Need an ebook in pdf format
September 17, 2015 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone help me convert a Kindle book to a PDF?

I have an ebook. This book only comes in electronic format. I need it to be in paper format and so need to convert it to a PDF. I don't have Calibre but my stepdad does so I loaned the book to him to convert and send back to me and he said he was unable to convert it (not sure why, though there's maybe an off chance he couldn't figure it out if it's really complicated). He's used Calibre to covert ebooks to other formats before so he knows how to do that much.

Right now I can only read the book on my Kindle or in the cloud. Is there any way to get this in any kind of file format that I can print? I've tried everything I can to download/print from the cloud version and have had no luck. If possible, I would prefer to do this without having to install something on my computer for this one purpose (and then uninstalling because I would likely never use it again). Any help appreciated, thanks.
posted by triggerfinger to Technology (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Your stepdad doesn't have the right credentials to unlock the DRM on the Kindle book. Are you comfortable giving him your amazon id and password? He needs those to set up Calibre with your Amazon credentials instead of his. If it makes you uncomfortable, you could change your password, give it to him and then change it again once he is done.
posted by soelo at 8:09 AM on September 17, 2015

Or you can install Calibre and do it on your own so you don't have to share permissions. Calibre should do MOBI to PDF just fine.
posted by griphus at 8:10 AM on September 17, 2015

I loaned the book to him to convert
I missed this but I think that could be an issue, too. Send him your actual .mobi file instead of lending it to him if you have him try with your credentials.
posted by soelo at 8:15 AM on September 17, 2015

I don't know of an easy way to do this without installing software on a computer. Certainly on a Mac, installing Kindle Reader, Calibre and the Apprentice Alf-derived plugins results in Calibre automatically (or nearly so) picking up your DRM credentials from Amazon's software.

This is a colossal pain, but then, so is DRM.
posted by scruss at 8:50 AM on September 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

If DRM is not an issue, there are various online file converters such as this one (despite the name it does various file formats). If it is DRMed then scruss' way is the only way.
posted by TheRaven at 12:02 PM on September 17, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I think (assume?) it is a DRM format, so it looks like I'll just have to download Calibre, which I had been hoping to avoid but it's not really that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. I think I should just be able to convert it to a PDF without downloading plugins, right? I've converted DRM to I think mobi (? I have no idea what I'm talking about, probably) in the long-ago distant past and it was pretty easy, as far as these things go. Hoping it will be just as easy for a pdf or I'll be totally lost.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:37 AM on September 21, 2015

MOBI and PDF are both types of files: PDF is an Acrobat file and MOBI is an Amazon Kindle e-book. DRM is code within the MOBI file that keeps you from doing what you want with it, which in this case is convert to PDF. Calibre should be able to strip the DRM from the MOBI file (you may need to follow scruss' advice above) and then let you convert to whatever format you like.
posted by griphus at 10:47 AM on September 21, 2015

I think I should just be able to convert it to a PDF without downloading plugins, right?
Probably not. The plug in is required to remove the DRM from the .mobi file so that it can be converted. The plugins are not a big deal to install, but you will have to enter your Amazon id and password into the settings of the plugin so it can read the file.
posted by soelo at 11:05 AM on September 21, 2015

Response by poster: Omg, it took me nearly two hours, but I finally figured it out and now have both a PDF and Word version of my book! Thank you all so much for your help!
posted by triggerfinger at 7:21 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: (Also, for future reference for anyone who might stumble across this - I added the Apprentice Alf plugin, which was easy. It still wouldn't strip the DRM, despite me deleting the book, closing and opening Calibre and re-uploading the book again. After doing that about 20 times, I realized that because I had originally saved the book to my laptop via the "download and transfer via USB" option in Amazon, the plugin somehow wasn't working. So I had to install the Kindle for PC app and download the book that way at which point I re-uploaded it to Calibre and was able to convert it successfully. Phew.)
posted by triggerfinger at 7:27 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

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