Reading Kindle books on Linux

John G Heim jheim at
Tue Sep 15 13:54:20 UTC 2015

Get Amazon to write a linux app?  I don't think that is practical. Maybe 
somebody could sue them. But persuade them? Impossible.

Are you sure it's illegal for a blind person to break the DRM on a 
kindle book? The Library of Congress puts out a list of exceptions to 
the DMCA every 3 years.  Here is a link to an article that does a good 
job of covering the exception on ebooks for people who use screen readers:

If you are suggesting that it's unethical fora blindperson to break DRM 
on an ebook, I strongly disagree with that. I can see that a difficult 
legal issue could be created by saying a blind person can do that and a 
sighted person cannot. Maybe sighted people should be allowed to do it 
too. I don't have any opinion on that. But as an ethical issue, I sure 
don't think there is anything unethical about a blind person breaking 
DRM so he can listen to a book he legally owns on his choice of platform.

On 09/15/2015 07:35 AM, Karen Lewellen wrote:
> of course the simple solution is to tell Amazon, who must make their
> products accessible, to create a Kindle  application for Linux.
> The hacking into them is exactly why getting anyone on board with said
> treaty  is a problem.  It is established by the existence of an
> application to violate copyright that people will violate copyright.
> Yes Bookshare is a huge alternative, and many many countries are a part
> of the program now.
> But if one  wants a solution rooted in  integrity, get amazon to solve
> the problem.  I believe the department of Education  and or Justice
> successfully told them that they must, with some tools existing already.
> I will go one better, if you can write applications offer to partner
> with them, and earn some money too boot.
> Just my take,
> Karen
> On Tue, 15 Sep 2015, Tony Baechler wrote:
>> On 9/14/2015 3:47 AM, John J. Boyer wrote:
>>>  I have Debian Jessie set up for command-line only, Braille only. Is
>>>  there a way to read Kindle books?
>> Hi all,
>> Since there seems to be some interest in this, here goes.  As always,
>> corrections welcome.
>> The short answer is no.  Kindle books are in the .mobi format.  It's
>> highly likely that ebook-convert can convert them except for one
>> little problem. Most Kindle books have DRM protection, meaning that
>> you have to be able to decrypt them before you can do anything
>> further.  The idea, of course, is so you won't share them or do
>> exactly what you're trying to do.  Not all books have DRM, but most
>> do.  If you only buy Kindle books without DRM, you should be fine, but
>> there seems to be no easy way to find out which do and which don't.
>> There is a little bit of good news.  Someone has written a Python
>> program to break this decryption.  I will not share it for obvious
>> legal reasons, but one can find it if one looks hard enough.  It was
>> designed for Windows and might require a GUI, but since the decryption
>> part is a command line Python program, it should work in Linux.  Look
>> for a program to break the Amazon DRM encryption on .mobi files.
>> Sorry for not having a better answer.  If you're in the US, Bookshare
>> is probably a better alternative.  They don't use DRM, their files are
>> a lot easier to convert and they get a lot of publisher files.  They
>> do have international members, but I don't know to what extent their
>> books are available outside of the US.  Hopefully the recently enacted
>> treaty will help with some of this.  If you do have a better solution,
>> I am very interested. I usually don't buy Kindle books because it's
>> such a hassle to make them readable.
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John Heim, jheim at, skype:john.g.heim

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