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Amazon Kindle Proprietary Format Broken

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the let-a-thousand-e-books-bloom dept.

Encryption 203

An anonymous reader writes "The Register reports that the proprietary document format used by the Amazon online store and Amazon's Kindle has been successfully reverse engineered, allowing these DRM-protected documents to be converted into the open MOBI format. Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice." Here are the hacker's notes on the program he is calling "Unswindle," and here is the (translated) forum where the Kindle challenge was posed and answered.

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203 comments

Old old story. (5, Informative)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30533888)

There have been a set of python scripts around for more than a year and a half that allow you decrypt Kindle files to mobi [nyquil.org] . The challenge has always been in dealing with Topaz files and, unless I am missing something, they still haven't been cracked.

Re:Old old story. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30534046)

This removes the drm from the books downloaded using the Kindle for PC app.

As you mentioned, the scripts you linked to have been around for a while but only remove the drm from the actual kindle and kindle for iphone books.
So, if you have an iphone or a kindle this doesn't really change much as you could already do it. This would be useful for anyone that is only able to get their books through the Kindle for PC app.

Re:Old old story. (4, Insightful)

think_nix (1467471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534214)

Not only that but also Jessie Vincent [fsck.com] showed at oscon [oreilly.com] (his 5 minute speech starts at 2:13 on the video) How he already reversed engineered and installed ubuntu 9.04 on the Kindle. After watching his presentation and hearing about all the crap amazon actually does with these things, I am surprised anyone would still even consider buying one.

Re:Old old story. (5, Insightful)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534240)

the THEY you are referring to are the uninformed masses. THEY have the buying power and THEY generally trust the large corporations more than they trust the informed among us, because there is a mentality of "If I saw it on TV (or amazon.com for that matter) it MUST be more trustworthy than the neighbourhood geek"

Sigh... we geeks really have to work on our marketing... we need an image consultant!

Re:Old old story. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30534284)

Sigh... we geeks really have to work on our marketing... we need an image consultant!

Sounds like an ideia for a reality show...

Re:Old old story. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30534318)

Sigh... we geeks really have to work on our marketing... we need an image consultant!

you can start by making a contribution/donation here [eff.org] ...

Re:Old old story. (2, Insightful)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534330)

Yes, I've mentioned him before, but my uncle will trust any jackoff (Wait, I'm in Pittsburgh now, "jagoff") with a sign on his truck even if he were the biggest idiot who burns half his house down in the process of setting his VCR clock. When it comes to me fixing, say, a loose power socket that just needed the screw in back tightened down, he'd rather have it hanging loose until he can afford to hire someone to do it.

Re:Old old story. (1)

timepilot (116247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534556)

You probably better off not having your uncle pestering you every time he needs his VCR clock reset.

People like that will probably blame you when their coffee maker breaks shortly after you reset their VCR clock. Really not worth the hassle.

Re:Old old story. (2, Insightful)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534782)

...even if he were the biggest idiot who burns half his house down in the process of setting his VCR clock.

Well of course. Your uncle would feel bad suing you after the house burnt down. The jack/jagoff on the other hand is a different matter. However...

When it comes to me fixing, say, a loose power socket that just needed the screw in back tightened down...

Don't you know that slashdot geeks are expected by relatives to fix hardware failures via email or over the phone? By using clairvoyance and the uncanny ability to determine what failed with only a "I tried [ insert normal activity ] and it didn't work. What's wrong?". You should be able to will that screw to tighten by incanting tech jargon over the internet.

Re:Old old story. (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535200)

The faith in "professionalism" is stunning. But even more so in titles and price.

When I was fixing computers for 10 bucks an hour and calling myself "computer repair guy", I was pestered and belittled and if only the tinyest bit didn't work out (usually because of user stupidity) I was blamed and indirectly accused that I don't know what I'm doing.

Since I started charging 100 bucks an hour and calling myself a "senior IT consultant", not only do I no longer have to do any work (instead, I just tell people what to do) but I also am seen as the demigod who can miraculously cure any sickness that may have befouled the computer, no matter how long it takes or how little I actually accomplish.

Re:Old old story. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534680)

Sigh... we geeks really have to work on our marketing... we need an image consultant!

It's a whole lot better than when I was young. Back then, nerds were laughed at, picked on, called names ("egghead", "foureyes") and like the late Rodney Dangerfield, got no respect. As I mentioned in an old BSFW journal, [slashdot.org] crackheads have taken our place as social pariahs.

Learning still isn't seen as cool, though. We need to work on that.

Re:Old old story. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534832)

"Learning still isn't seen as cool, though. We need to work on that."

The general public are morons who will always despise you, so work on wealth and power instead.

Mcgyver (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535074)

We had a start back in the 1980s with MacGyver. So successful was he that his name became part of the language, and his signature use of duct tape still echoes through the culture. (I sometimes call it McGyver tape).

