Objective

Install Calibre and use it to remove ebook DRM.

Distributions

This will work on any Linux distribution.

Requirements

A working Linux install with root privileges.

Difficulty

Easy

Conventions

  • # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
  • $ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Introduction

DRM sucks. There, now that that's out of the way, you can focus on getting rid of it from all of your ebooks. It's pretty hard to deny that DRM has a negative impact on ebooks. You can't share them. You can't use them across devices. In short, it prevents you from using your legally purchased property the way you want.

Calibre is one of the best ebook tools out there. It's much more than a reader and a library. Calibre even helps you author your own ebooks. In addition to all that, it lets you remove DRM and convert your ebooks between formats. Think of it like a cross between Kodi and Handbrake, but for ebooks.


Install Calibre

Start off by installing Calibre. It's a popular open source program, so you'll find it in most repositories.

Ubuntu/Debian
$ sudo apt install calibre
Fedora
# dnf install calibre
OpenSUSE
# zypper in calibre
Arch
# pacman -S calibre

Install The Plugin

Fresh Calibre Install
Fresh Calibre Install
Calibre doesn't come with the capability to remove DRM out of the box. That comes from a plugin, and you're going to need to install it. Download the latest release of the plugin from the developer's Github page, and unzip it. There will be several folders, but the one you need is obviously the Calibre one.


Calibre Preferences
Calibre Preferences
Open up Calibre. The screen should look pretty empty at first. On the main menu, click on the preferences icon. From there, locate and click the plugins icon under the "Advanced" heading.
Calibre Plugins
Calibre Plugins
At the very bottom of the plugins window, you'll see a button that lets you import a plugin from a file. Click on that. Browse to the Calibre plugin folder that you extracted from the .zip. Select the .zip within that folder. Calibre will warn you that importing an external plugin is a potential security risk. Confirm your choice. Afterward, Calibre will show you a success message telling you to restart the program for the changes to take effect. Do that.


Calibre Plugin Installed
Calibre Plugin Installed

Remove The DRM

The plugin removes DRM automatically when an ebook is added to your library. That's actually the only time that it works, so if you have ebooks already in your library(you shouldn't) that have DRM, you'll need to remove them and import them again.

Try it out. Find an ebook that has DRM. Click on the "Add Book" button in Calibre and browse to your book. Import it. You should be able to open up your newly imported book in the Calibre viewer. Click on your book in the library list to highlight it. Then, click the "View" button on the main menu. Your previously DRM'd book will open up in a new window for viewing. The DRM is gone, and the book is free to use however you choose.

If you want to get more creative with it, click on the "Convert books" button. You can select from a variety of output formats. By letting you convert your now-unencumbered book to different formats, it's much easier to use your ebook on just about any device.

Closing Thoughts

It's fairly easy to set Calibre up to automatically rip all of the DRM out of your ebook library and put the control back in your hands. Remember that Calibre can also be your ebook library on your Linux desktop. It's actually great for that. Then, you can use it to export your books in whichever format works best for your mobile devices.
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