Reading Kindle books on Linux

Jude DaShiell jdashiel at
Tue Sep 15 14:23:09 UTC 2015

Last I heard blind people are permitted under the fair use doctrine to 
break drm on all books with two exception categories; lyrics and drama 
are both off limits.
That was when Kurt Sylke was running the Library of Congress.

On Tue, 15 Sep 2015, John G Heim wrote:

> Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2015 09:54:20
> From: John G Heim <jheim at>
> Reply-To: Linux for blind general discussion <blinux-list at>
> To: Linux for blind general discussion <blinux-list at>
> Subject: Re: Reading Kindle books on Linux
> 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.
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Blinux-list mailing list
>>> Blinux-list at
>> _______________________________________________
>> Blinux-list mailing list
>> Blinux-list at


More information about the Blinux-list mailing list