We need another McGyver.

Re:Mcgyver (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535302)

Sadly, lately the pendulum is swinging back. With the advent of "team" based hero groups in mainstream TV shows, the geeks have become the comic foil again. Think Daniel Jackson in Stargate. You can see it pretty well in CSI and its spinoffs, too. While in the original CSI, Grissom could be seen as something like a geek with his insect collection and his pretty big trivia knowledge, when you look at the spinoff main characters, namely Caine or Taylor, you notice that they're more the traditional, hands-on kind of hero. More action, less thinking.

Re:Old old story. (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534966)

Sigh... we geeks really have to work on our marketing... we need an image consultant!

And the first thing geekdom will require is that this consultant Open Source himself and his work product. And then you will argue about which OSS license is more appropriate; and discuss the differences to oblivion. And then a bunch of you will fork his work. And then another group will require him to set up a torrent for the new image.

A new image assumes a consensus about which all geeks will conform. Now, what do you think the probability curve looks like?

Re:Old old story. (2, Insightful)

DarkTempes (822722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534634)

I dunno, I like my Kindle. It works, feels pretty much the same as reading a book (eink is almost the same as real ink to the eye (including viewing angle) with just slightly worse contrast), and allows me to read books comfortably but without taking up huuuuuge amounts of bookshelf/storage space.

No one makes you buy ebooks from Amazon with the Kindle. And if you're super paranoid about Amazon seeing what you read or accessing your device or something you can hack that out or just keep the wireless turned off. Yes, it's a niche market luxury device. Yes, it's not perfect and could use some software updates. You don't spend money on such a thing if you haven't researched it or are scared of going hungry.

Re:Old old story. (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534954)

Ditto! My device works and works well although I think it might almost be time for a new battery in mine. Now the DRM is becoming easier to remove, this is good. I already have the capability to convert PDF to Mobi myself so what's not to like? In the end the device simply works and does what I need and I get discounts on many books, it was well worth the cost of admission for me...

Re:Old old story. (1)

DarkTempes (822722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535042)

"I already have the capability to convert PDF to Mobi myself so what's not to like?"

You don't even need that anymore as well. Last summer I think it was they updated for native PDF reading on all models. Though I still prefer to use Calibre to convert my PDFs to Mobi first.

Re:Old old story. (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535230)

All models? that was the update via a new firmware download right? The one that Kindle 1 owners such as myself didn't receive? I haven't tried a native PDF on mine lately but I'm pretty sure the original Kindle owners were left out in the cold on that one and I know my Kindle has never received an updated firmware....

Re:Old old story. (1)

epp_b (944299) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535574)

Thank-you for that information. My mom is starting to think about getting a kindle, now I have some useful ammunition for convincing her not to (plus, she already has a netbook ... it amazes me, the things people throw their money at because they can't bother to invest a few minutes realizing that they already have a fully-capable device)

Re:Old old story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30535498)

"Bad analogies are like waxing a monkey with a rainbow."

But a good analogy is a smokin' pizza!

Nothing new? (2, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30533900)

Wait, I've been using MobiDeDRM for a while with my Kindle's Mobi serial number to strip the DRM and leave me with Mobi files. How is this different, exactly?

Re:Nothing new? (1, Funny)

Squeeonline (1323439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534002)

I don't know about you, but I've just been putting a magic marker around the edges of my ebook. That get's rid of the DRM pretty well. /humour

Re:Nothing new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30534028)

Humour tag ruins it.

Re:Nothing new? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30534166)

Wait, I've been using MobiDeDRM for a while with my Kindle's Mobi serial number to strip the DRM and leave me with Mobi files. How is this different, exactly?

This gets the Mobi serial number from the Kindle For PC application. Now you don't need to own a Kindle or iPhone to buy Kindle books.

Re:Nothing new? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534626)

The question is, why would anyone want to do that? I don't like reading books in the PC, but even if I did, I would rather buy a physical copy (to pay the author) and then download a digital copy from torrents or whatever than support DRM infested products.

Re:Nothing new? (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535110)

I have a Sony PRS-505. Amazon has better prices on most books, and has a much larger selection. This is a boon.

Re:Nothing new? (4, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535274)

The question is, why would anyone want to do that?

Because Amazon has a good storefront for buying eBooks of a known quality in a consistent format. You don't need to deal with 6 different formats, 27 different storefronts, and quality going as low as scans of the actual pages.


I don't like reading books in the PC

Some people don't mind it. More importantly, plenty of devices other than the Kindle or iPhone exist on which you might read eBooks... Netbooks, for instance (basically just PCs, but they finally hit a sweet spot between utility, weight, and battery life), or non-Amazon/Apple-approved smartphones.


I would rather buy a physical copy (to pay the author) and then download a digital copy from torrents or whatever than support DRM infested products.

