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.