Kindle for PC gains text-to-speech (but makes stripping DRM harder)

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 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.


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