You do not own ebooks.

Submitted by NEOalquimista in freeAsInFreedom (edited )

I'm not much of a writer, so this will be short.

Recently, I decided to change the operating systems on my devices, including the smartphone through which I used to read ebooks bought from Amazon and Kobo. There's no need to mention that both Android apps are proprietary.

I flashed LineageOS to my phone and F-Droid helped me find many open source replacements for the apps I used to have. I'll name a few: andOTP (a reliable 2FA authenticator), OpenVPN for Android (manually configured for PIA, successfully skipping the proprietary app) and Ring (for online messaging). LineageOS already provides some basic apps out-of-the-box, and I kept them.

Kobo and Kindle virtual books are tightly protected and cannot be read by any other application besides the official ones. You could imagine they would provide you with a copy in PDF format if you already bought it, but that's not the case. You cannot read your books any longer, because you are not using the operating system THEY WANT or expect you to use.

If you're on GNU/Linux or a custom ROM without Google's touch, you're completely ignored.

That is the problem with non-existent/virtual products. You can never really own them. This trend advances to take power from users, and I strongly advise to not feed it.

I guess I'll go back to physical books while I don't find a better alternative.

RELATED THINKING: What if our government-issued IDs and services become digital as well? Will we need to own a "certified device" that cannot be tampered or have its ROM flashed in order for the ID to be considered valid? Think about it.


I just made an account at archive.org and here's my first contribution: Sleep State Interrupt, T.C. Weber


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[deleted] wrote (edited )


Tequila_Wolf wrote

Yeah libgen is pretty decent - not sure why OP is wanting to buy books anyway.

And then there's also IRC.

Aside from that, there's also aaaaarg.fail, for those who know people and can get the invite for an account.


alqm wrote

Assuming the import goes well and the OP has access to a Windows machine, that should solve the problem. I did this before and it worked. It gave me my books in PDF. The only downside is that they are not perfectly formatted as they are when read from the official app. But it's nothing serious. Try it!


autonomous_hippopotamus wrote (edited )

You definately should never buy ebooks from Amazon, there are ways of converting the text in PDF, mobi etc. but it takes time to do that... the older kindles weren't like that, they just had (mobe or epub can't remember)... and eventually i'm sure there will be open source software that can read proprietary frameworks.

But no, there's no need to only read hardcover books, i have maybe 2000 ebooks on my computer, including the complete bibliography of many theorists and philospohers: Marx, Nietzche, Foucault, etc. etc.

If you subscribe to a paid service, best it be one that gives out pdf or mobi, and then you should immediate make them into torrents.

Just check out torrentproject.se you can get alot of ebooks from there.

The one thing we can do to fight the corporate war on literature is file sharing.


NEOalquimista wrote (edited )

You're totally right. I'll put Windows on a VM and try to convert the books to PDF, then immediately post them to archive.org or Goblin Refuge if possible.

I'm reading a book called Sleep State Interrupt, by T.C. Weber. It's about a media corporation working with the government to silence all other media sources and let them dictate what gets to be published. The protagonist is sort of a futuristic video-blogger/journalist that wants to show the truth to the people, no matter what.


Defasher wrote

That extends to Amazon's self publishing service, where no book can take off unless Amazon endorses it and specifically promotes it. Otherwise you can expect about 100 sales, tops, at a dollar profit per sale.


ziq wrote

When I noticed I couldn't read my own book on my obscure ereader device because it was in Amazon's format, I said fuck it and made it available for free in every format on archive.org.


alqm wrote (edited )

¯_(ツ)_/¯ it's hacking time.

You are about to hack time.

Are you sure?

| yes | no


jadedctrl wrote

Yea, since I figured that out I've just been sharing books, thanks to torrents and TPB. I've even uploaded a few books that weren't already on it. When artists don't respect you enough to offer a non-DRM book, then why should you give them money?


Fovose wrote (edited )

You could use Calibre's DRM removal Software like linked above since you can break the DRM on an older Windows machine before moving your books to a Linux computer. Likewise, the best way I found for breaking DRM on LInux without having to go back Windows, so far, was to get paid DRM breaking software from Epubsoft while running Amazon's app with Wine.