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Old 06-19-2010, 12:39 AM   #1
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Kobo, Ubuntu, DRM - problems everywhere

Okay, I tried, but I somehow think someone doesn't want me to legally buy books...

I bought a Kobo from Angus&Robertson in Australia the other week. I exclusively run Ubuntu at home.

Today I thought I'll do the right thing and purchase a book. So I went to the Borders website (A&R was more expensive) and bought a book.

What I got was a download link. No biggie, downloaded Adobe Digital Editions, managed to get that to work under Ubuntu and downloaded the book.

1. Problem: ADE doesn't recognise my Kobo when plugged in. Hm. Transferred the epub file to my Kobo via calibre, no problem.

2. Problem: got the "locked" message trying to open the book. Hm. Tried using the linux version of the Kobo Desktop.

3. Problem: Kobo desktop doesn't show all the books on my Kobo, only 5 free books. Tried a sync, nothing changed. Managed to get hold of a windows computer, installed ADE and finally managed to unlock the purchased book

4. Problem: after all this, my "I'm reading" section is now empty (except for the new book), which also means all my bookmarks are gone. Oh joy, I now have to manually find and navigate to the pages in the books I was reading. Not a short task with the time it takes to turn pages.

Seriously, why bother buying books ? It would have taken me mere minutes to download the book "somewhere else" and get it onto my Kobo. This is not how you encourage people to do the right (legal) thing !

On a side note, I tried finding out how to strip the DRM from the book I bought so I could easily transfer it with calibre but no luck so far.
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Old 06-19-2010, 12:55 AM   #2
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This is a case where the one time use of an actual Windows PC will probably fix your problems.

If you want to keep the DRM in place, then setup Adobe Digital Editions for your existing AdobeID on the Windows PC and then plug in the Kobo and authorize it from within ADE. Then the Adobe ebooks with DRM should work.

If you want to strip the DRM, the first step is to extract the encryption key that ADE is using which is done on a Windows system with ADE installed. This might be possible using Wine under Linux but is easiest under native Windows. Once you have the key, removing the DRM should be possible under native Linux (it is just a python script). One issue is that you will need the latest scripts. The best single site for up to date info about DRM is Apprentice Alf's Blog.

Note that DRM always screws you if you use it long enough. So removing it immediately is always the best option. Despite what the publishing industry implies, this has no downside for the purchaser and reader of ebooks that I can see providing you only make personal use of the ebooks.
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Old 06-19-2010, 01:00 AM   #3
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2. Problem: got the "locked" message trying to open the book. Hm. Tried using the linux version of the Kobo Desktop.
I'd guess that this is directly caused by #1. You need to authorize your Kobo using ADE before it will open any DRM wrapped books. Figure out why the Linux ADE version isn't detecting the Kobo and fix it so you can authorize the device. Alternatively, boot into a windows PC and authorize your Kobo (only need to do it once).

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3. Problem: Kobo desktop doesn't show all the books on my Kobo, only 5 free books. Tried a sync, nothing changed. Managed to get hold of a windows computer, installed ADE and finally managed to unlock the purchased book
The Desktop app will not show any of the 100 free books included with the Kobo, any books loaded on it through ADE, or any regular epubs loaded through Calibre or a file manager. The app is only for loading on purchased books from Kobo that you added to 'Your Library' through their website. (We all see those 5 'sample' public domain books, all of which are already included in the 100 free books I think. I'd guess they are just there so its not a blank screen)

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Problem: after all this, my "I'm reading" section is now empty (except for the new book), which also means all my bookmarks are gone. Oh joy, I now have to manually find and navigate to the pages in the books I was reading. Not a short task with the time it takes to turn pages.
Yes, this is a known bug. Every time you 'SYNC' with the desktop app, it resets the status of all books. This is the main reason I avoid the app like the plague.

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On a side note, I tried finding out how to strip the DRM from the book I bought so I could easily transfer it with calibre but no luck so far.
Google 'Removing Adobe ADEPT DRM'

Last edited by Stinger; 06-19-2010 at 01:05 AM.
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Old 06-19-2010, 02:55 AM   #4
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Thanks for those tips guys. I managed to get rid of the DRM and transfer the book using calibre.

