How to Tell If an eBook Has DRM

Posted by on .

If you are an eBook fan, I guess you must know the fact that not all the eBooks downloaded online are DRM free. Especially books from the main eBook stores on the market, such as Amazon, Kobo, Google Play and Nook. Even though we download some free eBooks, they are also protected with DRM. For DRMed books, we are not allowed to copy, print, share with friends and family or read them on the devices we like. It's really annoying, right? In order to avoid purchasing DRM protected eBooks, can we tell if an eBook has DRM before we buy it? Or can we check whether the purchased eBooks are DRMed? How to? Don't worry. In this article, I will teach you how to for details? For purchasing DRM free eBooks, you can click here to learn about some online eBook shops that provide us eBooks without DRM.

What does DRM protected mean

To begin with, let's learn something about DRM protected eBooks. Currently most eBooks typically use DRM technology to limit copying, sharing or printing of eBooks. DRM protected books are always limited to be used on limited number of reading devices. Some publishers even prevent any copying or printing. For some users, you may be still confused about it, but I guess you will know it after reading following examples.

--You bought a Kindle book and transfer it to Nook eReader or iBooks, but they told you it cannot be opened at all.

--You found an interesting Kindle, Kobo or Nook book and want to share it with your best friends or family, but when you transfer or copy it to him, he cannot open it because of copyright protection.

--You purchase a guide book, such as a cook book or text book and need to print some useful pages out for convenient use, but when you tried to print, they told you "this book is not allowed to be printed".

--You only have a Kindle device, but the book you like is only in EPUB formats, you tried to convert EPUB to Kindle format, the eBook converter told you "This book is DRMed, we cannot convert it".

--If you don't like the cover of your downloaded eBooks, owing to DRM, you cannot change its cover to a more beautiful picture either.

......This is DRM protected book. For eBook lovers, it's really a pain. Though we paid for them, we actually don't own them 100% and cannot do anything we like on them.

How to tell if an eBook has DRM

Now that we have learned that DRMed books will prevent us reading eBook freely, it's necessary for us to learn about how to tell if an eBook has DRM, especially before we purchase an eBook. This is exactly what I will talk about in this part, including purchased books and books we intend to buy.

How to tell a purchased book has DRM limitation

After we have purchased eBooks online, it's easy to check if the book has DRM or not. We can use Calibre to have a check.

Firstly, download Calibre and install it on your computer.

Second, simply drag your purchased book to Calibre and double-click it. If you can open it successfully, it means this book is DRM free. Otherwise, it will pops up an alert below, your book must be DRM protected. So easy to judgment, right?

oepn drmed books failed

How to check if a book has DRM before purchasing

I guess most people may be more interested in this part. Here I will take Kindle and Kobo books as example. Both of them are the popular eBook retailers on the market.

For Kindle books

How to tell if a Kindle book has DRM? Usually we can check a Kindle eBook has DRM or not via its product details. As the image below shows, we can tell if a book has DRM protection in 3 cases.

1. If it says "Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited", obviously, the book is DRM free.

2. If it says nothing, it indicates the book is DRM protected.

3. If it has a "Simultaneous Device Usage", but it gives a number of licenses, such as "Up to 5 simultaneous devices", then it will have DRM.

books details

For Kobo books

How about telling if a Kobo book has DRM protection? Actually, it's the same with Kindle books. We all need to view its eBook details to see whether the book is DRM protected.

Simply click on the cover of eBook you like, then you will come to the eBook details page. From the bottom of this page, just as the image shows, according to the "Download options" item, we can clearly know the book is DRM protected or DRM free.

drm free kobo ebooks

If the "Download options" info is Adobe DRM, the book is surely DRM protected.

drm protected ebooks

For other online eBooks, you can also view whether the book is DRMed or not via its eBook details. Except Kindle books, most of online eBook are DRM protected by Adobe DRM. If you are not sure if the book is DRM protected or DRM free, you can search the word such as "Adobe", "Adept" or "DRM" on the details page, if you find something about it, the book must be protected.

Or if the online service is available, you can also ask customer service for help.

What if we purchased DRM protected eBooks

Though we can tell if an eBook has DRM or not before we purchase it, or download DRM free eBooks via online eBook stores that aimed at eBooks without DRM protection, sometimes eBooks we like are only available for DRM protection, can we deal with DRMed books? The answer is YES. How to? Here I recommend you a powerful tool Ultimate eBook Converter, which has both DRM decryption and eBook conversion features. It supports the main DRM scheme on the market, including Kindle DRM, Nook DRM and Adobe DRM. After removing DRM protection from our Kobo, Nook, Kindle or Google play books, we can also use this tool to convert eBook format to read eBooks on more devices we like.

Windows Version Download Mac Version Download

That's all I want to share with you. This may doesn't include all the situation, if you have some better ways to tell if an eBook has DRM, don't forget to share them with us.


works for Epubor and writes articles for a collection of blogs such as ebookconverter.blogspot.com.

12/26/2015 11:01:03
It is helpful, thank you guys for sharing this.
12/16/2016 12:12:13
What about Nook books? How would I know?
12/25/2016 23:37:08
Normally, most of Nook Books have DRM, so you don't need to check. LOL
Leave a comment
YourName *
Comments UBB Editor
Home > Guide >How to Tell If an eBook Has DRM
mcafee badgenorton badge