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Amazon Kindle publisher’s copy limit

One of my favorite ways to read technical and leadership books is on my laptop, where I copy, paste, and summarize (I do this so much, I described a bit more in summaries).

One problem is that I often do this reading in the Kindle app and after a certain number of copy & pastes, I get this:

“You have reached the publisher’s copy limit set for this title.”


And it stops my writing in its tracks.

Here are a few workarounds…

  1. The quick & dirty: Right Click -> Search the Web
    • When using the Kindle app, instead of Right Click -> Copy, you can Right Click -> Search the Web…
    • Then copy the text from the resultant Google Search screen.
    • So, this approach requires an extra step each time, but it works (credit: this youtube video from Robert Ho)
  2. The more difficult but comprehensive: Calibre
    • This approach uses Calibre (open-source software for managing e-books) to remove the DRM completely. This is a definitely a more involved process, but my preferred solution.
    • I am not a lawyer, but several articles, including this one from gizmodo, state that this is perfectly legal.
    • I personally followed this article (from a blogger called Aure on, and it worked well.
    • This article from techradar also explains it.
    • I love this approach because it allows me to buy any book and convert it to PDF for unlimited copy & pasting. You can also convert back to Kindle format (sans DRM), MS Word, .txt etc.
  3. The undocumented: Use an older version of Kindle
    • I think it is also possible to install an older version of the Kindle app that doesn’t give you the “publisher’s copy limit” problem, but although I have used this approach in the past, I didn’t record the version details, so can’t provide guidance here. It may also not be possible on newer versions of MacOS.


As a follow up, if you have followed step 2 above to install Calibre, here are the steps to remove the DRM from a book

  1. Log in to Amazon, and go to Accounts & Lists -> Content & Devices-> Books
  2. Select the book you want to remove DRM from, click on “more actions” and “download and transfer via USB”.
  3. Select your Kindle device, and click Download
    • (On a side note, I don’t know why you need to select a Kindle device here, and I don’t think it is important which one you select. All you are doing is downloading the book locally, independent of a Kindle device.)
  4. This should result in a .azw3 (or similar) file being downloaded to your local machine
  5.  Now go to the Calibre app, click Add Books, and select the .azw3 file you just downloaded.
  6. Go to “Convert Book” and convert it into whatever you want (PDF, mobi, etc).

Congratulations, you should now have removed Amazon’s DRM.

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One Response to “Amazon Kindle publisher’s copy limit”

  1. Daniel |

    Does this create a duplicate so that it is still on my Kindle in the original format, or does it remove the copy from my Kindle by changing the format?

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