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This might be possible using Wine under Linux but is easiest under native Windows.
Would be great to know how this can be achieved under wine. I would prefer it if I don't have to boot into windows when I want to remove DRM from purchased books.

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Yes, this is a known bug. Every time you 'SYNC' with the desktop app, it resets the status of all books.
That is an annoying bug. I would have stayed away from the application as well but thought it might help me fix the locked content problem.
I hope a future firmware update introduces better bookmarking, including some way of managing bookmarks.
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Old 06-19-2010, 03:32 AM   #5
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This thread perfectly illustrates why DRM is a terrible idea.
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dafrizz View Post
Thanks for those tips guys. I managed to get rid of the DRM and transfer the book using calibre.



Would be great to know how this can be achieved under wine. I would prefer it if I don't have to boot into windows when I want to remove DRM from purchased books.
I run Adobe Digital Editions on my Ubuntu install (though I run it through Crossover Office, not Wine, but the procedure should be the same).

I found that if I loaded Adobe then plugged in my reader it would not be found, however if I plugged in my reader (and had it mount) then ran ADE it was picked up and I could authorise it and copy books etc. The trick is, plug in the reader first!! So that might fix your issue with the reader not being found.

Your second problem I have successfully (once again through Crossover Office but the same procedure should work with Wine).

- Install Python using wine (it should by default use the same c_drive as Adobe Digital Editions).
- Install PyCrypto using wine (I think that is the name of the second package the python scripts you are using requires).
- Run the Python IDLE then go File -> Open and select the first python script and run it.
- Save the extracted key somewhere in your file system.

Now when you download books into ADE you can (provided you have installed PyCrypto on your Ubuntu install natively (not wine), you can run python ineXXXXXX.pyw script, select the extracted key, then navigate to where ADE saves your downloaded book (mine is ~/Documents/My Digital Editions by default), enter an output dir/file and you are away. Alternatively you could run the Python IDLE through wine again and perform the stripping that way.

Sorry if I am not being precise in my methods, but I believe we are not allowed to provide assistance on stripping DRM on this forum, so I am limited in only being able to tell you how to install Python and PyCrypto under Wine and how to run python scripts through it.

Last edited by Solicitous; 06-19-2010 at 07:03 AM. Reason: Change PyQT to PyCrypto
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Old 06-19-2010, 01:53 PM   #7
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My signature may help you rid yourself of DRM.
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Old 06-19-2010, 02:44 PM   #8
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I was able to successfully transfer books bought from Kobo through their app (for Ubuntu 10.04) without any issues. I have used the Windows app too before from a Windows machine but I never transferred anything then. I haven't used ADE at all with my Kobo, it has been exposed to Calibre a bunch of times though.

I'm not a fan of DRM either but it seems I've been lucky and not run into any issues with it and Ubuntu 10.04.
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Old 06-19-2010, 08:04 PM   #9
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Thanks Solicitous, worked like a charm.
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Old 09-23-2011, 07:09 AM   #10
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I use Ubuntu, Kobo, Wine with Adobe Digital and calibre. I purchased a DRM book in PDF format, I had to give up and use a Windows PC to "authorize" my Kobo reader, having done that I mananged to transfer the file to the Kobo ebook reader. I think I did that with windows Im not sure

I spend hours trying to solve this problem, now the PDF book on *loody KOBO can not scale the font, the letters are too small for me. Some of the text is hidden if I use 125% text size.

UBuntu + KOBO + DRM = not a good combination.
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Old 09-23-2011, 09:01 AM   #11
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Anything + DRM = not a good combination.
Fixed that for you.
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:40 AM   #12
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I'll throw this out there: it's relatively easy to find DRM free versions of most books on the internet (some take a little more digging than others), and I don't see any problem with taking advantage of them provided you've legally purchased the book in question.
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:40 PM   #13
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PDF and ePub are significantly different formats. I don't think it's fair to make a blanket statement about Kobo + DRM based on your experience with a DRMed PDF.

I have been using Linux with my KT with zero issues beyond spending some extra time setting things up in the first 2 days. That includes using Adobe Digital Editions under Linux.
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Old 09-30-2011, 05:07 AM   #14
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Finding DRM free versions of scientific books in Danish is a tad difficult, thx for the advice. EPUB books are OK, DRM is a stinker
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