Reading Barnes and Noble ebooks on the Kindle

I love my kindle, but I recently ran into a problem. There was a SciFi novel series that I’d read the first 5 parts to. I anxiously awaited for the 6th part. On the day of the release I went to Amazon and…. no kindle version. It seems the publisher and amazon had a spat and the book was restricted so that United States customers could not download it. Same situation on I tried unsuccessfully to convince the website that I was a canadian, but it could not be so easily fooled.

Curiously the book was available at Barnes and Noble in their ebook format. Now, I already suspected that B&N and Amazon products are not compatible. You can’t read B&N books on a Kindle. They use something called Digital Rights Management, or DRM. Every attempt at DRM has been a miserable failure, and this is no exception. Customer wants to buy the product but can’t use it. Trivial processes exist on the web for defeating the DRM. The DRM only succeeds in impeding commerce and causing customer frustration.

However…. for those with a little technical savvy there are some tools that can help. A Linux program called “eRdr2Pml” can extract the ebook text from the B&N PDB file and turn it into a PML file. A program called “Calibre” can take that extracted PML file and convert it into a kindle ebook. It’s only two quick steps to turn a Barnes and Noble book into something that can be read on the kindle. “eRdr2Pml” is a python program, and as such is probably easiest to get going on Linux. If you’re a windows-only user whose knowledge is limited to knowing how to point and click on things, then you’re probably going to have to wait for a simpler solution or do some more googling than I did.

I’m not going to provide download links because there’s no need to offend the legions of DRM-enforcing lawyers that these companies employ. You can google for these tools yourself. Oh and this post is completely hypothetical and made up and a total fiction and I in no way removed the DRM from a DRM-protected file.

Finally, I want to state that piracy of ebooks should be avoided. The authors have put a lot of time and effort into their writing, and they don’t need their works stolen. If you want to read the book, pay for the book. Don’t make copies of the book for other people.

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