I suspect most of us agree with you on that - However, the legality between the two differs radically. Stripping DRM for purposes of interoperability might count as a protected use (IANAL); downloading a torrent definitely does not. Also, keep in mind that publishers have increasingly tried to play the "X different products" game, claiming that the dead-tree edition requires a separate purchase from the eBook which requires a separate purchase from the audiobook (even if digitally produced) - Geeks tend to scoff at that sort of thinking, but the courts sadly haven't caught on to it as nothing more than a shell-game yet.

Convert everything you have quick (5, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30533902)

I'd suggest converting every book you own really fucking quick. No telling how long it will take Amazon to make a similar format that will take another year or so to break. You can bet that once they do, they'll remotely switch everyone's ebooks over to that new format and then push a firmware upgrade to ensure compliance.

Not so much (2, Informative)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30533920)

I've been walking around with DRM-free files for over a year. Anyway, after stripping of them of DRM, I changed the filenames, and added prefixes to the titles (my real goal) to "categorize" them, which is why I wanted to unDRM them in the first place--adding text prefixes to the titles to indicate category makes it easier to use a Kindle without folder capability.

Re:Not so much (3, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534342)

I've been walking around with DRM-free files for over a year. Anyway, after stripping of them of DRM, I changed the filenames, and added prefixes to the titles (my real goal) to "categorize" them, which is why I wanted to unDRM them in the first place--adding text prefixes to the titles to indicate category makes it easier to use a Kindle without folder capability.

If Amazon really wanted to, they could easily identify their own books on the Kindle regardless of what messing around you've done.

The obvious way would be to put in the occasional misprint - an extra space or punctuation mark would be the easiest, though the odd mis-spelled word would also work - and check for it in a firmware update later. IIRC there are cases of publishers doing exactly this to determine if works they publish were being infringed upon. Put in enough little things like this (and in a book you've got space for hundreds without anyone really noticing) and the only way to avoid it is to retype the whole thing.

Though I'm sure some enterprising fellow somewhere will reply to this with a five-line Perl script which takes a block of text, removes extraneous spaces, adds a few of its own, corrects existing mis-spellings and adds a few new ones and also messes with the punctuation, all of which without impacting the readability of the text.

Re:Not so much (2, Interesting)

riegel (980896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534492)

I had a similar idea for mailing lists. The basic idea would be to have the mail server generate a unique (via inserting random spaces line feeds etc.) message to every subscriber. Then if that message gets cross posted you have a method to help identify who posted it.

Re:Not so much (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534768)

if that message gets cross posted you have a method to help identify who posted it.

Maybe you're making it too easy for them? :)

http://p8ste.com - Web based Clipboard

Re:Not so much (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535166)

As you've said, someone will figure it out if that is the case. Remember they've managed to crack the format; I'd say that's a slighty tougher goal than fixing spelling mistakes and removing double spaces...

And why is this modded funny?

Re:Not so much (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534992)

Actually it can folder things. Not sure if this will help you but if you order a magazine from Kindle it will show up in a "folder" with that magazine's name. So yeah there's a way to do it, I'm just not sure how you'll do it with your naming scheme or what they do to the file internally to enable this...

Re:Convert everything you have quick (2, Interesting)

charlener (837709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30533966)

I don't know if it's that this took a year+ to break or if it's just that no one actually sat down to try it until a year or so. I'm not sure how great the overlap of e-book users and coding types is compared to, say, dvd viewers or itunes users and coders. Also could take a guess based on torrent activities - presumably there are lots more torrents of movies, tv series, music, etc. than e-books.

Re:Convert everything you have quick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30534780)

This has been doable for over a year, the Kindle team at Amazon knows it and they haven't change anything.

Now perhaps it making /. will force them to do somethung because now the *publishers* know, but this isn't news to Amazon.

Re:Convert everything you have quick (1)

jonnyj (1011131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534808)

I just finished reading a book to my son that originally belonged to my great-great grandfather. Apart from it being a great story, it was humbling to join in a family tradition that has survived 6 generations.

What's the chance of a DRM'd Kindle ebook still being readable in 150 years?

Re:Convert everything you have quick (3, Interesting)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535376)

Sumerian clay tablets with cuneiform script have been readable for thousands of years, what's the chance that your book will still be readable in 5000 years?

I don't think anyone is buying a kindle and expecting it to outlast the ages. Kindles are a lot more convenient than lugging around clay tablets.

Re:Convert everything you have quick (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535394)

This is why I refuse to let go of my clay tablet collection.

There's nothing out there today that can replace a good clay tablet, and I'm not switching until they do.

Re:Convert everything you have quick (2, Insightful)

clodney (778910) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535328)

I'd suggest converting every book you own really fucking quick. No telling how long it will take Amazon to make a similar format that will take another year or so to break. You can bet that once they do, they'll remotely switch everyone's ebooks over to that new format and then push a firmware upgrade to ensure compliance.

