DRM, fair use, and how to read (some) Kindle books on your Nook!…

This is going to be part rant on DRM, be warned, lol! (Other part on how I love my Nook, but I’m still a Amazon Kindle loyalist at heart! AKA how the Nook store sucks!)

On DRM (digital rights management):

I am in support of fair use of DRM-free ebooks. Meaning, if you purchase an ebook, you should be allowed to read it on whatever device you want. DRM on ebooks is like saying (in terms of paper books), even though you purchased your paperback, you’re only allowed to read it at home – not on the bus, not on the beach, not at the library, not at your friend’s house. That book has to stay at home, for the rest of your life, and well, if your home happens to be destroyed or you want to buy a better one, you’re shit out of luck!

DRM will not stop book piracy. I’ve been reading tutorials on removing DRM the past couple days, and let me tell you, while it is a hassle, it is not hard. It involves downloading freely accessible programs and scripts, and anyone who follows a tutorial can do it. Believe me, if someone was inclined to upload an ebook to the internet for the purposes of piracy, a pesky little thing like DRM is not going to stop them. They probably already have the tools at hand.

So not only does DRM *not* stop piracy (at all!), it only takes away the rights of paying, lawful customers.

All that said, I am not in favor of book piracy, but I am in favor of multi-format, fair use ebooks, and in trusting the consumer with a little common sense. If I buy an ebook, why shouldn’t I be able to read it both on my Nook and my Kindle? Or (for shame!) let my husband read it on his reader after I’m done! 😮

I mean, hell, you can divorce a husband, you can sell a house you bought, you can change your career, but you can’t change your e-reading device? Ladies, we might love our e-readers, but we don’t want to marry them! (Or if we do, we want a pre-nup!)

So here we go, you’re going to need these:

– a Kindle Reading app (pick one for the same place you’ll install Calibre on…)
– a Kindle account, if you don’t have one already
Calibre, which will very easily convert formats for you as long as the book is DRM free. Calibre is easy to install and very easy to use!
– your Nook’s USB cable

How I am still an Amazon Loyalist at Heart:

I like Amazon because the website is user-friendly and their prices are good (and because my credit card points give me Amazon gift cards!). And because they entrust the publisher with the decision to DRM or not. Sadly, most publishers (especially big ones) still choose to DRM their books, but some of the books you’ll find on Amazon are DRM-free! Nook store, on the other hand, sells only DRM’ed books.

And as a consequence, I really have no inclination to buy an ebook there if I have any choice in the matter. There are other vendors – I’m new to this still, but I’ll find them.

But for now, I have some choices. Today I found a book I really wanted, both at the Nook store and at Amazon. Nook store was 30 cents more expensive and had DRM – Amazon 30 cents cheaper and DRM-free! That’s a win-win, folks!

At the Kindle store, you can check a book’s Product Details. Right where it shows format, and file size, the next line should say “Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited“, and that means the book is DRM-free. If you don’t see that, it means it’s not.

Send the book to your Kindle reading app.

So you’ve bought your book. You’ll want to go straight into Calibre now, because your most recent purchase will still be on top in your Kindle Content folder. Make sure you do this right away, because Amazon labels their books in a jarble of indescript numbers and letters, so unless you only have one file in the folder, you’ll be hard-pressed to find it later.

And no, you can’t rename the file if you still want it to be Kindle-readable – I tried that :\

So open up Calibre – and this is so simple I’m not even going to take screenshots (because I can’t be bothered, lol!) Really easy though. The only three buttons you need:

1.) Add books (open your Kindle Content folder, if there are multiple files, then order them by date, and choose the most recent book file.)
2.) Convert books (you don’t need to go through all the advanced options if you don’t want to – just check your output format in the top right corner, and click “OK” in the bottom right.)
3.) Save to disk (make yourself a shiny new folder somewhere, and remember where you saved it.)

That’s all!

Really, that’s all!!! So easy!

Then hook up your USB cord and transfer the book into your Nook, and there you go! Read your book on a Kindle or a Nook! Or both! Or something else entirely some day in the future!


Of course, this trick only works with DRM-free books. You’ll find that most big-publisher books will have DRM on them. And in the case of Amazon, whether to apply DRM to a book is the publisher’s decision. Oddly, a lot of free books I found did have DRM on them, so you won’t find much luck there either. You’ll have the best luck with small publishers and independent authors for DRM-free books. Independent publishing wins in this case!

Calibre hosts a list of DRM-free books and publishers here: Open Books, so you can also browse that way.

And if you had any doubts that I was an Amazon Kindle loyalist, you can tune in a couple weeks from now, when I’ll talk about rooting my NookColor to turn it into an Android tablet and put the Kindle app on it, lol! 😀

(And then I bring to mind what my Aussie friends told me “rooting” means, LMAO! I’m talking in geek-speak here though, so y’all get your heads out of the gutter! :p )