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Old 05-27-2024, 01:23 AM   #1
odamizu
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Dealing with Kindle ebooks in calibre

With the retirement/unstickification of jhowell’s invaluable Dealing with Kindle for PC/Mac 1.19 (and later) and KFX in calibre thread, I’m starting this thread to hopefully serve as a new central place for discussion and investigation going forward for people who want to use Kindle ebooks with calibre.

First, you will need DeDRM v10.0.9 beta/RC or the alpha release. This will work on most (but not all) Kindle ebooks. (Some Kindle books come with extra-strength encryption that these tools cannot handle, etc.) If you have questions about installing, setting up, or using DeDRM, ask on GitHub. Detailed help on the aforementioned topics is not permitted on MobileRead.

Once you have DeDRM v10.0.9 or later installed, the following methods can be used to obtain Kindle ebook files that work with calibre:


Method 1: Download & transfer via USB

To use this method, you must have an eink Kindle (not a Fire) registered to your Amazon account.

Log in to your Amazon account, then: Account & Lists > Content Library > Books > [find the book you want] > More actions > Download & transfer via USB > [select an eink Kindle] > Download. You should receive an .azw3 (KF8) or .mobi file that you can import into calibre.

Tip: If you want to convert to epub, your best bet is to use the KindleUnpack plugin, which unpacks the azw3 contents and repackages them into an epub. This often produces better results than converting to epub using calibre. Once you have the epub, you can manipulate it in calibre as you like.

Note: There are some ebooks for which Download & transfer is not available, such as those in Kindle Unlimited, etc.


Method 2: Kindle for PC/Mac

Kindle for PC 2.3.5 thru 2.4.0 (aka 2.3.70840 thru 2.4.70904) and Kindle for Mac 1.40.x are known to work with calibre for most (but not all) books, provided you have the KFX Input plugin installed.
  • The latest release of Kindle for PC can be downloaded from Amazon. At the time of this writing, the download version was 2.4.0 (aka 2.4.70904). If you get a newer version and it does not work with calibre, you can probably find earlier versions from a third-party site with the help of Google. Ebooks are reportedly located in your Documents > My Kindle Content folder. Note: I am a Mac person. If Windows users provide updates and corrections, I will do my best to keep the PC info in this post up-to-date.
  • Kindle for Mac 1.40.1 can be downloaded from third-party sites. Google is your friend. To find the location of your ebooks, look under menubar: Kindle > Preferences. Versions 1.40.2 and 1.40.3 (aka Kindle Classic for Mac) were Apple App Store versions that are no longer available (but should work if you already have it). The latest Kindle for Mac app (v7.x) does not work with calibre.
  • Import the .azw file into calibre; most will be KFX format. If you are a Mac user and get a .kcr file (e.g., books with vertical text, such as Japanese), this will not work with calibre and you will need to use another method.
  • For books published in 2022 or earlier, you may be able to use older versions of Kindle for PC/Mac to obtain azw3/KF8. However, this will not work for books published in 2023 and later. For more info on using older versions of Kindle for PC/Mac, see the Spoiler section of: Dealing with Kindle for PC/Mac 1.19 (and later) and KFX in calibre.

Method 3: Old eink Kindle
If you have an old eink Kindle running firmware older than v5.6.5, you can connect your Kindle to your computer via USB and copy ebooks directly from Kindle to computer then import into calibre.

More info on different Kindle models and their usefulness in obtaining ebooks that can be used with calibre from the invaluable jhowell: here


Method 4: Kindle for Android
Older Kindle for Android apps (4.17 and older) will work when used with emulator software; no Android device required. See: DRM workaround: Kindle for Android

Last edited by odamizu; 06-25-2024 at 06:25 PM. Reason: updated info
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Old 05-27-2024, 12:53 PM   #2
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Kindle 1.35.0 for Mac

It's still possible to download Kindle 1.35.0 for Mac from amazon.co.uk by following this link and 'purchasing' it for £0:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07MWT3C...=docs-os-doi_0

It worked fine for me on a M1 Mac running Sonoma, with the usual Calibre/DeDRM/KFX input plugin setup.

