Amazon has released a new version of its Kindle for PC software that allows you to read eBooks on a computer running Windows 7 or later.

Kindle for PC version 1.19.2 includes typesetting enhancements, search improvements, and a text-to-speech feature which allows the app to read some eBooks aloud to you.

But there is at least one down side: users who like to strip the DRM from Kindle eBooks might have to jump through a few more hoops to do so after updating to the latest version of Kindle for PC.

Amazon’s Kindle eBooks include DRM software that’s supposed to prevent you from reading them in a device that’s not tied to your Amazon account. But there are tools that let you strip the DRM so that you can read on any device and not worry that Amazon will delete an eBook you’ve purchased from your account.

Right now the simplest method for stripping DRM from Kindle (or NOOK or Kobo) eBooks is install the Calibre eBook management utility and load the latest version of Apprentice Alf’s DRM Removal Tool as a plugin. Then when you import a book with DRM into your Calibre library, the plugin goes to work and removes the DRM, allowing you to save your books in a variety of formats.

That still works… except that if you want to strip the DRM from a Kindle eBook it needs to be in the AZW file format. But the new Kindle for PC app only downloads eBooks in the newer KFX format (because of those new typesetting features).

So instead of downloading eBooks with the official Kindle for PC software and then dragging and dropping them to Calibre, you’ll need to download AZW versions of your purchased eBooks from the Amazon.com/myk website. It’s not clear if you’ll be able to do that forever though.

If you want to hang onto Kindle for PC version 1.17 for now, you might want to go into the program’s settings and disable automatic updates.

One thing I should point out: while some people strip DRM in order to maintain control over digital items they’ve paid for, others use tools of this sort for piracy.

It is illegal in many regions to distribute eBooks (or other digital media) which have had their DRM stripped… and in some parts of the world it may be illegal to strip the DRM on eBooks even if you only plan to save them for your personal collection.

via The ebook Reader and MobileRead

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7 replies on “Kindle for PC gains text-to-speech (but makes stripping DRM harder)”

  1. Even though updates were turned off,
    in the Options section, the Kindle for PC
    program still automatically updated
    to the 1.19 version from 1.17.

    Apparently, Amazon is determined to
    force feed the 1.19 update, just like
    Microsoft’s heavy handed Win 10 update.

    1. It updated for me too even if updates were turned off. Now I’ve set Kindle.exe (17.1) binary to read & execute permissions only for ALL users (even system). That should stop anything from overwriting it.

  2. It’s worth noting that not all ebooks Amazon sells incorporate DRM. Amazon permits sellers to make their own choices about whether to include that. Under the old version, those books that didn’t use DRM could be added to Calibre as AZW files without any DRM-stripping being necessary.

    But no format converters deal with the new KFX format, so you can’t add those to Calibre whether they use DRM or not—which makes buying DRM-free ebooks from Amazon just a bit pointless now unless you use some workaround to download the AZW version.

  3. Whenever possible support retailers that are DRM free. The music industry did not collapse when most stopped using DRM. The book industry is no different. Making things easier for their customers increases sales, not piracy. There will always be a certain sector that will pirate. Sellers are not losing their business as they will not pay either way. Make a good experience and price it fairly and the customers will respond.

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