A Fictional Existence


So I Hacked a Book …

…. no, not into pieces.

I grew up with Tanith Lee’s Prince on a White Horse. It is a beloved book. I bought it in the stock-shedding sale of my local library, when I was eight or so, because it was cheap and nobody seemed to want it. The library in question shut it’s doors to the public years ago, yet another casualty of Pakistan’s terrorism problems, but I digress.

I got reacquainted with my copy of the book some years ago when I went back home to visit and brought it back to Dubai with me. In a bid to share it’s sheer brilliance with the wider public, I suggested it at my local book club meeting. And THAT’S when I found out that it is in fact part 2 of a two part series. Queue mad search for The Castle of Dark. And here’s how I ended up hacking it:

1. Local Bookshops: Don’t stock it. Some offer to order in, much delayed and it an unreasonable price.

2. Check my usual ebook suppliers (mobilism.org, IRC), no luck

3. Check torrents

4. Check random download places (booksdirectory and booksdir is a scam, STAY AWAY)

5. Calculate costs of flying physical book in from Alibris or Abe. Only about 30x the cost of the book (and consequently too expensive)

6. Check ebook sellers. Amazon, no luck. Barnes&Noble, no luck … Kobo has it AHA!

7. Kobo: list price $6.99, Kobo Price $5.79, check online for Kobo coupons, try SAV50, it works! get 50% off, final price $2.89 (or about 11 AED)

8. Format is Adobe DRM ePub (oh I know what ePub means, don’t know what DRM is but we’ll worry about that bit later) book acquired yay!

9. Try downloading from Kobo, get presented with a URLLink.acsm. Google what it means.

10. Download & Install Adobe Shockwave because without it you can’t make the download page for Adobe Digital Editions work. Download and Install Adobe Digital Editions because that is the only application that will open it. Re-download URLLink.acsm, open it with Adobe DE, it downloads the epub onto the hard disk and opens it. More celebration. But I want to read it on my kindle.

11. Open ePub with Calibre, get ‘this is a DRM book’ error. Google DRM. Apparently I can’t even read it on an ipad without a third party software, because it’s ‘protected’

12. Google how to remove DRM, find this excellent guide on blog-the-ebook-reader.com 

13. Download this set of tools from apprenticealf’s blog (whoever you are, you are awesome), and load plugins into Calibre. 

14. Restart calibre post plugin load, reload the book into it, it opens, IT WORKS!

15. Convert the book into a .mobi on Calibre because I want to read it on my kindle.

16. Load .mobi to the kindle via USB transfer

17. Write a quick blog post


So three hours and $2.89 later, I can read The Castle of Dark on my kindle that my husband got me (best Valentine’s Day present ever!)

The Castle of Dark

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This entry was posted on July 17, 2014 by .

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