Or, I could say that my Kindle works just fine as is, and that the presence of the DRM has been a non-event for me. In the event Amazon goes under I could be out of luck (though the most likely thing that would happen is that everything on my Kindle would continue to work for as long as the device lived). But what are the odds that Amazon will disappear in the next few years?

I'd rather we lived in a world where nobody felt the need for DRM, but that is not the world we have. Amazon and Apple seem to have about the most benign forms of DRM around, and I have been happy with the value I have received for my money.

DRM broken? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30533910)

DMCA notification in 3, 2, 1...

Re:DRM broken? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30534058)

I'm pretty sure shipping a DMCA notice to Israel will break the spell-effect they have in the US.

Too early (3, Interesting)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30533942)

Better to have waited a couple of years more, till much more books had been published in the DRM'd format. Publishers were starting to warm to the Kindle, and now they will retrench like timid snails.

Don't be nearsighted (4, Insightful)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534040)

Just like with music, the publishers have to be convinced that DRM is worthless (as it actually is for the vast majority of text) so that we will eventually be able to buy non-DRMed ebooks.

This is just one tiny step on that path. The publishers haven't even gotten to the "if we sue them piracy will be controlled" stage yet. One wonders if they will understand its futility and skip it.

Re:Don't be nearsighted (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534754)

Just like with music, the publishers have to be convinced that DRM is worthless (as it actually is for the vast majority of text) so that we will eventually be able to buy non-DRMed ebooks.

Actually, they have to become convinced that DRM is uneccessary. The addiction to DRM came as a response to piracy. Get piracy down and we may see the back of DRM. If piracy remains a big concern of the producers, then they will continue to either use whatever DRM promises to help, or be reluctant to embrace digital distribution models. Remember that DRM doesn't have to be 100% effective to be worthwhile, it just has to reduce piracy. And in the light of that, efforts such as Amazon's DRM aren't worthless.

They are however very irritating to those of us who buy products which are limited because of DRM. For example, getting Blu-Ray to play on my Linux box was a journey of epic proportions. DRM is a response to piracy.

Re:Don't be nearsighted (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535214)

...DRM came as a response to piracy. Get piracy down...

Piracy of some sort has existed as long a people have existed. Producers who don't accept the obvious fact that a certain percentage of their product will always be pirated lack a realistic business outlook. If the product truly has value, people will purchase the product and encourage others to do the same. If the product is mediocre crap, people will disassemble the product to point out all the flaws.

Piracy is just an excuse for people to take things apart and break them.

Re:Too early (5, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534352)

If publishers were really thinking that, they were not really smart.

DRM has two sides. The content producer, and the consumer. Both lose control to the DRM provider. Look at iTunes and the ITMS. Apple got a virtual monopoly on digital music players, so any music publisher wanting DRM and sell music online and wanting to have an audience larger than 10 would have to go to Apple. Apple knew that. It gave them a lot of pricing power and control.

Now the music publishers realised that, and have started to sell non-DRM music, so they can at least dictate the terms again. There is competition between the stores: they all want to sell music.

At the moment ebooks go the same way. Amazon is a giant, their Kindle is very popular. If a publisher wants to sell DRMed books, they have to go the Amazon/Kindle route. Great for Amazon: they have a double monopoly (readers and content). Not good for authors and publishers. Amazon can demand a greater profit on sales than in an open market, and if Amazon doesn't like your title too bad. You can not go for another DRM as the most common reader can not read it.

I have argued the same before, and will continue to do: DRM goes away because it gives all control to the DRM provider. And the content provider (music labels, publishers, authors, movie studios, TV channels, etc) have to sing to their tune. On top of that it fragments the market: imagine, you are an author, you want to publish your book, and not knowing much about digital technology and distribution you want to "protect it against copying because otherwise everyone will steal my work" so you want to add that cool DRM technology. Then you have a choice of distributors: you could go with DRM1 and you get 40% market share, as their DRM1Reader has a 40% share of e-book readers. Or you could go with DRM2 and you get 30%. DRM3 and DRM4 each have 15% market share. And neither allows you to license to anyone else, so you can not reach more than 40% of the market.

Of course everyone will go to the DRM1 company to grab the largest distribution potential for their work, which then grows and grows and grows to say 80% of the market. And has full control over everything: distribution, pricing, commission for themselves, whether or not to promote/feature your work, etc.

That is what happened to Apple's iTunes. And that is the real reason why everyone is now selling DRM free music. Not because consumers do not like it because in this game no-one cares about the consumer as long as they consume. But the content owners lose control over their content, and lose sales.

Re:Too early (1)

Krommenaas (726204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534740)

The error in that line of thought is that if the 40% DRM-provider really grows and grows, all the others *will* allow licensing to each other. And if it gets 80%, like iTunes did, the publishing industry will favour alternatives, like the music industry did.

