Post updated on 10 August, 2015
Calibre is a free, open source, ebook management and conversion utility created and maintained by Kovid Goyal. It is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
Calibre cannot, on its own, remove DRM from ebooks. However, it is possible to added third-party software (‘plugins’) to enhance calibre.
To be able to use the DeDRM plugin for calibre, it is necessary to install calibre first. The latest version can be downloaded from http://calibre-ebook.com/download.
The DeDRM plugin for calibre
The DRM removal plugin (DeDRM_plugin.zip) can be found in the tools archive linked from the most recent post in this blog. The DeDRM plugin can remove DRM from Kindle eBooks (but not rented Kindle ebooks, books downloaded to a Kindle Fire, Kindle for iOS or the Windows Store Kindle App), Barnes & Noble ePub ebooks (but not books downloaded to the Windows Store Nook App) , any ebooks using Adobe Digital Editions DRM (this includes ePubs from Kobo and Sony that are downloaded for Adobe Digital Editions), and the older Mobipocket and eReader ebooks. For other kinds of ebooks see the other posts in this blog.
Installing the DeDRM plugin for calibre
- Download the latest tools package, and unzip it.
(On Windows, right-click and “Extract All…”; After extracting all, rename the tools_vX.X.X.zip file to tools_zipped_vX.X.X.zip to prevent later confusion)
- Run calibre. From the Preferences menu select “Change calibre behavior”.
(Do not click “Get plugins to enhance calibre”, that option is reserved for ‘official’ calibre plugins.)
- Click on Plugins (under “Advanced”) — it looks like a jigsaw puzzle piece.
- Click on the large “Load plugin from file” button
- Navigate to the tools folder unzipped in step 2
- Open the “DeDRM_calibre_plugin” folder
- Select the DeDRM_plugin.zip file in that folder
- Click on the “Add” (sometimes “Open”) button.
- Click on the “Yes” button in the “Are you sure?” warning dialog that appears. A “Success” dialog will appear, saying that the plug-in has been installed. Click on “OK”.
Customising the plugin with encryption keys
On Macintosh and Windows systems no customisation is required for ebooks from Kindle for Mac/PC, Nook Study, or Adobe Digital Editions (ADE), provided that calibre is run on the same computer and user account as the installation of Kindle for Mac/PC, Nook Study, or ADE to which the books were downloaded. The default key is found and stored in the preferences automatically. Anyone using Linux should read the ReadMe file for details of how to obtain the keys manually.
For other sources of ebooks, or on Linux systems, you must configure the plugin. To configure the plugin, you must find it in the list of plugins. Usually calibre will have automatically selected the DeDRM plugin after you add it. If not, the DeDRM plugin can be found under “File Type plugins”. It might easier to find if you check the “Show only user installed plugins” checkbox. You might need to click on the triangle next to the “File Type plugins” label to show the list of File Type plugins.
If it’s not already selected, click on the DeDRM plugin in the list to select it, and then click on the Customize plugin button. This will open that main “Customise DeDRM” dialog which contains a set of buttons describing different type and sources of ebooks. If you have DRMed ebooks that match the description on any of the buttons, you will need to click on the button and enter the required information in the sub-dialog that will pop up.
All the dialogs have a help link in the top right of the dialog, that gives further information about the required information.
When all the configuration for your DRMed ebooks has been entered, click “OK” in the main dialog to save all the information you’ve entered. You’re now ready to remove the DRM from your ebooks.
Using the DeDRM calibre plugin
The DeDRM calibre plugin removes DRM from ebooks as they are imported into calibre. So to use the plugin, just import your DRMed ebooks into calibre, and the DRM will be removed. If you have already imported your ebooks into calibre, you will need to remove the DRMed ebooks and import them again.
You can check that the DRM has been removed from an imported ebook by trying to view it using calibre’s built-in viewer. Note that for .azw3 Kindle ebooks you might need to check a checkbox in calibre’s preferences to say that .azw3 ebooks should be viewed using calibre’s internal viewer.
If things go wrong
The calibre developers are not involved in the development of the DRM removal plugin, and are not able to help with any DRM removal questions. If you have any difficulties following the instructions in this post, the calibre developers will not be able to help.
You must ask any questions about installing or using the DeDRM calibre plugin in a comment to most recent post on this blog.
Most of the work on converting the DRM removal scripts to a calibre plugin has been done by DiapDealer and Apprentice Alf.