Stripping the DRM

by wjw on August 4, 2014

I need to bust me some DRM.

It’s the DRM on my own work, I hasten to add.  My publishers have ebook rights for North America on some titles, but I control the rights elsewhere.  Easiest way for me to exploit these rights is to strip the DRM from the North American ebooks, then put new covers on them and market them to the rest of the world.

Anybody got a good way to do this?


Tucker August 4, 2014 at 11:46 pm

Mostly, Calibre, although there are other options as well. I believe this post is still the go-to guide for all your ebook-DRM-removal questions.

Brian Borchers August 4, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Calibre is the most well known software package that can do this.

However, isn’t there a legal copyright issue in that the publisher could argue that their formatting of the book for publication created a derivative work on which they hold copyright? Or did you supply the publisher with the book already in an ebook format?

Al August 5, 2014 at 12:43 am

Calibre doesn’t do it out of the box. You need a plugin that adds the capability. Walter (if I may call you such), if you email me, I can help you out and answer questions. I’m pretty familiar with the techniques.

Anonymous August 5, 2014 at 12:46 am has the de-DRM tools for kindle, nook and Adobe.

Hpp August 5, 2014 at 12:47 am

See for the tools you need

TRX August 5, 2014 at 1:15 am

If Calibre won’t do it, you can email it to me and I can try a few other tools.

Andres August 5, 2014 at 1:30 am

I know there is some drm removal software recommended on this site:, including iTunes video drm removal, eBook drm removal. But all software are not free. Hope it’s useful for your issue.

Karen Lofstrom August 5, 2014 at 3:23 am

You can get plugins for Calibre that will strip DRM. Go to the blog Apprentice Alf and look for links. Note that the publishers shoot them down as soon as they are aware of them. The tools are then moved to a different host, and the location noted in the comments. You have to drill down the comment thread.

A scary process, because some of the sites hosting the tools might also infect you with malware. They look sketchy. Use extreme caution.

wjw August 5, 2014 at 7:08 am

Thanks for the information! I’ll get right on it.

If the original publisher has unique formatting I might have to get their permission (or change the formatting), but it looks like ordinary text to me.

Steinar Bang August 6, 2014 at 5:41 pm

As others have said: calibre + apprentice alf’s calibre plugins is the way to go.

As Karen Lofstrom said: be careful when downloading the tools*.zip file Follow the exact instructions on the blog, and click on the correct place on the web page (do not use their tools to download the file, just download the tools*.zip file).

This cannot be emphasized enough! (especially if you’re on a windows machine)

Once the plugin has been installed, just import the DRM-ified books into calibre.

TRX August 13, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Well, did it work!?

wjw August 17, 2014 at 1:37 am

Umm, no. It filled my computer with malware.

I was very careful downloading the .zip file, and I didn’t download their unzip file, but all I had to do was right-click on the file and suddenly my every web page was full of advertising that hadn’t put there.

My first antivirus program wouldn’t work against it, and neither would the second, so now I’m trying the third. Aiee.

Fortunately this isn’t as inconvenient as it could be, because this is a PC, and I normally work on an Apple. I keep the PC around because most self-publishing software is written for the PC.

After slapping my forehead a time or two, I realized that I didn’t have to bust the DRM, just go to a pirate site and download a DRM-free version for nuthin’. But I want a working antivirus before I do that.

TRX August 18, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Ooohh, bad juju. Did you get it from the author’s or one of the Trojan-horse sites like, that usually adds malware with their proprietary “installer” program? A lot of Windows software sites that used to be legitimate are now malware sock puppet sites.

I have versions from installed in both Fedora and an XP virtual machine, and neither did anything untoward.

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