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How to convert ebooks and remove DRM

An ebook is a digital version of a printed book that you can read on a variety of electronic devices like a computer, ebook reader, tablet or smartphone.

There are many eBook formats out there, such as TXT, PDF, MOBI, EPUB, etc. A text file (.txt) is a digital, non-executable file that only contains text (letters, numbers, or symbols) and has no special formatting such as bold text, italic text, images, etc. PDF is the world’s most popular and widely used file format around the world. ePub is the standard file format for ebooks and most ebook readers can read ePUB files except for Amazon’s Kindle. Kindle devices and apps are designed to use Amazon’s proprietary e-book formats (AZW, AZW3/KF8, and KFX).

Different eBook readers support different file formats, but how do you convert from one format to another?

Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application! It can convert a wide variety of formats to almost any output format. It helps you read and organize your entire library.

Many companies employ DRM to prevent you from sharing your ebooks between multiple devices. However, you can use Calibre to transfer your ebooks between your computer and e-reader, tablet or iPad, and vice-versa, converting their formats for whichever device you want, and removing the DRM so that they can be shared across all of your devices. Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application 

This tutorial is solely aimed at those who have purchased ebooks and wish to move them between their own devices.

  1. Download and install Calibre. It is free, open-source, and available on Windows, GNU/Linux, and macOS. Go to Calibre, and select the correct version for your operating system.
  2. Upon installing it, you are greeted by a welcome wizard to set up Calibre in your system. Choose your language (e.g., English), a location for your books, and your e-book device (e.g., Apple, iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch). Calibre  If you device is not in the list, choose a Generic device. If you are a Kindle owner, you will be asked to give your Kindle email address to automatically send your ebooks to your Kindle via e-mail. This step is completely optional and if you don’t know your Kindle email address, go to your Amazon site (depending on which country you are in), sign in, and click on My Account, Manage your Kindle, Personal Document Settings.
  3. Add ebooks to your library by clicking the Add books icon situated on the top lef of the toolbar. Search the e-book and then, click Open to add it to your library. Besides, you can simply drag and drop the ebook into the Calibre window from wherever is on your computer. Add ebooks to your library 
  4. To read an ebook using Calibre, just double-click on a book in your library or select the book, and then click on the View icon in the toolbar or right-click the book and select the View option in the contextual menu. Right click the ebook, and then you can change the text size, read it aloud (text to speech), enter full-screen mode, browse the table of contents, search for a particular text, etc.
  5. The main window will show you the books you have already available in your library, e.g., Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Quick Start Guide. Click on Get Books so you can access an incredible collection of ebooks from many sources, both free and commercial. Search for a title and you should get a list of possible sources. Sometimes you can download it directly, then Calibre will ask you to choose the format to download to your library. Find ebooks 
  6. Convert ebooks using Calibre. Select or highlight your e-book and press the Convert books icon on the toolbar. You can edit the metadata for the e-book (title, author, publisher, tags, etc.), then select the desired file format from the Output Format drop-down menu, and finally smash the OK button.
    Convert books using Calibre

    If a window pops up saying This book is locked by DRM, you have to download the Calibre DRM Removal Plugin, and unzip the file. Run Calibre, and go through Preferences, PLugins, Load plugin from file, and find the DRM Removal PLugin you have just downloaded and unzipped. Once you add new books to your library (Add books), DRM will be removed automatically.

    Another option is Epubor Ultimate, your ebooks will be automatically detected and displayed at the left column. You just need to drag them from the left to the right column and the DRM will be removed.
  7. Transferring your ebook to your iPad, Kindle, etc. Connect your iPad, Kindle, etc. to the computer, right click the e-book, select Send to device, and then choose the Send to Main Memory option. When it is done and you’ve transferred all your ebooks on your Kindle, iPad, etc., it’s time to safely eject your device by clicking the arrow to the right of the Device icon, and then select the Eject this device option from the drop-down menu. You can now safely unplug the device from your computer.
  8. Besides, you can use Calibre to access and download information from news services and magazines throughout the world by clicking on the Fetch News icon. Accessing News Services 
  9. View or edit your ebook metadata by selecting it, and either clicking on the Edit Metadata icon in the toolbar or right-clicking the ebook and selecting the Edit Metadata option in the context menu.

    An ebook metadata is any data that describes it, such as title, author, publication date, language, rating (Not rated, *, **, …, *****) and any other relevant information related to the book.

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