Last edited by Rosales; 05-27-2024 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 05-27-2024, 01:35 PM   #3
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I just followed the link in the initial post to download the latest version of Kindle for PC, but I ended up with 2.3.70840, not 2.3.5.
If 2.3.5 is required could you point it out in the post and bring back a link on where to retrieve it?
Thank you very much!
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Old 05-27-2024, 02:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosales View Post
It's still possible to download Kindle 1.35.0 for Mac from amazon.co.uk by following this link and 'purchasing' it for £0:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07MWT3C...=docs-os-doi_0

It worked fine for me on a M1 Mac running Sonoma, with the usual Calibre/DeDRM/KFX input plugin setup.
Are you able to download new books (published in 2023 and later) with 1.35.0? It is my understanding that Amazon changed things so that anything published in 2023 or later requires at least 1.39.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carpler View Post
I just followed the link in the initial post to download the latest version of Kindle for PC, but I ended up with 2.3.70840, not 2.3.5.
If 2.3.5 is required could you point it out in the post and bring back a link on where to retrieve it?
Can anyone confirm whether Kindle for PC 2.3.70840 works or if 2.3.5 is required? I am a Mac user and rely on Windows users to provide the latest Windows info.

Last edited by odamizu; 05-27-2024 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 05-27-2024, 03:18 PM   #5
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On my Windows PC, 2.3.5 (70840) works. I can download books, import them to calibre and convert them to other formats.

Last edited by DNSB; 05-27-2024 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 05-27-2024, 04:15 PM   #6
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My apologies for not checking more thoroughly! Kindle 1.35.0 for Mac doesn't work with post 2023 books.

Last edited by Rosales; 05-27-2024 at 04:16 PM. Reason: mistake
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Old 05-27-2024, 04:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DNSB View Post
On my Windows PC, 2.3.5 (70840) works. I can download books, import them to calibre and convert them to other formats.
I confess that I did not install the downloaded version. Does this mean that the file that shows in the name 2.3.70840 is actually the correct version (2.3.5)?
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Old 05-27-2024, 04:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carpler View Post
I confess that I did not install the downloaded version. Does this mean that the file that shows in the name 2.3.70840 is actually the correct version (2.3.5)?
Yes. The current latest version works.
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Old 05-27-2024, 06:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carpler View Post
I confess that I did not install the downloaded version. Does this mean that the file that shows in the name 2.3.70840 is actually the correct version (2.3.5)?
Yes, the version number is 2.3.5, the build is 70840. So another bug fix to 2.3.5 might show up as 2.3.5 with the build number changing to 71012. <= I invented that number and would be very shocked if it showed up as a real public release build number!
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Old 05-27-2024, 07:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odamizu View Post
I’m starting this thread to hopefully serve as a new central place for discussion and investigation going forward for people who want to use Kindle ebooks with calibre.
Thank you so much for taking on this responsibility!
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Old 05-27-2024, 11:46 PM   #11
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Thank you so much for taking on this responsibility!
Thank YOU, jhowell, for maintaining the original thread for over 7 years and for all of your work over the years unraveling Kindle formats and Kindle apps. You know so much more about all this than I do. I hope you will continue to share your knowledge in this and other threads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DNSB View Post
On my Windows PC, 2.3.5 (70840) works. I can download books, import them to calibre and convert them to other formats.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbovenka View Post
Yes. The current latest version works.
@DNSB and @mbovenka: Great! I will update the first post to clarify.
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Old 05-28-2024, 08:13 AM   #12
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@paola from previous thread:

Quote:
sure, I should have said it in the first place, this is it:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...&ie=UTF8&psc=1

the pages do look all like each is a pdf.
Since that is a 2024 publication, I'm surprised it downloaded with an older version at all. Suggest trying method 2 above.

Last edited by lkmiller; 05-28-2024 at 08:21 AM. Reason: fix link
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Old 05-28-2024, 08:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkmiller View Post
@paola from previous thread:



Since that is a 2024 publication, I'm surprised it downloaded with an older version at all. Suggest trying method 2 above.
If it really is a book of images, then it cannot be converted to KFX. The eBook shows Enhanced Typesetting as Not Enabled.
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Old 05-28-2024, 02:37 PM   #14
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Windows users: Is "the newer Kindle for PC app available in the app store for Windows 11" still a thing? Is it still helpful to reference this in the original post or is it sufficient to say the latest Kindle for PC app available directly from Amazon is the one you need?
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Old 05-28-2024, 03:22 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
If it really is a book of images, then it cannot be converted to KFX. The eBook shows Enhanced Typesetting as Not Enabled.
Enhanced Typesetting refers to books in reflowable KFX format. However KFX is also used for fixed-layout books, such as print replica and comics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkmiller View Post
Since that is a 2024 publication, I'm surprised it downloaded with an older version at all.
paola stated that the book was dated November 2021 so perhaps there is a mixup in the book involved.
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