Re:Too early (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30534804)

That is a damn interesting take on it, one which had not occured to me. Good thinking !

Re:Too early (4, Interesting)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534986)

You make it sound like the DRM in iTMS was all Apple's idea. Guess what? The labels required it. All Apple did was say "this DRM format is ours and ours only". They never prevented you from playing un-DRMed music. Nor did they default to ripping CDs in DRM format like (IIRC) Windows Media Player did. Apple took longer to remove DRM music than other music stores simply because they had to wait for existing contracts to expire.

Are you so sure that Apple's plan was to make themselves a (pseudo-) monopoly through their DRM? Or maybe the plan all along was to make the DRM distasteful enough for the labels that eventually they would give it up?

Re:Too early (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535260)

Probably neither plan. And it was not my intention to make it sound like Apple wanted DRM, I know it's the music labels that wanted it. In music as I see it DRM is disappearing slowly but surely.

Contracts also do not need to expire, they may be renegotiated at all times.

I don't think any DRM provider ever had "gaining distribution control" as their business plan, they just got it. They had the DRM, and part of keeping DRM working is keeping those keys secret (one of the major weaknesses of DRM of course), and of course protocols copyrighted or otherwise protected.

Re:Too early (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534354)

I believe the earlier it happens the better. I do not see any positives for consumers if Amazon becomes the dominant player as might happen a few more years down the road. Anything that helps a more open (as in widely supported) alternative is to be applauded. Sites like Fictionwise is reflective of the complete mess the industry is in - look at the multitude of proprietary formats, DRMs and accompanying readers that books sell in. The sooner a single common format and delivery model that all publishers, sellers and device manufacturers can support appears the better.

Priceless quotes... (4, Funny)

tyroneking (258793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30533944)

.. from the forum that was linked into from Slashdot (well done for that btw kd)...

"Wow, you're a little scary! Well done." - I will use this the very next time one of my developer colleagues finally does a decent job.
"If Guy says you gun, you cannon. No arguments about!" - I will use this the next time one of my project manager "colleagues" puts his/her foot down about something technical that they don't know anything about.
"Already finished rope hook" - I will use this the next time I am telling a colleague that their code or document was so bad that instead of a review I had to re-write the whole thing.

The best quote of course is the new term "Open DRM" that one of the posters has coined. Genius! We should use that as a tag for all similar posts.

... produced by automatic translation (3, Informative)

winterice (1172013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534160)

You are, of course, aware that with the exception of the first quote, the quotes are simply mangled automatic-translations (from Hebrew) by Google-Translate? For example, you may be disappointed to find out that the (excellent) new term "Open DRM" was not even used in the original text. In fact, it was something along the lines of: " I come back and see that you already managed to crack open the DRM".

Re:... produced by automatic translation (3, Funny)

tyroneking (258793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534178)

Yeah - I got that already :)

You've got to love the new language that Google Translate seems to generate, esp from Hebrew - it's like a whole new generation of 'all your bases...'

Re:... produced by automatic translation (4, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534340)

hbrw hs n vwls, s y cn s hw tmtc trnsltn mght gt t wrng.

(ahem, Hebrew has no vowels...)

Re:... produced by automatic translation (1)

tyroneking (258793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534392)

rlly thgh, ths s kllng my rgnl jk :)
ctlly usd t wrt wtht vwls ll th tm t ncrs wrtng spd - ttl dsstr! - bt thnk ths s th bss f (teeline) s myb ws dng t wrng

Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice. (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534008)

Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice.

More like; "Amazon-dot-com and shareholders rejoice, as more people can now read your files, therefore you make more money from increased e-book sales."

Re:Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice. (0)

ilo.v (1445373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534032)

Amazon-dot-com and shareholders rejoice, as more people can now read your files, therefore you make more money from increased e-book sales.

For the most part, they loose money on each ebook sale.

Re:Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice. (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534060)

For the most part, they gain a money and two giraffes on each ebook sale. Seriously, where is this "loosing money on ebook sales" coming from? It doesn't make any business sense for Amazon to do such a thing. I mean, sure, they sell more kindles but it doesn't do any good if they then loose $300 on each kindle user from book sales. (I assume that people with kindles would buy a lot of books thus causing a lot of loss, the casual reader wouldn't drop $300 on a kindle to read one or two books)

Re:Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice. (3, Informative)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534190)

You and the parent don't understand the difference between 'lose' and 'loose'.

Re:Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice. (4, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534398)

Somehow we have to invent a one-sentence explanation, that explains “loose” by linking to a Goatse pic, and “lose” as what happens to you, if you actually click that link. ^^

Re:Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice. (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535116)

Easy enough: loose links to a Goatse pic, and lose links to a reaction-to-Goatse movie.

