So THIS is that nasty DRM thing they talk about...
May 14, 2012 10:44 AM   Subscribe

So, I have an ebook in the epub format. I want to read it on a device that is not the one I downloaded it to. Calibre informs me that this book is locked by DRM. I still want to read it on this device, and I don't want to buy the book twice - how do I make it so?

I bought an .epub book, with real money, legally and everything! Go me!

Now, a few weeks later, I've read it on my Nook Color, and I want access to it on another computer (not the one I bought the book from, and not one that I can easily hook my Nook up to to transfer the file). I was able to re-download the file from to this secondary computer, but Calibre informs me that the file is DRM-protected and I'm shit out of luck if I want to actually read it, because it's too indignant about the concept of DRM to handle such files.

I'm not willing to pay for this book twice. I usually stay away from DRMed media files, but when I bought this one I did it on an impulse and it didn't even occur to me to check whether it was DRMed.

Am I really out of luck? Is there truly no way for me - logged into my Barnes & Noble account, mind you - to tell B&N "no, really, this is me, the person who paid you for the book. Please let me read it here!"? If I manage to hook my Nook up to this computer, will I be able to copy that version of the file over and read it, or am I really just not going to be able to do one single thing with this .epub file other than read it on my Nook, and my Nook only?

Tl;dr question versions:
From this (secondary) compuyter: Is there a way for me to read this DRMed file, that I bought *%^*$ legally, on this machine? Right now, today?
From my primary computer or Nook Color: Is there a way to un-DRM the file from there, so I can then read it on the secondary computer?
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Short answer: it depends on the DRM license you've got. If it says "one device only" you're out of luck; otherwise it's about the right configuration of programs.

Long answer: depending on your DRM scheme there are tools to un-DRM a file.
posted by knz at 10:47 AM on May 14, 2012

Best answer: Most DRM books that I've encountered (Amazon) have a license limit (usually greater than 1). That said, you have to use the approved reading app to do so.

Have you tried opening the book in the Nook reader for PC?
posted by wongcorgi at 10:49 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

You want to go read what apprentice alf has to say about this. I know that the Calibre plugins work on books bought from Amazon; don't know about other stores/formats, but it should work.
posted by rtha at 10:51 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

This old comment linked to a bunch of Calibre plugins that might help.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:51 AM on May 14, 2012

Best answer: You didn't say who you bought this book from (and therefore whose DRM we are talking about), but since you mentioned that you did mention that you can read it on your Nook. The Nook is from Barnes & Noble, and they give away free readers for a variety of platforms, including for the Mac and the PC. If you bought your book from B&N, try downloading the Nook reader for your computer and redownload your book for the reader.
posted by RichardP at 10:52 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Unfortunately, I have no idea what license the book is DRMed under. Is there a way to find that out?
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 10:53 AM on May 14, 2012

Did you buy it from Barnes and If so, it's their proprietary DRM, and this might be helpful.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:56 AM on May 14, 2012

Response by poster: Have you tried opening the book in the Nook reader for PC?

Well. I. Uh...

*downloads program, opens book with no problem, feels like a monumental idiot*


I have now, and it works beautifully. Thanks, wongcorgi. For some reason it hadn't occurred to me that BN would make available their own linked-in app. Nothing like a quickly-answered askme to make a girl feel like a dunce :)
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 10:58 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hah! Points to Sidhedevil for reading the question more carefully than I did.

For the record, the Apple iBooks app and the Amazon Kindle app can also both be installed on a regular desktop or laptop. All the major ereader apps are cross-platform.

If the platforms are connected to the net they will generally sync if you let them, so I can start a book on my laptop, leave for a trip and open it where I left off on my iPad, and then later open it again from where I left off on my android phone. Living in the future is fun!
posted by Wretch729 at 11:06 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

In case you ever want to read it on a non-nook device, try Calibre's DRM-removal plugin. (On preview, rtha and Wretch have it.)
posted by egg drop at 11:42 AM on May 14, 2012

For the benefit of future readers: As of this writing (May 2012) DRM'd books from the iBooks store can only be read on iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch). Apple has not released a desktop version of iBooks, nor for Android or any other platform. It's reasonably likely that they will at some point in the future, but it's not available yet.
posted by libraryhead at 6:40 AM on May 21, 2012

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