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How to get your eTextbooks for free this semester

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  • How to get your eTextbooks for free this semester

    I just saved $400 on my textbooks by downloading free 7 day rentals from and extracting the PDF from the DRM copy protection. (On a related note, I used the money my parents gave me for the books they thought I bought on a 3TB wireless NAS HDD and upgraded my laptop to a 256GB SSD, then swapped my bluray drive with the 512GB hard disk I originally had. Don't miss the bluray drive cuz I have a PS3 and the NAS is massive enough to store all my HD encodes and can stream to my laptop and PS3, even remotely. Win.)
    Not to be discouraged when BitSpyder and MyAnonamouse didn't have the textbooks I needed for any of the courses I'm taking this fall, I did some research and found an alternative way to still be a cheapstake. The process is really not as daunting as it appears- takes maybe 5-10 minutes. And instead of splurging on nonsense with the money you save like I did, you could buy a nice tablet or eReader to get the most out of your books.

    TL;DR Instructions

    • Check if a 7 day trial is available for your books from
    • If so, sign up for a B&N account and download Nook Study (free software)
    • Download your 7 day trial(s) and open them
    • Download and install Python and the Pycrypto binaries (in that order)
    • Download and extract the Python Nook Modules (zip contains and ineptpdf2.pyw)
    • Copy your Nook eBooks to the same directory as the above modules
    • Run, then run ineptpdf2.pyw
    • Select to the eBook you want and type a filename for the output PDF file
    • Enjoy your free eBook :)

    Detailed Instructions

    1. Check if Barnes & Noble offers a free 7 day trial for your books

    Go to and search for the textbooks you need. If you are lucky enough, there will be a totally free 7 day trial in the form of a Nook Study eTextbook. (From this point on, I will refer to the books you are downloading as eTextbooks, since that's what Barnes & Noble calls them.) You are looking for something to the effect of this:

    If you are only semi-lucky there won't be a 7 day trial, but still offer an eTextbook, in which case you can still follow these instructions to get a DRM-free PDF by paying to rent the eTextbook for 180 days. Discounted, but not free. (The above screenshot is a bad example- only saves like a buck.)

    If you are not lucky there won't even be an eTextbook version. Sorry. (Maybe someone will comment in this thread with some enlightenment.)

    Originally posted by BenChin View Post

    2. Sign up for a free Barnes & Noble account and download Nook Study (also free)
    Nook Study is a free software (that leaves something to be desired) offered by Barnes & Noble that organizes your Nook eTextbook library. The eTextbook downloads are DRM copy protected, as such Nook Study is the only intended way for you to read these downloads. (Does anybody know if you can also read these on a Nook eReader/tablet?)

    The Barnes & Noble sign up is pretty straight forward. I had issues signing up from within the Nook Study software, so I suggest signing up on the website first, then download and install the software.

    3. Download and open your eTextbook free trials
    On the Barnes & Noble website, click "Get it now" (see screenshot in step 1). Launch the Nook Study software and check that your books appear in your Nook Study library. If not, give it a minute and log out and log back in.

    Click on one of your books to open it. Nook Study will require you to connect with your Adobe account for some annoying reason. If you don't have one, it will create one for you.

    4. Download and install Python and the Pycrypto Binaries

    If you don't know what Python is, it is a programming language and that's really all you need to know. You need the 32-bit (x86) version of Python 2.7. Even if you are running x64, download the 32-bit version. And you need Python 2.7 because that is the version Pycrypto was written for (which is the same reason why you need the x86 version).

    Click here to download Python 2.7 32-bit (x86)

    Scroll down and click "Windows x86 MSI Installer (2.7) (sig)" as shown above. Once downloaded, run python-2.7.msi to install Python. (MSI files are executable.)

    Now click here to download the Pycrypto 2.1 32-bit binaries.

    When the download is complete, run pycrypto-2.1.0.win32-py2.7.exe. (Must be run AFTER installing Python)

    5. Download and extract the Python Nook Modules
    Click here to download the Python Nook Modules.

    The zip contains two files: and ineptpdf2.pyw. Extract them wherever you want. I extracted mine inside the Nook Study install directory, in a new folder I called "books" (because you will be placing your eTextbook downloads here as well.)