Re:Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice. (3, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534114)

For the most part, they loose money on each ebook sale.

Huh? Amazon often sells e-books for as much (or even more) than the price of a printed book. Seeing as there are no costs for storage and shipping, the profits should be larger than on printed books. From where do you get this idea that Amazon loses money on e-book sales?

Re:Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30534210)

You meant, "...the profits should be greater."

See, 'greater' not 'larger'

Kids these days.

Re:Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30534226)

For the most part, they loose money on each ebook sale.

Huh? Amazon often sells e-books for as much (or even more) than the price of a printed book. Seeing as there are no costs for storage and shipping, the profits should be larger than on printed books. From where do you get this idea that Amazon loses money on e-book sales?

Not lose, loose. On every transaction they make money, some of which they loose to rampage through the economy as it will, thriving in its natural environment.

Re:Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice. (3, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534368)

Nonono.

Read that quote from GP again:

For the most part, they loose money on each ebook sale.

OK the grammar is a bit whacky but what he meant is of course that the profit margin is so huge that they end up with some money lying around loose because nobody knows what to do with all that spare change.

Re:Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice. (1)

Kevinv (21462) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534478)

Well there are costs to storage and shipping, they're just a hell of a lot lower than the cost of storing and shipping atoms. it's not like those bits magically appear in the kindle from nowhere.

Re:Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30535324)

The grand-parent is correct.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091206/2048537223.shtml

    Apparently the publishers are selling ebooks to Amazon for $12, and Amazon sells them to you for $10, a $2 LOSS.

    So to those that said that DRM gives the power to the DRM holding company, please explain how the publishers are dictating such ridiculous terms.

Yeah. Right. (4, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534050)

More like; "Amazon-dot-com and shareholders rejoice, as more people can now read your files, therefore you make more money from increased e-book sales."

You really think so? You figure the hackers were disgruntled Amazon shareholders working to increase their quarterly dividends? My perception is that this will result in increased piracy, i.e., distribution through non-authorized channels from whom the authors of the books are not compensated.

Re:Yeah. Right. (4, Informative)

Winckle (870180) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534094)

If you want a pirated book it's easy enough to get a hold of, there are ebooks all over torrent sites and usenet. Even private ebook only trackers. And they are more likely to be in plain-text formats or epub making them better than the amazon equivalents.

Re:Yeah. Right. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534716)

You mean that they are likely to have been processed by someone who doesn't care for formatting, so emphasis and paragraphs are more likely to be lost than in the Amazon version.

Re:Yeah. Right. (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534104)

You really think so? You figure the hackers were disgruntled Amazon shareholders working to increase their quarterly dividends?

I'm not sure where you get that idea from. I'm pretty sure most Amazon shareholders aren't hackers, and wouldn't support the idea of hacking the Kindle - until they see they increase in revenue that results.

My perception is that this will result in increased piracy, i.e., distribution through non-authorized channels from whom the authors of the books are not compensated.

Why would pirates need to hack the Kindle in order to pirate books? There are already plenty of unprotected sources available to them. To get the content via hacking Kindle files, they would need to buy the Kindle file in the first place, resulting in a sale that Amazon wouldn't have otherwise made.

Re:Yeah. Right. (2, Informative)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534568)

Why would pirates need to hack the Kindle in order to pirate books? There are already plenty of unprotected sources available to them.

Exclusive Kindle releases are only available on the Kindle, and there are certainly a few.

Re:Yeah. Right. (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534316)

I'm not quite sure you are correct there -- I was not in the market for an e-book reader (I like the dead tree editions, personally), but if I were, I would specifically seek out one that did not use DRM. For something that I am interested in -- I would have been on board with iTunes years ago had they not used DRM. As someone who spends a LOT of money on music, I can say with 100% certainty that the time they had DRM on their files, they lost literally thousands of dollars in sales from me alone. I know that there are not many people that are knowledgeable enough (or care enough) to do this, but I am also sure that I am not alone. I am also fairly certain that the types of people who are inclined to care are also people that would invest a great deal in a quality collection -- so they are in effect turning away a large amount of really good customers. This is the main problem with DRM -- it significantly lowers the value of your product. When the only way to obtain a product is with DRM, the pirated version is by default the better product. Even if removing the DRM would increase piracy, it would also drastically increase sales, as I'm sure there are a great deal of people on the fence, as I was with iTunes, going on to purchase rival e-Book readers and picking up books from different stores to ensure that they can still access the books that they paid for 5 years from now.

Re:Yeah. Right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30534494)

Which is exactly what amazon desire. The more content (ebooks) in the wild, the more kindles will be sold. This is no different to games consoles. Those that are simple to mod to enable copied games to run are the units that sell the best. There's a simple reason the DS and various incarnations always outsells the vastly superior PSP, it's unbelievably trivial to run copied games. Likewise with the Wii. It's only after they've had huge unit sales do they start to pretend to tighten up on piracy. Same for the original playstation. Once the 5 wire chipping was easily available, the playstation wiped the floor with the opposition.

