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Old 11-30-2013, 07:46 AM   #1
johnnyb
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Hack Kindle for PC and Mac to enable copy-from-text feature

Dear community!

One thing that has been annoying me forever and is the one thing that Amazon stubbornly refuses: the impossibility to copy text from their PC/Mac reading apps. I actually think that this is precisely the reason why I haven’t been using Kindle books more for research, having to type-copy everything just made me get the books, not from Amazon though because I get a huge discount from another retailer. And everytime I resort to a Kindle book, it gets tricky. I have to restrain myself to “only use the Paperwhite” because then I could use Clippings Converter or use the Kindle cloud service. But that is not exactly the way it should work. Often, highlights are just pointers and you need the surrounding paragraph to know the context of a quote, which then entails “manually synchronizing” the the clippings file and text, which is even more awkward than typing from one window to another, on the same computer. Everything could be so perfect: you read anywhere, go back to your computer to find everything highlighted there ready to copy to your paper/article/website etc, but it isn’t...
At least not for non-US users. Customers from the US are free to copy from their computer app to their heart’s desire, which gave me the idea: “hey, there must be something in the settings somewhere that can be changed”... Only, I couldn’t find it... The reasoning is this: the app must somehow determine where it is (since it is the same app no matter where you download it) and accordingly enable or disable the “copy” feature. And since it cannot do that at any time (e.g. when the internet is off), I hope that there is a line in some settings file that stores this information. And I hope that this could lead to a permanent modification that would finally enable the copy feature for everyone.
I’m not tech-savy enough to find that setting, let alone determine its dependence on external factors, but I would hope that someone here is and come up with a step-by-step solution to getting a Kindle for PC/Mac (I’m actually on the Mac myself) app that *allows* copying of text.


(Disclaimer: I am not asking for a way to circumvent DRM, I am only asking for the location of a line of code that controls a certain feature in a computer application, something that is undeniably there.)
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:27 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by johnnyb View Post
At least not for non-US users. Customers from the US are free to copy from their computer app to their heart’s desire
"Copy" from the Kindle for PC app works absolutely fine for me in the UK, so it's not a US-only feature.

Here's some text copied from Kindle for PC:

Quote:
Widower and local worthy Sir Benjamin Hayner died and left the management of his vast estates and all his fortune to an impoverished gentlewoman, Harriet Metcalf. Miss Metcalf was to hold control of said estates and fortune until Sir Benjamin’s twin daughters, Sarah and Annabelle, should reach the age of twenty-one. The twins were only eighteen years old. Harriet Metcalf, their godmother, was a mere twenty-five years old.

Beaton, M.C. (2013-02-07). The Wicked Godmother (A House for the Season) (Kindle Locations 151-154). Constable Robinson. Kindle Edition.
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:43 AM   #3
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"Copy" from the Kindle for PC app works absolutely fine for me in the UK, so it's not a US-only feature.

Here's some text copied from Kindle for PC:
Wonderful, now how do I get my Kindle for Mac to do the same..? Because when I download the app from Amazon US, install on my Mac and run it, I don’t get to copy anything...despite my Kindle being on a US account...
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:47 AM   #4
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No idea, I'm afraid. On Kindle for PC, when I highlight text an options bar appears under the highlighted text, with the options "Highlight", "Add Note", "Copy", and "More", where "More" is a drop-down menu with more options (Dictionary, Google, Wikipedia, etc).
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
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No idea, I'm afraid. On Kindle for PC, when I highlight text an options bar appears under the highlighted text, with the options "Highlight", "Add Note", "Copy", and "More", where "More" is a drop-down menu with more options (Dictionary, Google, Wikipedia, etc).
Yup, I saw that as a screenshot for Kindle for Mac as well (reported to be from a US user)...unfortunately mine doesn’t do it...
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:51 AM   #6
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Here a screen-shot, for the sceptics
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyb View Post
Yup, I saw that as a screenshot for Kindle for Mac as well (reported to be from a US user)...unfortunately mine doesn’t do it...
What happens when you select text? Nothing at all?
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Old 11-30-2013, 10:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyb View Post
Wonderful, now how do I get my Kindle for Mac to do the same..? Because when I download the app from Amazon US, install on my Mac and run it, I don’t get to copy anything...despite my Kindle being on a US account...
You are presuming that "Kindle for PC" and "Kindle for Mac" are the same program.
Both built with the same build-time options from the same revision of the source.
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:17 AM   #9
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I just tried this on two PCs and one had the copy item when you highlight, the other had 'search' in its place. Initially they were different versions so I upgraded the one that was further behind. No difference. Went through the user settings, went through the registry settings and made them the same - no difference.