    To clarify, my Python Nook Modules are located in C:\Program Files (x86)\Barnes & Noble\NOOKstudy\Books\

    6. Copy your eTextbooks to the directory described above
    After opening your eTextbooks in the Nook Study software (as per step 3), they should be downloaded to C:\Users\Your Name\Documents\My Barnes & Noble eBooks\

    They are in PDF format, but are DRM copy protected. Just copy and paste them into the same directory that you extracted the Python Nook Modules in the previous step so we can fix that little nuissance.

    7. Run the Python Nook Modules to extract a DRM-free PDF

    Run It will create a key that will be written to a new file in the same directory, adeptkey.der. (Note: as long as you keep this key, you don't need run every time you want to extract a DRM-free PDF. Follow the next step and it will use the same key. If your key is deleted, you will need to run again next time to retrieve your key again.)

    Now run ineptpdf2.pyw. You will get a popup window asking what file you want to extract from, and what the output file should be named.

    That's all there is too it! You now have a completely DRM-free PDF file that can be opened in any PDF reader. Adobe Reader used to be a popular option, but nowadays Google Chrome and other web browsers have native PDF support. You can also copy the PDF to your iPad, Kindle, Nook or other eReader or tablet. And since we are a sharing community, why not upload it to your favorite eBook tracker!

    Again, it may look like a daunting process but when you actually do it you will realize how smooth a process it actually is. Feel free to post any questions or problems you encounter. I will try to help the best I can.

    I use Adobe Digital Editions to organize my textbook library. What about you?

    Last edited by your_arsonist; October 4, 2012, 06:12 PM.

  • #2
    Danmit, i just aw it today, if i had seen it the two weeks ago when you posted it i coulod have saved myself about €120, i shall still do this but having hte books in paper is not a bad thing im finding.
    Thank you yet again for this fantastically detailed tutorial
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    • #3
      Thanks. I will give it a go for next years uni books :D


      • #4
        I like the way you think!

        To see all books with free samples :
        Free Trial eTextbooks - Textbooks Search - Barnes*&*


        • #5
          Lol saved 595 $.Hah.:)



          • #6
            Originally posted by BenChin View Post
            I like the way you think!

            To see all books with free samples :
            Free Trial eTextbooks - Textbooks Search - Barnes*&*
            Thanks [MENTION=184490]BenChin[/MENTION], I was trying to find something like this!


            • #7
              Nice post, thanks....


              • #8
                This will come in handy for my upcoming semester's books. Hopefully they have free trials for most of the books I'll be needing. Thanks for the detailed instructions.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by paleozoicera View Post
                  This will come in handy for my upcoming semester's books. Hopefully they have free trials for most of the books I'll be needing. Thanks for the detailed instructions.
                  All four books I needed for my classes (computer science major) had a free trial available but I was only able to get three out of the six my roommate needed (business/econ). I would suggest checking as soon as you find out what books you need and if they don't have it, keep checking periodically as the list changes (not sure how frequently though). Also I'd recommend following this tutorial sometime between now and then to make sure you can get it to work and avoid last minute problems.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for this awesome tutorial,but i didn't find the book i was after for a seven day trial


                    • #11
                      Wow! I will definitely try this next semester! I would regularly check torrents for the content but had forgotten about legal middleman suppliers.


                      • #12
                        Thanks in advance, I will check it now, hope it works


                        • #13
                          I will try this for my next semester books :P


                          • #14
                            Ugh. The B&N site had a total of to radiography textbooks.I would have even tried it on one of those two if either looked remotely useful to me (even if they were just digital copies of textbooks I already have, could go and sell mine :P). Story of my life. Just another day I regret not being a computer science major. Anyone have any suggestions for sites that might specialize in in Health Science ebooks? and have free trials? you would be my hero.

                            Great tutorial, by the way...... have it bookmarked and will prob just try it out on some random book after I get through finals :P


                            • #15
                              Thank you very much your_arsonist, wonderful easy to follow tutorial.

                              For all those that haven't tried this out yet and want to know whether it works, I just tried it out with an organic chemistry book and it worked wonderfully. Definitely going to help me out in university and that is something that I greatly appreciate and I am thankful to your_arsonist for sharing.

                              Textbooks have always cost too much, and are a pain to carry around.

                              I have one question though, is there any specific reason you download PyCrypto version 2.1 when version 2.3 was right there? I followed the tutorial and got 2.1 but wondered why, would it work with version 2.3 or even 2.6 now?

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