iPad Killer App: Library Books part 1

Purchasing books is nice, but I like going to my library and borrowing books. I know that the Seattle Public Library lends books electronically via OverDrive in the ePub format the iPad uses, but can these books be read on the iPad?

It is, eventually, possible to do this. The Mac documentation is a bit sparse, and you do need some Unix comfort to get it done.

First I tried to simply download and extract the book. This didn’t work: the DRM that OverDrive uses to enforce library return dates isn’t compatible with iBooks.

By this point I was obsessed. A little poking around revealed that the ADEPT DRM used by OverDrive has been cracked.

The instructions provided are a touch vague. It’s not hard to find windows-specific instructions for using these tools, and one Mac forum has a very long thread on removing ADEPT encryption on Macs.

After a bit of fiddling, I ensured that I had an updated Python 2.6 distribution via MacPorts. I installed the py26-crypto package, found sources for inept on the Web, and downloaded them.

I had to do silly Unix stuff next: strip the DOS linefeeds out of the .pyw files and rename them to .py, changing the shebang to point to the correct version of Python.

Then I needed to download the blasted Adobe eReader software, install it, and authorize it. I think that authorizing my reader was the longest single step.

Then, at long last I could download a book I wanted from the library site. I had to open the book in the Adobe eReader first, to get the crypto key authorized.

Finally, I used ineptkeymac_v1.py to extract my key from the Adobe configuration, and ineptepub_v2.py to decrypt the book. I dragged the book into iTunes, synced my iPad, and at long last I had my library book in place.

The good news is next time I can download the book, open it in Adobe, and just use ineptepub_v2 to decrypt it. Even so, this isn’t a process that a non-Unix-using Mac user will be comfortable with. I expect, however, with the advent of the iPad, that someone will make a simple. unified tool to decrypt and convert books.

2 thoughts on “iPad Killer App: Library Books part 1

  1. When you find an app that does all this itself – let us know – you lost me from the 2nd paragraph – just wish I could read my library books from somewhere other than the computer


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