Then I started using it. And was terribly annoyed.
- I couldn't use the downloads on my Zune device because of Silly DRM issues
- Living in Israel, some audio books (like colbert's book, or Hodgman's book) are blocked for me to purchase.
- I can't back up or convert my files or play them freely because of the DRM protection, even though they are mine and I have purchased them fairly.
I looked for a long time for a way to get the files DRM free. There was one way but it required to have an old version of the audible software installed. They have fixed that "bug" and not the only way is for people to burn 9 hour books on 11 CDs and then rip them to mp3. and that is a big pain.
So, Audible, this is for making me feel a second class net citizen, as well as many others.
I finally found a way to get my fully paid for audio files without DRM and without needing the bloody audible download manager (which is actually the thing that puts the DRM on the files!). I created a little program that helps you download the files directly to your computer without the audible software.
To make sure you understand - you can only download your own purchased books using this tool just like the standard way. the only difference is that they will not be with DRM so you can back them up and move them around and convert them as much as you want.
If you're interested in how my workaround works (you're a geek) it is in the bottom of this post.
How to download your paid-for DRM free audible books
- Download my little program: Audibler.zip and unzip it. (5k). You need .NET Framework 2.0 or above
- Login to the audible website normally and go to "my library"
- Go the line where the book you want to download is, and right click on the button that says "Download it". The copy the link url in the button to the clipboard.
- Run the audibler.exe file that you unzipped earlier.
How to convert the downloaded .aa files to mp3
you can use your own favorite conversion software from .aa to .mp3. below is how I am doing it.
- Install DbPowerAmp power pack and the directshow plugin (http://www.dbpoweramp.com/) (It seems to work really fast)
- Download and run the Audible Media Player Filter and install it, if you are running the latest version (5.0) of audible manager.
- if you are running version 4.0 this is not needed.
- after downloading the file you wanted, right click on the file in windows explorer and choose "covert to" and convert to mp3.
- if you don't see any "convert to" menu,
- You may need to go to "c:\Documents and Settings\[YOUR_USER_NAME]\Application Data\dBpoweramp\directshow.txt and add '.aa' without the quotes as a new line in the middle of the file somewhere.
- then go the the start menu and run dbPowerAmp configuration and click OK on the dialog. then try again.
How this works:
To find out what happens behind the scenes I used the free Fiddler2 tool from Microsoft that can trace http communications. When I ran it along side the audible download manager I could see the request to download the special file URL. From there it was a simple matter of looking at the web page, seeing how the links are built, and changing parts of the URL to fit what the Download manager was requesting.
It uses a simple regular expression to find out the parts of the URL (let's see how fast they change it..) and then replace them with what the software needs. You can also just open Reflector and look at audibler.exe to see exactly how simple it is.