Kindle Books, without the Kindle…

As everyone is well aware, Amazon has one of the largest eBook libraries available for sale. The only caveat to this was that you had to purchase their $350 Kindle / Kindle 2 Reader before you could take advantage of these books. All that has changed now with the release of the iPod/iPhone app for Kindle books. Now you can register your iPod or iPhone with Amazon and purchase Kindle books for it. But there is more… You can also manage to extract the purchased books from the iPod / iPhone and take off the DRM so you can use your book on any of your other readers.

DISCLAIMER: Stripping DRM from eBooks treads heavily on the DMCA. Any instructions here should be considered to be for educational purposes only. Therefore you are responsible for how you use this information.

Here were the steps I followed to free my books from my iPod:

Step 1

First you need an iPod or iPhone. I find it is easiest and most cross-platform to use a jailbroken device as that makes this process all the easier.

Step 2

Install the Kindle app from the App Store

Step 3

When you open the app for the first time, you will be prompted for your Amazon.com username and password. Once you enter this your device will be registered and you can purchase books from the Amazon Kindle Book Store.

Step 4

UPDATE: Amazon has taken the “security by obscurity” route and removed the UUID from the website. You can still find it easily by connecting your iPod/iPhone to iTunes and when you see the Serial Number, click on the word “Serial Number” and it will change to “Identifier” this is the string you are looking for. Here is a picture for clarity.

ipod-serial-uuid

Step 5

Purchase your favorite book from the Store ;-) Your purchase will be automatically downloaded by the app once you are connected to the internet.

Step 6

This is the tricky part. Now that you have the books purchased and on your iPod/iPhone you will need to get them off. There are two routes here. A few folks over at MobileRead.com mentioned that you can use the iPhone Backup Extractor, however, at this time it is only for Mac OS X.

UPDATE: fugislider informed me there is also a iPhone Backup Extractor version for Windows and Linux you can use as well if you don’t want to jailbreak your device.

The better solution in my opinion is to use a jailbroken phone and copy the books direct from the device using SCP or similar mechanism. I wont go into the details of how to jailbreak or SCP files as that is covered by several other articles…

The eBooks are stored as .prc files which are DRM’d MobiPocket format. (Same as the Kindle, no surprises there) You can find all of them in this folder on the iPod / iPhone:


1
/var/mobile/Applications/{Appplication UUID}/Documents/eBooks

There are also some .mbp files in the directory, which seem to be unneeded for extracting the books. Also note they have some crazy names that don’t appear to correlate to their actual title, so you will have to rely on software such as Calibre to read the headers and tell you what files you have.

Step 7

Well, there is no longer a Step 7. Sorry.

On March 11, I received notice from Amazon.com to remove the instructions relating to removal of the DRM from the books. I left the first 6 steps intact since they do not relate to breaking any portion of the DRM and are in full compliance with the DMCA. If you want to remove the DRM from these books you will have to find instructions elsewhere.

The End!

 

 

8 Responses to “ Kindle Books, without the Kindle… ”

  1. fujislider says:

    For step 6, download http://www.reincubate.com/labs/iphone-backup-extractor-how-extract-files-iphone-backup-windows/

    It’ll extract the ebook .prc files from iTunes backup

  2. tr says:

    Step 6: Did Amazon change this already? I can’t seem to find the ‘edit’, just the ‘edit info’ link and this does not show a serial number.

    • Wow. It would appear that they did remove the ability to see the serial for the device.

      Never fear, I have other means of getting to it. I will update the article to reflect that as soon as possible

  3. I added some updates relating to getting the UUID for your device.

    Additionally there is now a link to the MobileRead wiki that has more detailed instructions on using KindlePID.py with your iPod or iPhone

  4. chris says:

    i would like to go in reverse. i have some adobe ereader books i’d like to get ON my ipod. i think that means stripping those books of their drm, or changing their drm to kindles drm? any where i can look for that?

  5. Bill says:

    Last time I checked, removing DRM was not illegal. I would have told them to shove and I certainly wouldn’t have changed my website for them. Removing DRM may break their subscriber agreement, but that does not make it illegal nor does it make it illegal to tell others how to do it. Don’t give in so easy, sheesh!

    • Zac says:

      Sadly thanks to the DMCA in the USA, and similar laws and treaties in other countries, circumvention of copy protection measures, as lame and broken as they may be, for whatever otherwise legal use you may plan, is illegal.

      It’s total crap but it’s reality at the moment.

      There is a list of exceptions but eBooks are not one of them.

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