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Old 03-26-2009, 10:01 AM   #1
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Kindle Books From Amazon Without DRM

As I understand it, some of the books that Amazon sells for Kindle have no DRM. Alas, I can't see any way to tell which ones they are. Since I consider books without DRM more valuable (for obvious reasons that have been covered many times) and I have the impression I'm not the only one, I was thinking it might be good to set up a list here of which books are known not to have DRM and are therefore better values for the money.

So to start off:

Analog Science Fiction and Fact (magazine, not book, I know) has no DRM.

Anybody else know one? Or more?
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:02 PM   #2
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I think some publishers never had DRM, but it would generally be a pain in the neck to list all the books separately.
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:13 PM   #3
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If we know what books don't have DRM, maybe we can figure out which publishers don't use it.
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:41 PM   #4
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How do you find out which one has DRM and which does not?
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:56 PM   #5
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If the file name is entirely numbers, then it probably has no DRM.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoboHobo View Post
How do you find out which one has DRM and which does not?
In my case, I found out about Analog not having any because I wanted to move them onto my new Kindle 2 and Amazon support said they could only move the last 3 months worth. So just on spec I tried copying the previous 7 months across with the USB cord. They work fine; ergo, no DRM.

There may be other ways to check; I don't know what they are, though.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catsittingstill View Post
There may be other ways to check; I don't know what they are, though.
Change the extension on an .azw file to .prc or .mobi and if it opens in Mobi Desktop (or other readers that only do non-DRM Mobi) you've got yourself a non-DRM book.

I don't even think you need to change the extension, just open it in some kind of Mobi reading software, but I'm not sure.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:35 PM   #8
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As AnemicOak says, rename from .azw to .mobi (or .prc) and try to open using any MOBI Reader.

There is a 2-byte int near the start of the file that are either set to 0 (no DRM) or 2 (standard DRM). This is one of the checks that kindlefix.py uses when "fixing" a MOBI file (there is obviously no need to fix a Kindle AZW file, but the needed check is in this python script). So if should be easy for someone to write an "isdrmfree" script. Unfortunately my Python skills are below novice level.
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoboHobo View Post
How do you find out which one has DRM and which does not?
The easy way is to copy the book from your Kindle to a PC, change the file type from .azw to .mobi and then try to open the book in Mobipocket Reader.


By the way, Mighty Hammer Down by David J. Guyton was DRM-free.
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Old 03-28-2009, 01:29 PM   #10
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See the attached python script, kindledrm.py, which reports the status of an AZW ebook. Note that kindledrm is not touching the file's DRM, it just looks at a 2-byte integer in the header that indicates the presence of DRM.

Using a windows command for loop (see the readme in the .zip) I found the following DRM-free AZWs on my Kindle:
Quote:
DRM-free Graphics on the Kindle-asin_B0018LILMO-type_EBOK-v_0.azw
DRM-free Pride and Prejudice in Extra Lar-asin_B0019HWY1Q-type_EBOK-v_0.azw
DRM-free A Canticle For Leibowitz-asin_B001IV5SES-type_EBOK-v_0.azw
DRM-free The Complete User s Guide to the-asin_B0011XW1E8-type_EBOK-v_0.azw
DRM-free Asimov s Science Fiction 01 01 2-asin_B001KC06OW-type_MAGZ-v_1.azw
DRM-free Homicide My Own-asin_B001G0MKVU-type_EBOK-v_0.azw
DRM-free Startide Rising-asin_B001PBF0MG-type_EBOK-v_0.azw
DRM-free The Solomon Scandals-asin_B001T4YANY-type_EBOK-v_0.azw
DRM-free White Witch Black Curse-asin_B001NLKRY4-type_EBSP-v_0.azw
Several of these are "Extra Large Print" ebooks that are no longer available. The others can be found by searching at Amazon for the ASIN which is in the file name (e.g. B0018LILMO). The script also finds DRM-free samples (White Witch is the only example here), which are typically labeled EBSP rather than EBOK. Most (all?) samples are DRM-free.
Attached Files
File Type: zip KindleDRM.zip (5.4 KB, 755 views)
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
See the attached python script, kindledrm.py, which reports the status of an AZW ebook. Note that kindledrm is not touching the file's DRM, it just looks at a 2-byte integer in the header that indicates the presence of DRM.

