Read DRM EPUB books on your Kindle Fire
“…except for the Kindle Fire.”
See, that’s the problem about having named the Fire a Kindle. It’s very different from what I’ve had to retronym* RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles).
One of the standard Kindle comments on the forums is that you can’t read EPUB books with DRM (Digital Rights Management) on a Kindle.
Well, now we’ll have to add that “…except for the Kindle Fire.”
Let me explain that a little bit more.
EPUB is an e-book format made by Adobe. DRM is a way to control the use of a digital file. On RSKs, there isn’t the necessary software to “unlock” an EPUB file with DRM. RSKs also couldn’t read EPUBs without DRM…unless you converted them to a Kindle friendly format. One way to do that is with the free software
Calibre is a great program, and used by lots of people.
Perfectly reasonably, though, Calibre does not strip DRM from files…that could be illegal, and they don’t want to do anything which is illegal (and which, by the way, could get them shut down).
You couldn’t install software to legally read an EPUB with DRM on your RSK, so you couldn’t read those without first (probably) illegally stripping that DRM.
So, here’s why I can now legally read DRM EPUB books on my Kindle Fire.
The Kindle Fire does have the Pico text-to-speech (TTS), but it’s not very sophisticated. From my RSKs, I’ve gotten really used to listening to TTS in my car.
If Amazon had included a more sophisticated TTS (like Vocalizer, the software they licensed for the Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Touch), I would have been satisfied with my Kindle Fire in the car and wouldn’t have been looking for something else to which to listen.
Amazon hasn’t approved the Zinio magazine reading app in the Amazon Appstore for my Kindle Fire. I got a magazine subscription as a gift that needed Zinio. That’s what broke down my resistance to putting a third party app on my Kindle Fire. I really like how Amazon set that up: they vet and approve Kindle Fire apps in their Appstore, but allow us to install apps from outside sources if we take responsibility for them:
Settings Gear – More – Device – Allow Installation of Applications From Unknown Sources (ON)
If the Zinio app had been approved for my Kindle Fire in the appstore, I might never have installed an app from outside Amazon. I trusted Zinio (a large established company) and they told me their app would work on my Fire. It has, and I’ve been very happy with my subscription.
So, those two things combine in the next step.
I decided to install the Overdrive.com app on my Kindle Fire…so I could borrow MP3 format audiobooks from my public library directly from my Fire. I don’t like audiobooks as well as I like text-to-speech (I know…weirdo) ;) , but I like them better than talk radio.
I switched the setting on my Kindle Fire to allow the installation of an outside device, and went to
on my KF.
I tapped on Get Overdrive Media Console.
I tapped on Android on my right, which then let me tap on “download OverDrive Media Console for Android from OverDrive.”
As usual, my Kindle Fire gave me the notification in my top left corner of the screen that it was downloading something.
When it was finished, I tapped on that and told it to install.
When that was done, I opened it.
Remember, I was doing this to get audiobooks from my public library…because I wasn’t satisfied with the Pico TTS on my Fire.
When it opened up, it told me I could also install the ability to read EPUB.
I knew that DRM EPUB books could be used with OverDrive, but I hadn’t realized it had the ability to decode them.
I did have to get an ID from Adobe. That was easy…no credit card or anything, just identifying myself. It did seem a bit odd that they seemed to think I was doing it for commercial purposes (I was supposed to identify my job title and industry).
Once I had that, I downloaded an EPUB from my public library through the app…it works just fine.
I also got an audiobook, since that was sort of the point. :) I won’t have any trouble getting through them both in 14 days, I think. My library gives me that (and seven days) as an option…yours may not, that’s up to the library.
This was good to discover, even though I don’t know how much I’ll use the EPUB part. I like to be able to read on my RSKs, and that’s not an option when I do this.
However, I’ve seen a couple of people (including one of my readers, Lisa Brown) noticing lately that there were e-books from Random House in their public library in EPUB format and not in Kindle format. I think they may also be true of Penguin. In the RH case, it’s recently published books, by the way…I don’t know if that’s policy, or if they just need to be converted.
The app has some nice features:
- An audiobook snooze timer
- The ability to return the audiobook when you are done (my library limits the number of items I can have out at one time…your probably does as well)
- Description of the book
- Lookup dictionary (long press the word…hold your finger on it for a bout a second)…although it only works when you are online
- The ability to set the screen timeout up to twenty minutes
- Tap to see book progress…including chapter percentage
A few of those would be nice with the Kindle app on the Fire. :)
Well, there you go. :) If you decide to do it, I think you’ll find it easy and it will give you options. Amazon warns you about it…it’s up to you. I do turn off the “applications from unknown sources” choice afterwards.
It’s just interesting to me: if Amazon had TTS on the Fire or if they had approved Zinio for the Fire, I probably would never have done this.
If you try it and have feedback about your experience with it, please feel free to comment on this post.
* A “retronym” is a change to an existing term that happens in response to a later development, to differentiate the old situation from the new one. We didn’t have to call it an “analog watch” before we had digital watches, for example…it was just a watch. :)
By the way, I took the screenshot from my computer, not my Kindle Fire. The KF doesn’t, as far as I know, do a screenshot without altering it to enable it. I did check to see that it matched, though.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.