The public are not stupid enough to buy ebooks for more than a paperback, which itself has considerable distribution and manufacturing costs. ebook are tiny files, the smallest of all media, you can't give them away, sell them or loan them. Costs should be tiny, 10 cents a book or less. Should publishers learn this, they will start seeing a lot of sales. But like other old media, they cannot see beyond their old limited business methods.

Re:Yeah. Right. (2, Insightful)

IDtheTarget (1055608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534836)

More like; "Amazon-dot-com and shareholders rejoice, as more people can now read your files, therefore you make more money from increased e-book sales."

You really think so? You figure the hackers were disgruntled Amazon shareholders working to increase their quarterly dividends? My perception is that this will result in increased piracy, i.e., distribution through non-authorized channels from whom the authors of the books are not compensated.

Not necessarily. I prefer to read my books on my iPhone, using BookShelf. I've been burned a couple of times by DRM, so I won't buy an eBook unless I can strip the DRM. That way, once I've paid for the book, I won't have to worry about it being either taken away or rendered useless by a company going under.

I *want* to purchase my ebooks. I *don't* want to pirate them or give away books I've purchased. But I also *require* that I have the ability to read my purchases on whatever medium is convenient to me.

eBook *need* piracy (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534946)

Once piracy take off and a lot of people start to be itnerrested into eBook, then real usage and real sale will pick up. until then it is a niche market.

the real story here... (4, Insightful)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534200)

If DRM is not locked inside of a closed black metal box, with anti-tamper seals, then it can always be reverse engineered. Once Kindle readers became available on the PC I knew it would be a matter of time before the DRM format was broken and utilities made available. What did surprise me here was that much headway had already been made by the ones hacking the Kindle hardware/OS already. The DRM had long been defeated. The sad part is that the people that pay for all that DRM 'technology' (the people who buy the DRM'ed books) are never going to be able to easily use the great software such as Calibre, which could make managing all these devices so much easier, sans the DRM. The legal aspects with circumventing DRM will always prevent the ability to have a ubiquitous software platform capable of reading any format that happens to be available from any publisher. I for one would buy much more from any publisher who would publish 'real books' (i.e. not best sellers list only) in a format I can really use. One day they will realize that all the money was wasted on DRM technology, and was merely passing for modern day 'snake oil'. DRM is a loosing battle that need not be fought because it only takes one disgruntled geek to undo all the millions spent on that failed technology. DRM will never increase sales, as the market forces are still just a matter of supply and demand. There is no upside to DRM except for those selling the technology itself. Everyone else, including the content providers themselves, loose in the long run.

Re:the real story here... (2, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534314)

Proposing a non DRM solution to publishers is simply not a viable solution. Like it or not, publishers want to protect their content from copying and certain people all too willing to copy their content for nothing. However, any DRM scheme needs to be common to all publishers, all resellers and all reader devices. It must also define reasonable limits that take into account the user's needs and the publisher's needs.

With that in place, consumers will flock to the format and publishers will reap the rewards. Perhaps in the long term the industry discovers (as with MP3), that people are in general fairly honest so there is no need for the DRM. Perhaps the cost of licensing the DRM exceeds the losses of not implementing it. Perhaps passive DRM such as embedding the user's personal information into their copy is sufficient deterrent.

Re:the real story here... (4, Insightful)

base3 (539820) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534468)

DRM doesn't make any sense on books. No one even has to "crack" it -- it only takes one person with access to type the book into an open format and distribute it. The publishers can either suck it up and realize this, or lose out to the pirates who provide a better, more convenient product for zero cost.

Re:the real story here... (2, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534676)

DRM doesn't make any sense on books. No one even has to "crack" it -- it only takes one person with access to type the book into an open format and distribute it. The publishers can either suck it up and realize this, or lose out to the pirates who provide a better, more convenient product for zero cost.

And all one has to do with music is tape it, or with movies camcorder it. You can even do this with encrypted content. The analogue hole means all content can ultimately be copied and usually at an acceptable level of quality. I'm actually surprised no one has hooked up a Kindle to a flatbed scanner and written some page turning software to rip & OCR books that way.

But all this is irrelevant because publishers still want the option of DRM. It may ultimately be futile, but publishers want the option. A determined attacker will find their way around anything but most people are not that determined. Publishers might wish there was unbreakable DRM (fat chance) but failing that they'll settle for one that prevents casual copying and one that makes it easy to identify file sharers.

A single file format and DRM that was common across all vendors and non-intrusive wouldn't even register as an issue with consumers. Far more important would be the price of the content and the ease of obtaining and managing it. Even with P2P networks people still buy video & music from online stores and the same would hold true for books. The biggest impediment is the multitude of incompatible formats. A single format adopted by all major players would see sales skyrocket.

