(2023-02-04) Rescuing Kindle Ebooks

I saw a toot from someone saying they suddenly couldn't read their Kindle ebooks that they bought more than 5 years ago - they had to re-buy them, then contact customer service for refunds!

So I thought I should check.

(Mostly I buy epub from GoogleBooks and stripe the DRM, but sometimes you can only get a Kindle.)

I thought I had converted some Kindle books to epub in the distant past, but Spotlight didn't find any. (Though maybe that's a spotlight issue. I can see 1 .mobi file that I know of, but search for name-incl-mobi gives me nothing. )

I haven't used the Mac app since I got this laptop. So I install it. I have 1219 docs in my library, but I know most of those are Samples. The Mac app doesn't let you filter on that?!? (I check online, 443 are purchases.)

I scroll down to the bottom - some of those are from 10yrs ago - I can open them fine. So no panic. But still....

Where are those newly-opened files on my Mac? Ah, found them, different than in the past.

But notice one old book is New Evolution Diet, check my folder, find I had an old .azw file. Open in Calibre, try to convert to epub, blocked by drm. Hmm maybe this Calibre isn't set up right for that....

Since I'm running Calibre 4.23, I get DeDRM 6.8.1. I unzip it and install it successfully.

Configuration? This says: If you do not own a physical Kindle, the default decryption key will be pulled from Kindle for Mac the first time the plug-in is run.

So I try New Evolution Diet

  • had old file - delete that folder
  • open in Mac Kindle - see the file in Finder
  • open it in Calibre, then try to open/read it - it says it's in KFX format, which I know requires an additional plugin. Install KFX-Input plugin, restart Calibre, re-import azw file into Calibre (it now recognizes the title).
  • Convert: this has DRM fail
  • try a newer book: No Sunscreen for the Dead - same outcome

Issue might be that Mac Kindle is v1.39, and DRM changed at v1.25....

  • de-register/uninstall old Kindle app
  • download Kindle 1.17 from 3rd party; install
  • launch → won't run on current version of MacOS.

I try downloading New Evolution Diet azw3 file from Kindle web, convert in Calibre → nope DRM.

Ah, find recent Mac-specific instructions - if you don't have a physical Kindle, what a huge pain.


  • I could pay $30 for epubor
  • just live with Kindle app - that will be my primary as long as it works.
  • download epubs from various sites. That's the fallback.


  • (I did nothing)
  • now a recent GooglePlay ebook won't strip, I realize I hadn't bought anything with DRM from them for a year.


  • throwing up my hands, buy epubor for $60 (lifetime)
  • it worked on the GoogleBook!
  • try to launch Kindle app - old version won't run on this MacOsX. Download new one, look around...
  • ah can't use that, have to download v1.4.0 from epubor folks - do that. Synch library
  • have to re-download individual books
  • one of them fails, it's a KFX. They want me to pay for another Kindle Converter app?!?! That's not gonna happen, going to see how many other books have this issue. Seems about 50/50.
  • tried another GooglePlay book, just to check. It went fine.
  • Apr07 trying Kindle KFX some more. Fix the kindle-file-location in epubor, but it still doesn't see any files.
    • ah, I was looking at the wrong downloads location. When I switched back to the default, it recognized all the local stuff.
  • but half of the books failed because they're the old KCR format - I wonder what will happen if I re-download them?

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