Now there is one BIG difference in that the "non-copy" version was running through Wine on Linux. I suppose they could be somehow detecting that but I think that if that were the case they'd do more than disable copy. IMHO there's either some hidden setting that's different, or it's a bug that causes the copy button to disappear, or some secondary effect of being on Wine. Since it also happens on Mac apparently I veer toward one of the first two.

For me personally this is not an issue as the reason I have it running on Wine is so I can import into Calibre via Alf's tools and so I can always copy from there if need be. To be fair though I'm reading fiction for pleasure, so whilst I highlight, I rarely copy.
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:39 AM   #10
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How very curious indeed! Thanks for reporting this. Are both registered to the same Amazon account?

Like you, the only reason I have K4PC installed is to provide an import route into Calibre.
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:57 AM   #11
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Yes, same account, same book.

If I get the time later I may fire up the netbook and put K4PC on there and see what I get. That's my other real Windows machine.
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Old 11-30-2013, 12:23 PM   #12
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Just tried what I should've tried earlier - running the wine version from the command line. It shows the usual amount of wine "fixme" messages which could of course be responsible, however there are several lines like this:

Code:
[E-0]createDocumentInfoInternal(C:\users\paul\My Documents\My Kindle Content\B002RI9XOW_EBOK.azw) - DRM issue
A quick strings on the kindle exe shows this is a K4PC message not a wine one. Which tells me there's code in there that's looking for what it thinks of as suspicious behaviour w.r.t DRM. Now these are books I've legitimately bought from Amazon but maybe the fact that the file is being read through an emulation layer, or one of the missing/wonky win32 function calls is causing it to trigger a piece of code which is detecting "DRM issues" and disabling the copy function. Now that's all speculation/educated guesswork but if it's true it leads to a couple of interesting thoughts:
  1. it's ironic that it's disabling copy but unable to stop the defeat of DRM as a whole and so I'm able to copy the entire text but not select snippets i.e. once again DRM measures prevent legitimate use whilst not stopping (potential) infringement.
  2. I can still read the book as intended via K4PC. So if you want to look at it that way it means Amazon is taking a customer-friendly/cautious view by *only* disabling the copy function.

Who knows? Doesn't really help the OP I'm afraid. Probably the best route is to raise it with Kindle customer service and see what answer you get.
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Old 11-30-2013, 04:07 PM   #13
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Thank you for all your responses!
Indeed I did raise the question with Kindle customer service, but as so often, when something is not solvable by protocol, they weren’t very helpful. They took my question/complaint as a suggestion and „forwarded it to the development team“ where I am pretty sure nobody really cares or cared(since that was some time ago)...
So it is possible that my Mac is causing this, but in all seriousness, I wouldn’t know where to look (and CS wouldn’t tell me )...
So, stuck again...
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:32 AM   #14
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Update… I realized it's been many months, but on my Kindle for the Mac, version 1.10.6,
if you select text, it does indeed pop up with choices, including copy!

It shows a mini dictionary pop up window (even if a sentence is selected), and a tabbed menu choices of

Highlight, Copy, Add Note, More

Copy works just as expected, albeit without the handy iBooks feature of showing the citation of where the quote came from (of course, it also is without the link/ad for where to buy the book).

Just wish that the Kindle app for the iOS devices provided the copy feature. It does NOT! Sadly…
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