A couple of weeks ago I posted an article about how to remove DRM from Kindle ebooks in four easy steps. This time around I’ve got a tutorial on how to easily remove Adobe DRM from ePub and PDF ebooks.
All you have to do is install Adobe Digital Editions on your computer, along with a free ebook management program called Calibre, and a handy plugin or two for Calibre that automatically removes DRM from ebooks upon import. It’s so easy anyone can do it.
One of the biggest problems with ebooks is DRM. It locks ebooks into certain platforms so that you can only read your purchased ebooks on specific apps and devices. As if that’s not bad enough a lot of the time ebooks that you spend good money on are horribly formatted by the author or publisher, and if the ebook has DRM there’s not much you can do about it.
But if you go ahead and remove the DRM from your purchased ebooks you can read them on whichever devices or apps that you want. Plus you can easily control all aspects of layout using Calibre to modify the ebook’s CSS file. Another great thing about Calibre is you can use it to manage your entire ebook library from all ebookstores in one centralized location instead of having your ebook library fragmented across different platforms.
Disclaimer: Removing DRM is a highly-controversial subject, and is in fact considered illegal in some countries, including the US and Canada. This article is intended as only a guide for people that choose to take responsibility for removing the DRM from their purchased ebooks in order to have greater control over their own purchased content. I don’t promote or condone piracy in any shape or form.
Removing Adobe DRM Guide
These directions are based on using a Windows 7 PC. Details may differ slightly for Mac users and for other versions of Windows. Make sure to read the ReadMe files located in the plugins folder for additional instructions.
#1. The first thing you need to do to be able to remove Adobe DRM is install Adobe Digital Editions and Calibre onto your computer if they aren’t already installed.
#2. Now you need to download the DRM Removal Tools package from over on Apprentice Alf’s Blog. The link is halfway down the page. Make sure to read the note below the link about how to properly download the file. And thank Apprentice Alf and friends for making all of this so easy :).
Extract the zip file once it is downloaded. It should be called something like "tools_v5.6.zip". It’s a good idea to check the included ReadMe_First document for additional instructions.
#3. Install the DRM-Removal plugin(s) into Calibre. Inside the DRM removal tools folder that you downloaded there’s a folder called DeDRM_calibre_plugin with a DeDRM_plugin.zip file inside. All the DRM-removal plugins for Kindle, Adobe ePub and PDF, and B&N’s ePubs are incorporated into the one install zip file (this changed with a recent update; previously you had to install each separately).
To install a plugin simply launch Calibre and then select "Preferences" from the top menu (if the window isn’t open all the way you have to hit a small arrow on the top right to expand the selection to show the Preferences option). From the Preferences window you need to select "Plugins" and then choose "Load plugin from file". Navigate to where you unzipped the DRM removal tools pack, open the DeDRM_calibre_plugin folder, and then select the DeDRM_plugin.zip file to install it. A security risk dialogue pops-up where you have to click Yes to proceed. After installing the plugin close Calibre and then restart it.
#4. That’s it. Now all you have to do to remove Adobe DRM from ebooks is import them into Calibre using the "Add books" feature. The plugin will automatically strip the DRM from ebooks upon import, and it takes virtually no time at all. Note that it won’t work for ebooks added to Calibre before installing the plugin; they will need to be deleted and re-imported.
In order to import ebooks into Calibre you have to have them downloaded onto your computer first, of course. That’s where Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) comes in. Wherever you bought your Adobe DRM ebook from (Kobo, Sony, Google, etc) there will be an option to download it to your computer if you login to your account and view your library. But when you download the ebook it will be an acsm file instead of ePub. First you have to open the acsm file for it to import the ebook into ADE. Once that’s done you can locate the ePub file that you need to import into Calibre within the folder that ADE created on your computer. With my installation ADE ebooks are located in Documents > My Digital Editions.
That’s all there is to removing Adobe DRM from ebooks! Now you can modify the formatting of the ebook and read it on whatever app or device you choose, including a Kindle (but first you’ll have to use Calibre to convert it to MOBI format). Here’s a Getting Started with Calibre Tutorial if you want to learn how to use Calibre to convert ebooks into other formats and how to customize layout and fonts.