decide to do that, do it before you install PyCrypto (just in case it makes a difference)
  • Download Unswindle. Get latest version from here: http://i-u2665-cabbages.blogspot.com/2009/12/circumventing-kindle-for-pc-drm.html
    • In the Pastie site where this script is displayed, you’ll need to click the RAW button. Then select all and paste that into a new text file on your computer (use TextEdit or any text editor you like to use).
    • Save and name that file unswindle.pyw
  • Download latest MobiDeDRM. I used version 0.16. Get it from here: http://stream-recorder.com/forum/mobidedrm-py-remove-drm-mobipocket-ebooks-undrm-t5429.html
  • Used Finder to copy and paste the above two scripts into the c drive of the Kindle prefix I’d created in Wine. The path to the prefixes is (I’ve included the folder for my prefix, which I called Amazon Kindle XP, and for the python installation):

    [Your disk name]:Users:[your username]:Library:Application Support:Wine:prefixes:Amazon Kindle XP:drive_c\python27\

  • Bring up a terminal window for the Wine prefix (when Wine is running there is a little wine glass in the Mac menu bar. Use that to bring up “DOS Prompt”
  • Type in “CD python27″ or “CD python26″ (depending which version you installed)
  • Type in “python unswindler.pyw”
  • Run Kindle on Wine.
    • Select and open the book you need to deDRM
    • Close Kindle for PC
    • The script will now go to work on your file. It will ask you for an output location. Put it where you like, and name it something like bookname.mobi (replace bookname with the title of the book)
  • Drag the resulting mobi file into Calibre
  • Voila. There you go.

I have written out all these steps from memory, so I hope I got everything. It’s a lot of work, but once you have all that in place, it is then relatively easy to use these scripts to remove the DRM from your future Kindle purchases.

There’s some interesting reading here: http://superuser.com/questions/258608/how-can-i-remove-drm-from-kindle-books

 

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