06 Jul 2020 12:37 pm

As a side effect of living in small apartments for a good ch unk of my adult life, and as the technology has gotten better, I’ve begun to eschew physical media for digital versions.

This has some serious drawbacks, as people say “you don’t really own your own digital media”, but they’re mostly referring to the content provider’s ability to revoke access, a problem we can work around by applying the older methods of digital piracy to digital media you actually paid good money for.

The downside used to be the issue of storage, but with costs / GB decreasing yearly, and the relative ease of setup of FreeNAS or similar, and the increasing size and portability of removable media, the Cloud (ie, “someone else’s computer”) should only be trusted as storage for low-value or non-sensitive data.

This diatribe was brought on by having been gifted a comic on Kindle, which is neat and all, but my vast archive of comics is mostly accessed via YAC Reader on an iPad Pro. And it turns out pulling a comic off of Kindle is surprisingly annoying.

Broken down, it starts with downloading the Kindle app onto your PC (all examples henceforth are PC-specific, as Win10 is my daily driver).

Once downloaded and installed, launch the app and log into your account.

Find the comic you want to download, right-click it’s thumbnail, and select download. That will make the media available for offline use.

On your PC, navigate to your Documnents folder, and locate the subfolder “My Kindle Content”. Unhelpfully, the folders below that are named somewhat cryptically. You may want to sort by date to help you locate the media you’ve just downloaded. You’re looking for a file with the extension .azw.

Next, you’ll need to import and decrypt the file. I use Calibre with Apprentice Alf’s DeDRM plugin, and I followed a helpful (and well-written) tutorial on how to do so.

Once installed and running, you want to drag and drop that .azw file into calibre, which will then add it into its library. Calibre doesn’t have a native cbr / cbz exporter, which is no big deal, as you can choose to convert a book to .zip format, which is all a cbz file is, an archive of sequentially named images with the .cbz extension.

Select the newly-imported comic from your calibre library choose the Convert option. Once in the convert screen, on the top right side, in the dropdown next to “output format”, select Zip, and then OK at the bottom right of the screen. Calibre will then begin exporting your imported azw into a zip file with extra formatting data.

Back on the calibre library, right click on the comic you just converted and select “open containing folder”. You’ll find your newly generated .zip file there.

Open it up, and navigate to the subfolder labelled “images”. These are the individual pages of your comic. Extract this to a folder of your choice, re-archive them all a .zip file, rename the archive to suit your organizational desire and make sure to rename the extension as .cbz.

You’ve now converted your legally purchased comic into a DRM free cbz file for use in the comic reader of your choice.

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