My wife, Margaret Watson, requested reversions for 22 older Harlequin/Silhouette books that were no longer in print. Harlequin granted this request on 10 books and immediately removed the books from on-line marketplaces.
We asked Harlequin for digital copies so that we could easily make them available for sale. They said they charge $500 per book.
This seemed liked a lot, since we just wanted an email with 10 files attached. Five thousand dollars?
Since I’m retired, I have time to figure out how to re-create digital versions of hard-copy books. I describe this process in a separate post.
We’re hoping Harlequin will soon grant reversion on the 12 other books that are still listed for sale for $3.99 each. When they do, I don’t want to lose my chance to buy digital versions for $3.99 apiece.
So I bought all 12 books from Amazon and researched how to convert them to Microsoft Word format. It turned out to be quite simple.
First I “bought” the “Kindle for PC” software from Amazon. It’s free. You buy it, download it, and install it on your PC so that you can download books in digital format.
Then you buy the Kindle version of your Harlequin book from Amazon. This is where you need to fork over $3.99 per book. But that beats $500.
Then use your PC (or Mac) to launch the Kindle app. You should see your newly purchased book listed in the library. By doubleclicking the book, it gets downloaded to your PC. It’s then marked with a checkmark in the library. These downloads are stored in folder “Documents\My Kindle Content\” in Kindle format (*.azw) and named using Amazon’s unique ASIN ID.
Now you just need to convert from Kindle format to Word. My research indicated that Calibre software could do this conversion. Calibre is shareware that I already had installed on my PC. It lets you read and convert digital books (e.g., EPUB, MOBI, etc).
But when I tried converting, I found that DRM caused a problem. DRM (Digital Rights Management) is technology used to prevent piracy. Additional research suggested that there’s a “DeDRM” plugin for Calibre from “Apprentice Alf’s” that can remove the protection so that the file can be read and converted.
I doubted that it could be that easy to thwart the DRM protection, but I downloaded DeDRM_Plugin.zip and followed the instructions to install it. It worked like a charm.
To complete the conversion from Kindle to Word, launch the Calibre software, use the “Add Books” button, point to the Kindle book folder, and select the book (ASIN ID). After the book appears in the Calibre library, use the “Convert Books” icon to convert to DOCX format. The Word document will be found in the Calibre book folder — “Documents\Calibre Library\AuthorName\BookName\”. I even found I could add ten books at once to Calibre (hold control key while selecting books) and convert 10 books at once using the Bulk convert. I was pleasantly surprised how smoothly this conversion went.