Many of us love to read on e-book readers or on our telephones and tablets. I love taking my entire thousand-book library with me inside my purse when I travel. My one small Kindle can hold thousands of books and weighs only a few ounces.
You can get books in Mobi, Epub, PDF, etc. from many online sources and install the appropriate book file on your device. This is called “sideloading.” You can sideload freebies from dozens of internet sites.
If the book file is in the right format for the device, you can sideload it. For example, you can send a Mobi or PDF file to a Kindle Fire, and it will open and be readable. However, if the book is DRM protected, the device will not open it, regardless of file format.
A DRM-protected book may not be shared, re-sold, or sometimes even used by more than one device. You cannot copy it or print it. You may not convert it to another format. The book is not really yours. You have permission to read it, but only in the approved device, for as long as the device can open it.
I read on several online posts that all Amazon books are DRM protected. That statement is not correct. When I upload my manuscript to Amazon, Amazon gives me a choice as to DRM. I never DRM my books, and they sell on Amazon. Amazon sells millions of books without DRM, most by self-published authors.
That’s right. Many books sold by Amazon do not have DRM. It’s up to the author or the author’s publisher. Books you buy from traditional authors and publishers are always DRM protected.
Can you remove DRM protection? Is it legal to do so? Is it easy to do so? Once DRM is removed, what can you do with the book?
With the right App, DRM is easily removed from a book. It is illegal to remove DRM in the USA. DRM is placed on books to protect them from piracy and safeguard the author’s work. The problem is that to do so, it must be done at the cost of your rights of ownership.
If you remove the DRM, you can convert the book’s format, copy it, save it to a private directory, and open it with a third-party device. If you remove the DRM and start selling files as if the rights to the book belonged to you, some angry publishers with an army of lawyers will surely come after you.
Do I remove DRM from books I buy? As soon as I buy a book, I download it into my Kindle App on my PC. I open my Calibre App and import the book from my Kindle directory.
My Calibre App has a plugin installed which removes the DRM protection upon first opening the book. Calibre does not come with the plugin. You must download it from its creator’s website and add it to Calibre.
I now convert the book into several formats: Epub, PDF, and Mobi. I save a copy to a thumb drive and one to my external hard drive.
Of course, nothing is ever as easy as it sounds. I find the older Kindle App versions work best with the Calibre Plugin. Apple books are another story. Apple makes it almost impossible to export books anywhere other than their own devices.
Why go to so much trouble? Because when I buy a book, I want it to stay bought. I strongly believe that $14.95 buys me a book, not a rental to a book. In addition, I have little faith in the honesty, goodwill, or resiliency of mega corporations.
Companies that seem invincible today go by the wayside tomorrow, disappearing with all your content. Because laws now protect the corporations over the individual, I know that if Amazon or Apple pulled all my books, for whatever reason they felt necessary, I would certainly lose them, and my money would not be returned.
Itunes used to be quite useful when importing iBooks to your PC. It no longer handles iBooks at all other than audiobooks. You can share an iBook or email it to yourself and open it in your PC, but all you get is a link which opens the book in apple’s library. It is not the file itself.
I would never sell or make a profit from something I have not created. However, when I spend $14.95 per eBook from my favorite traditional authors, I expect to enjoy them for the rest of my life. If my iPad dies, and I don’t have $800 to spend on another, I’d like to take my iBooks and read them on a cheap Kindle or a generic tablet or my Android phone or even my 2008 stone-age PC.
I have many favorite authors, and they write two and three books a year. That’s a lot of money I have invested. Reading is my favorite pastime. I expect when I’m too old to walk, I’ll sit all bundled up in bed, sipping a cup of tea, reading an old eBook copy of Amelia Peabody’s Egyptian adventures.