A few months ago I posted a how-to post on removing DRM from Kindle ebooks, and to my surprise it is one of the most read and most shared posts on this blog.
Clearly that is a sign that lots of readers need help in this area, so today I’d like to share a similar set of instructions for removing DRM from ebooks purchased from Barnes & Noble. The process is fairly similar to the steps needed to remove Kindle DRM. Both require calibre, and both require installing a plugin which will do the work for you.
- These instructions are written in order to assist the average user in protecting their purchases. I did not write it to assist in committing piracy; I believe in buying content, when possible. But I also believe in controlling the content I buy and that is why I strip the DRM.
- Note that these instructions are Windows only, and some details will be different between the various versions of Windows. They were also written without the permission or participation of Kovid Goyal, the creator of calibre.
First Things First
You need to download and install these apps on your computer. If you have any of them then you do not need to install them again:
Calibre is of course the ebook library management tool. I’ve mentioned it once or twice, and that’s what you’re going to use to remove the DRM. And Nook4PC is the most straightforward way to download the ebooks. Note that you will need to specifically download them and not simply double click on a title; you can find the download button under the options button for each title. Look in the library menu.
Edit: A reader has pointed out that if you have a Nook then you don’t have to install Nook4PC. Calibre can pull the ebooks off your Nook automagically.
Set up your account with B&N and make sure you download the ebooks you bought. Install calibre. While they’re being installed, go download this ZIP file full of plugins:
Got everything installed? Good.
- UnZip the ZIP file you just downloaded.
- Launch calibre. When it’s open, look at the icons on the top row. There’s one on the far right called “Preferences”. Click on it. See Pic 1.
- It will bring up a new window with a bunch of icons. Look on the bottom row for the one that says “plugins”. Click it. See Pic 2.
- And now you’ll get another new window. Look at the buttons on the bottom row. Click on the one that says “load plugin from file”. See Pic 3.
- Use the file browser window to find the folder you downloaded. Open it, and then open the DeDRM_calibre_plugin folder.
- There should only be a single ZIP file in that folder, and it should be called “DeDRM_plugin”. Double click to select it.
Here’s where things get a tad difficult. Before this plugin will work you will need to configure it. You should see the plugin you just installed highlighted in the menu. Click on the button at the bottom of the menu that says “customize plugin”. See Pic 4.
Type in the credit card number and name used to purchase the ebooks. Separate the name and CC number with a comma. If you bought ebooks with multiple credit cards, you can enter them on the same line. Just separate the name-number pairs with a colon. Like (name,number: name:number). See Pic 5.
The name you need to type in might be the one associated with your shipping address. That’s how mine worked.
Note: If you cannot find the older CC info, enter a current number into your account at B&N. Delete the older copies of the ebooks bought with the older credit cards and download them again. This will let you use the current cc info to de-DRM the ebooks. (I just tried this and it worked.)
Final Step: Shut down calibre and launch it again. Some times the plugin won’t kick in until you after you do this.
At this point the plugin should be working, but we won’t know until you try it for the first time. You’ll need to copy over the ebooks you downloaded, which you should be able to find inside a folder inside the My Documents folder. Copy and paste the files into calibre.
Edit: Or, you can let calibre copy the ebooks off your Nook via the USB cable.
Try to read them with calibre. If you can do so then you succeeded in removing the DRM (or the files didn’t have DRM in the first place). If you cannot read them, try to reenter the credit card info. Then try to copy the files over to calibre again.
Addendum: There are files which Nook4PC won’t download. That app doesn’t support everything B&N sells, so for some ebooks you will need to get the files off your smartphone of tablet and then copy them into calibre. The name,number pair you entered above should work to remove the DRM.