Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Nook Ebook Reader & DRM

I'm 62 years old, and I've always been a reader. So, a few months ago, I finally coughed up the money to purchase a Barnes and Noble Nook ebook reader. Despite being a Linux user and occasionally enjoying tinkering with the innards of things, I haven't rooted my Nook, or installed any other OS variant—it is completely stock.

Unlike my wife's Amazon Kindle (with its E-Ink display), my Nook's battery doesn't last long. The other day I was reading a good short novel I had just downloaded from Barnes and Noble. I'm about half way through the novel when my Nook's battery level gets very low.

Here's the rub: my charger unit has an intermittent electrical short, and I can't immediately plug it in to continue reading while recharging my nook (a couple of days later, I fix this).

But I want to finish reading my novel now! I've got the time, and I'm really into the story.

So, I'll go to my desktop computer, download a copy to it, and continue reading. Good plan, but after going to the B & N (mynook.barnesandnoble.com/library.html) site and downloading the .epub file, I can't read it. Gibberish on the screen with a warning about DRM encryption protection. Searching on Barnes and Noble's web site reveals that they don't have a Linux DRM reader, only a client for Macintosh and Microsoft Windows PC's.

OK, among the 3 laptops and 3 desktop computers we have here at home, we do have one installation of Microsoft Windows (on a Linux-MS Win dual-boot machine). I use MS-Win for occasional video editing and transcoding, and I don't want to have to restart the computer and boot into windows, just to finish reading the novel.

I consider running WINE on my main desktop Linux machine, but by now, I'm getting really irritated about this stupid DRM.

Bear in mind, I DO NOT STEAL CONTENT. I don't unlawfully download music, software, videos, and books. And when I purchase content, I don't electronically copy and redistribute it to others.

Feeling frustrated, I start looking on the Internet for a way to decrypt my novel so I can continue reading it on my Linux box.

Turns out that someone has written a couple of Python scripts—one to generate the Barnes and Noble encryption key, and one to decrypt the DRM'd .epub books and content. These Python scripts rely on your having the PyCrypto library installed (the script also uses the PyTKinter library for GUI).

Now, Barnes and Noble use an insecure method to generate the key. It is generated from two pieces of information: your name, and your credit card number.

So, I download the two Python scripts (source), and check them through to see if they contain any nefarious code designed to transmit my credit card number to the bad guys—the code is clean.

I invoke the keygen script, and type-in my name and number. Then I run the decrypt program and tell it to work on my novel, not really expecting this to work. Wow—it works perfectly. And now, I've got decrypted copies I can read on any of my electronic devices.

And DRM still stinks. Not only that, it reeks.

And I finish reading the novel.

More in Tux Machines

IBM Promises Apache Spark for Linux on Z Systems

Expanding the z Systems ecosystem means data scientists can use Apache Spark’s common programming framework and get the full use of the mainframe’s advanced analytics capabilities - without having to get sidelined by any specific format for data. Read more

Red Hat augments presence in Malaysia

Senior director and general manager, ASEAN, Damien Wong Yok Weng said Malaysia was an important market for the company and it had much potential for the adoption of open source technology across industries. Speaking to reporters at the official announcement of the subsidiary here, Wong said in terms of expansion strategy, Red Hat had looked at all the surrounding factors in the information technology (IT) industry. Read more

An Everyday Linux User Review Of Android x86 - Release 4.4 r3

This review might not be very long but I have spent a long time playing and experimenting with Android x86 and if you stick with it and are willing to play with settings then you may get something close to desirable. Those who will get the most out of Android x86 will be using a computer with a touchscreen. Read more

Will an upgrade to Windows 10 on a dual-boot system mess GRUB up?

If the setup is on a computer with UEFI firmware, with the boot files of all systems on the EFI Boot Partition, then I don’t see anything that will mess GRUB up during or after upgrading to Windows 10. That’s because the EFI Boot Partition is like a public park, where the space occupied by each operating system’s boot files is respected. So the Windows 10 upgrade script will only update the files and directory that pertains to the Windows boot manager. That this is true has been verified by none other than a Microsoft employee in this blog post. The same goes with the upgrade script of the installed Linux distribution(s), but you knew that already. Read more