Using a windows command for loop (see the readme in the .zip) I found the following DRM-free AZWs on my Kindle:

Several of these are "Extra Large Print" ebooks that are no longer available. The others can be found by searching at Amazon for the ASIN which is in the file name (e.g. B0018LILMO). The script also finds DRM-free samples (White Witch is the only example here), which are typically labeled EBSP rather than EBOK. Most (all?) samples are DRM-free.
Hmm, I wonder if I should resurrect the installing python part of the Visual Guide. Folks would be on their own in obtaining and figuring out how to use the scripts.
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:55 PM   #12
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thanks for the suggestion about the python scripts. I don't know anything about python and am a little intimidated about learning, but I will keep them in mind.

Since python scripts do lots of things, I don't see what could be wrong about including information about installing python in the wiki.

For my part, since I have 2 Kindles, the easiest way would probably be for me to just use the USB cords to copy files from one Kindle to another and see if they will open. Unless I wanted to check boodles of files, but I only have a dozen or so Amazon e-books, and of course all my e-books from other sources are DRM-free, since that's what you have to use in Kindle.

But I appreciate the pointers and they may be helpful to other readers, who may have more e-books than I do.

I'm very interested to see Startide Rising and White Witch, Black Curse are DRM free. I may go out and buy those; I've read Startide Rising but don't have it in E, and White Witch Black Curse looked interesting. If they're DRM-free, they're good deals.

--Okay, that's weird. Just a sec (clunking and scrabbling noises) very weird. I can't find a Kindle version of Startide Rising at Amazon. I found White Witch, Black Curse, though. I have downloaded a couple of samples from the series and will see if I like them. Thanks for the tip. And good to know that Asimov's is DRM free--I will have to think about whether I want to subscribe to that on top of Analog.

Weird about Startide Rising; I wonder if they pulled it? Or maybe it was one of the extra large print ones?
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catsittingstill View Post
thanks for the suggestion about the python scripts. I don't know anything about python and am a little intimidated about learning, but I will keep them in mind.

Since python scripts do lots of things, I don't see what could be wrong about including information about installing python in the wiki.

For my part, since I have 2 Kindles, the easiest way would probably be for me to just use the USB cords to copy files from one Kindle to another and see if they will open. Unless I wanted to check boodles of files, but I only have a dozen or so Amazon e-books, and of course all my e-books from other sources are DRM-free, since that's what you have to use in Kindle.

But I appreciate the pointers and they may be helpful to other readers, who may have more e-books than I do.

I'm very interested to see Startide Rising and White Witch, Black Curse are DRM free. I may go out and buy those; I've read Startide Rising but don't have it in E, and White Witch Black Curse looked interesting. If they're DRM-free, they're good deals.

--Okay, that's weird. Just a sec (clunking and scrabbling noises) very weird. I can't find a Kindle version of Startide Rising at Amazon. I found White Witch, Black Curse, though. I have downloaded a couple of samples from the series and will see if I like them. Thanks for the tip. And good to know that Asimov's is DRM free--I will have to think about whether I want to subscribe to that on top of Analog.

Weird about Startide Rising; I wonder if they pulled it? Or maybe it was one of the extra large print ones?
Just finished "White Witch, Black Curse" and loved it but if you're not familiar with the series, I wouldn't start with it. It's about tying up loose ends from a previous book (actually 2 books ago) and is a little darker than the rest of the series.
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catsittingstill View Post
I'm very interested to see Startide Rising and White Witch, Black Curse are DRM free. I may go out and buy those; I've read Startide Rising but don't have it in E, and White Witch Black Curse looked interesting. If they're DRM-free, they're good deals.
FWIW I doubt White Witch, Black Curse is DRM free (never seen a Harper Collins book that is). What Wallcraft listed was a sample and AFAIK no samples have DRM. It's a good book, but as Daffy says not one to start with you'd want the first book in the series.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:11 AM   #15
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Weird about Startide Rising; I wonder if they pulled it? Or maybe it was one of the extra large print ones?
Yes, it is extra large print. Amazon pulled all these ebooks because the copyright status of some was not clear. See Large Print Unwelcome on the Kindle. I think the Virginia Woolf Foundation was on very thin ice relying on the disabilities exemption, although these ebooks do have a larger font size than available to standard Kindle ebooks.
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