About Open Books

 

calibre introduces Open Books, a site for easy browsing of DRM-free e-books (e-books without DRM) that are not in the public domain. calibre has a cornucopia of features including library management, e-book conversion, syncing with devices, news download, e-book viewing etc, but to make the most of these features with your e-books you need to ensure your e-books do not carry DRM.

Open Books is a compilation non DRM e-books from various sources linked to enable readers to browse and download them.

Open Books invites you to submit links to DRM free e-books that you would like added to the database. Contact us with details of your DRM-free e-books on the calibre facebook fanpage or #calibreforum page. Please inform us via these channels if you find any errors in the catloging.

For DRM-free public domain books visit the Project Gutenberg website. The Project Gutenberg catalogue contains public domain e-books free of cost as well as DRM-free in various languages.

Open Books is a developing resource. We will be adding books regularly and will introduce a search function and other features as our collection of books increases.

The USD ($) prices of e-books, whose prices are presented in another currency as well, are approximate. They are obtained using the exchange rate on the day they were added. The accurate price is the one in the currency which is not USD. The approximate USD price is presented for meaningful comparison with other ebooks.

What is DRM?
Courtesy BeWrite Books Digital rights management (DRM) is a generic term for access control technologies that can be used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals to try to impose limitations on the usage of digital content and devices. It is also, sometimes, disparagingly described as Digital Restrictions Management. The term is used to describe any technology which inhibits uses (legitimate or otherwise) of digital content that were not desired or foreseen by the content provider. The term generally doesn't refer to other forms of copy protection which can be circumvented without modifying the file or device, such as serial numbers or keyfiles. It can also refer to restrictions associated with specific instances of digital works or devices. DRM technologies attempt to control use of digital media by preventing access, copying or conversion to other formats by end users. See wikipedia.

What does DRM imply for me personally?
When you buy an e-book with DRM you don't really own it but have purchased the permission to use it in a manner dictated to you by the seller. DRM limits what you can do with e-books you have "bought". Often people who buy books with DRM are unaware of the extent of these restrictions. These restrictions prevent you from reformating the e-book to your liking, including making stylistic changes like adjusting the font sizes, although there is software that empowers you to do such things for non DRM books. People are often surprised that an e-book they have bought in a particular format cannot be converted to another format if the e-book has DRM. So if you have an Amazon Kindle and buy a book sold by Barnes and Nobles, you should know that if that e-book has DRM you will not be able to read it on your Kindle. Notice that I am talking about a book you buy, not steal or pirate but BUY.

What does DRM do for authors?
Publishers of DRMed e-books argue that the DRM is all for the sake of authors and to protect their artistic integrity and prevent piracy. But DRM does NOT prevent piracy. People who want to pirate content or use pirated content still do it and succeed. The three major DRM schemes for e-books today are run by Amazon, Adobe and Barnes and Noble and all three DRM schemes have been cracked. All DRM does is inconvenience legitimate users. It can be argued that it actually harms authors as people who would have bought the book choose to find a pirated version as they are not willing to put up with DRM. Those that would pirate in the absence of DRM do so in its presence as well. To reiterate, the key point is that DRM *does not prevent piracy*. So DRM is not only pointless and harmful to buyers of e-books but also a waste of money. Click here for an estimate of the costs of DRM.

DRM and freedom
Although digital content can be used to make information as well as creative works easily available to everyone and empower humanity, this is not in the interests of some publishers who want to steer people away from this possibility of freedom simply to maintain their relevance in world developing so fast that they cant keep up.

Why does calibre not support DRM?
calibre is open source software while DRM by its very nature is closed. If calibre were to support opening or viewing DRM files it could be trivially modified to be used as a tool for DRM removal which is illegal under today's laws. Open source software and DRM are a clash of principles. While DRM is all about controlling the user open source software is about empowering the user. The two simply can not coexist.

What is calibre's view on content providers?
We firmly believe that authors and other content providers should be compensated for their efforts, but DRM is not the way to go about it. We are developing this database of DRM-free e-books from various sources to help you find DRM-free alternatives and to help independent authors and publishers of DRM-free e-books publicize their content. We hope you will find this useful and we request that you do not pirate the content made available to you here.

How can I help fight DRM?
As somebody who reads and buys e-books you can help fight DRM. Do not buy e-books with DRM. There are some publishers who publish DRM-free e-books. Make an effort to see if they carry the e-book you are looking for. If you like books by certain independent authors that sell DRM-free e-books and you can afford it make donations to them. This is money well spent as their e-books tend to be cheaper (there may be exceptions) than the ones you would buy from publishers of DRMed books and would probably work on all devices you own in the future saving you the cost of buying the e-book again. Do not discourage publishers and authors of DRM-free e-books by pirating their content. Content providers deserve compensation for their efforts. Do not punish them for trying to make your reading experience better by making available DRM-free e-books. In the long run this is detrimental to you.
If you have bought books from sellers that carry both DRMed as well as DRM-free books, not knowing if they carry DRM or not make it a point to leave a comment or review on the website informing future buyers of its DRM status. Many sellers do not think it important to clearly indicate to their buyers if an e-book carries DRM or not.
Here you will find a Guide to DRM-free living.

Sites that have ONLY DRM-free e-books
Smashwords has over 31000 DRM-free e-books in various categories including, but not limited to, Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Humour, Horror, Historical, etc. Xinxii has a large collection of DRM-free e-books in English and German. They cover a variety of categories too. Baen is a good place to find DRM-free e-books on speculative fiction, while Carina Press carries a good number of romance e-books as well as a few e-books in other categories.
A huge number of public domain works are available on the Project Gutenberg website both free of cost (please consider donating) as well as DRM-free. The Project Gutenberg catalogue contains public domain e-books in various languages.

Sites that have BOTH DRMed as well as DRM-free e-books
Amazon has a few DRM-free e-books. Look for "Simultaneous Device Usage" under "Product Details" and if it is set to "Unlimited" the the book is DRM-free. Only such books from Amazon are listed here. MOST E-BOOKS ON THE AMAZON WEBSITE ARE NOT DRM FREE. If there is no mention of the "Simultaneous Device Usage" under "Product Details" the e-book is not DRM Free.

By "publishers" we mean the person or organisation whose website sells the e-book. This may or may not be the same person or organisation that publishes the e-book.

Smashwords:
We think DRM is counter productive because it treats lawful customers like criminals. Consumers value non-DRMed content and there's a growing body of evidence that digital content producers who have abandoned DRM are enjoying greater sales. Many buyers of e-books resent DRM because it limits their ability to fully own and enjoy their digital book. At Smashwords, we only publish DRM-free works. By the same token, we strictly discourage illegal pirating of an author’s works. (Taken from here)

Closed Circle:
"We offer non-DRM mobi. You can still read non-DRM mobi on a Kindle. But you can store non-DRM mobi anywhere you can store a regular file and have it on more than one machine at a time. In fact we plead with you to put your download file on a disk so you will never lose it: you will never break its spine, drop it in the bathtub, or wear it out. You can bounce our files off your disk, recover them from dvd, and reload them as often as you like—forever, as long as you don’t lose that backup you’ll make. So we prefer to offer our readers non-DRM mobi files, trusting your honesty." (Taken from here)

Carina Press:
DRM is Digital Rights Management, and DRM technologies control use of digital media by preventing access, copying or conversion to other formats by end users. Put simply, DRM stops you from being able to copy/share your eBook with another person or device, but does not prevent piracy. (Taken from here)