Re:the real story here... (1)

riegel (980896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534714)

However, any DRM scheme needs to be common to all publishers, all resellers and all reader devices.

I would also like to fly walk and sleep at the same time.

DRM or not, I just don't get it... (2, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534436)

Call me a ludite but I just don't see the point in paying $300AU for a device (DRM'd or otherwise) to read e-books that cost virtually the same as a real book. With real books I save $300 in up front costs and will never experience the frustration of batteries running out on the last chapter. And when I'm finished I can go to the seconhand bookshop and swap it over for another book for pennies. What's the attraction?

Re:DRM or not, I just don't get it... (2, Interesting)

Intrinsic (74189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534510)

I guess for me its about making room in my book bag. It doesn't replace a paperback, but its great if you need to carry a ton of books for research, which as a writer, I sometimes need to carry a bunch. But im not buying any device that contains drm so I stick to books or the occasional pdf.

Re:DRM or not, I just don't get it... (2, Interesting)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534532)

What's the attraction?

I use ebooks all the time (not DRMed), the attraction for me is having an entire library of information accessible on the go. I have thousands of ebooks on my netbook (I could store far, far more, but I don't have more), some of them technical manuals which I find useful to look things up and others just happen to be books I tend to enjoy reading. Additionally, in the room I live in, I don't really have any room for storage, so just having it on the laptop, netbook etc. is a God send. Being able to take notes on the book without actually 'defacing' or 'damaging' the book in the process is also a benefit, since I tend to feel a bit guilty for writing all over the place in books. I have no interest in pawning off my books, plus I tend to have many obscure ones that wouldn't sell well.

You did make a point about battery life, but getting into a situation where you couldn't recharge the Kindle (I don't own one) before a week ended (assuming you're using the wireless feature, otherwise it's two weeks) seems rather obscure to me.

I hope this answers your question.

Re:DRM or not, I just don't get it... (2, Informative)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535326)

Have you ever had to move 8 moving boxes filled with paperbacks, and pay for the privilege every time you moved? That was my tipping point.

The ability to easily move your collection and to shop for new books without finding a bookstore are the best parts for me.

Re:DRM or not, I just don't get it... (3, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535450)

There are a number of advantages:

1) Lots of content available in a small package. You can carry a library with you wherever you go, which is fantastic for travel (who wants to haul around multiple books in a carry-on?).

2) Easy to purchase new content quickly. Out of books? Buy another one and it's there and available in seconds.

3) No bookmarks. An e-reader remembers exactly where I was at any given time.

4) No need to hold a damn book open. Combined with 3, it's suddenly practical to read while standing on the bus, waiting in line at the grocery store with a basket in one hand, etc, not to mention enabling more comfortable reading positions at home (lying on one's side in bed, lying the book on your lap or propped up on your knees, etc). And it's a lot less fatiguing on the hands.

5) You can easily change font sizes (this is a killer feature for a kindle owner I know). Do you have poor vision? Are your eyes just tired? Crank up the point size and you're good to go.

Of course, there are plenty of disadvantages, not the least of which is the lack of that wonderful smell of paper, and the tactile sensations as you turn the page and handle the book, hence why I would never completely replace my paper library with a digital one. But the advantages mean that I typically split my time, switching between reading electronic and paper books.

Finally we can lend our books to friends! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30534268)

That we were not able to lend ebooks to friends is a major flaw in all the ebook stuff.

Finally with this we are able to give books to friends, just like with normal books as well.

I'm looking forward to the first lend-your-book.org website. So everyone can upload one of its own ebooks and get another one from someone else. If this is programmed good it will effectively spread more books to more people (and yes, amazon will cry about it - but that's a human right to share your own stuff with anybody you want if you dont keep a copy yourself)

regards,

Jan Kechel

Re:Finally we can lend our books to friends! (3, Insightful)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535296)

Not even remotely the same thing. When I lend out a book, I no longer have access to it. If the lendee forgets where it came from and lends it to someone else or sells it (yes, it happened to me), the only way I'm ever going to read it again is to buy another copy or try to find it in a library.

With e-books you aren't "lending", you're merely making a copy...

Cracking SD Cards? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30534288)

Is the crack for SD Flash cards available and current? Because "SD" stands for "Secure Digital". The storage end of the digital chain has DRM in its hardware. It's only a matter of time before it gets used to control us, now that it's everywhere. And it's only a matter of time before it's cracked, if it's not already. But if it's not, there will be some time where our actual rights are suspended. And rights delayed are rights denied.

Nice (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30535208)

Did anyone else notice this line in the code:

". text: 00414436 call BadBoy "

I wonder if the complimentary call is named "SpankMe".

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