Should we be able to print books from the Kindle for our personal use?

k1 Can you print an e-book from Kindle when it's connected to your desktop machine with USB? In general, no, you can't---but you can do so by copying text in "My Clippings." Here's how:

  • First, you need to highlight the text you want to copy while reading a book on the Kindle. You'll see a box around the highlighted text. This will copy the text to a file on the Kindle in My Clippings.
  • Now connect your Kindle to your computer through the USB, and copy the My Clippings file to your computer.
  • Open the file and print it.

Of course, this way you can't print the whole book. You have to do it page by page. And for sure, this isn't convenient. So what can you do? You can't do anything unless there is some hack by someone. Now the question is, Do you really want to print an e-book that you read on Kindle? Should we have the privilege to do so?

When we didn’t have any dedicated e-book devices, we could print an e-book in PDF or in other formats, if not the whole book. Now, with dedicated devices, we have been restricted to do a lot of things. With Sony reader, you can, at least, read your purchased e-book on desktop; and with Kindle you lose that. Why should we give up so much freedom? Shouldn’t we raise our voice?

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28 Comments on Should we be able to print books from the Kindle for our personal use?

  1. I don’t think I’d ever print a whole book, but what I would really like is to be able to ‘lend’ the book by giving up the license to someone. With print books, I lend them all the time. (Right now, if there’s a book I think I’ll want to lend someone, I buy it in hard copy.)

  2. What if you’re camping and you fear running out of, or losing, batteries and you know you wont be near electricity? What if the book is essential for research, and you need to be sure you have a hard copy? What if you’re a writer and you want to do some serious annotation in the margins? What if the e-book is a textbook and as crunch time comes, you know you want to yellow-highlight? What do you do if you go up to your lake cottage and like to read on the dock under the full sun, and don’t want to risk dropping it in the drink? What if you’re the type that falls asleep reading in the tub?

    Anyone heard anything about the iRiver e-reader?

  3. I am an author and researcher with the opinion that the Kindle is a wonderful device technologically, but severely compromised by the policies surrounding it. The print limitation is a serious setback which limits the Kindle’s usefulness and appeal.

    In the past, I have stripped the spines of books I own and run them through an OCR setup, giving me a searchable file, printable as I see fit. There is no copyright infringement in this at all. However, it appears that amazon has a dim opinion of its customers, believing they cannot be trusted to voluntarily obey the laws pertaining to copyright. While this is fine in New America, home of the lame, it is insulting to those who made America great through industrious activities and literary endeavors.

    So, there.

    Jack Trimpey

  4. I recently purchased a book for my Kindle that contains short (one or two-page) templates for personal legal documents such as living wills and health care proxies. The author of the book fully intends readers to copy and use the templates as they see fit. This is a great illustration of why being able to copy and print from Kindle (or other e-readers) with relative ease is important and worthwhile. I am a big fan of not killing trees, but sometimes our society requires things like legal documents to be in a fixed, physical format.

  5. Many of the reasons given above for needing a paper backup of an electronic file just sound like excuses to me, most of them ably solved by a spare set of batteries or a waterproof case.

    Nevertheless, if you legitimately need printed copies of a book or document, you should take that into account when purchasing the document. Lamenting that you can’t print a Kindle page is like buying a plane and lamenting that you can’t drive it down the highway… or paying for cable and complaining because you can’t run a line from your house to your buddy’s house. That’s simply not the way the system is designed, and if the system doesn’t work for you, you shouldn’t buy into it.

    There are e-book formats and systems (like PDF) that make printing a bit easier than the Kindle system… you should use those exclusively, and stop trying to fit square Kindles into round printing holes.

  6. I would love it if the Kindle could print. I’m a Realtor and all my documents are in PDF. I would love to use the Kindle DX as a document management system and have all my files with me at the same time (backed up elsewhere of course). When I need to print a contract, it would be great if I could just connect the Kindle to a USB printer. I would even by a portable printer.

    I’m sure Amazon can restrict the printing of copyrighted material and let us print our own PDFs.

  7. It would be nice if they at least made it so you can print from the Kindle for PC application. In the UK we can legitimately print one chapter, or 5%, of a book/journal, for research/educational purposes. It’s a little frustrating being able to carry all my books with me, but not share so much as a page with my students.

    I guess a video output, so that I could display stuff on my whiteboard, would be nearly as good. That way they could be sure I’m not just giving the whole book away.

  8. If your Kindle/Mobipocket book is NOT protected by DRM, you may use Calibre to open it and print it. Calibre also converts ebooks to many other formats (PDF, RTF, TXT, MOBI, etc.)

    http://calibre-ebook.com/

    For the realtor, how about carrying a tiny netbook computer, with your tiny printer, and putting your PDFs on the netbook to print?

    For backing up ebooks, I put all of mine on Dropbox, a fantastic site that automatically backs up and syncs files on your computer onto its secure website.

    https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTMyMDcwMDU5

  9. I think it would be a good idea to be able to print e-books. It’s not copyright infringement if you produce an e-text from a paper one; why would it be copyright infringement to go the other way?

    And I’ll feel perfectly free to lament this limitation of my Kindle; what on earth makes anyone think that liking something enough to buy it means you’re not allowed to want anything changed?

  10. At least to print a few pages from my recipe e-book, I would not have to bring my Kindle into the kitchen and press ‘Next Page’ with tomato sauced fingers.

  11. I think I’ll wait for the iPad or iTablet (whatever Apple calls it). I’m sure it will be around the same price (maybe $100 more), but it will have a lot more features and I’m sure printing will be standard.

  12. The reason it is illeagal/disallowed is that the government does not allow anyone with permission to break a digital encryption/signature; obviously to protect the owner’s rights. So it’s illegal to convert protected media without permission. Now, why does Amazon protect their product. Simple, to make money. I’m simply amazed that those living in a capitaliztic society, like America, are constantly questioning why people try to make the most money that they can from a product or idea; it is theirs after all and you don’t have to buy it. THAT’S THE POINT. By preventing prinitng, copying, or loaning everyone has to buy a copy. They make more money and have a long term revenue stream from repurchases. Yes it sucks. Yes it’s legal. Live with it or move. They won’t allow printing, since then it only takes one person, and I’m sure that their are thousadns to millions with a broken moral compass, that would vioalte the rules and start handing out copies like candy; or better yet charging for the printed copies and making a business of it again hurting sales. Oh well.

    Good luck in the fight for producing a copy of copyrighted protected electronic media. You’re going to have a long wait until someone cracks the encryption on the books. Then you will be able to print to your hearts content. Just keep looking over you shoulder, because it will still be illegal. Cheers all.

  13. Hi It seems it is pointless having quilt books on kindle as you need to print stuff out to make the pstterns. Some have over 40 pasges of templates

  14. I am into exercise and diet books and can’t print any of it it sucks. Kindle is good for those who like to read novels. Anything else your done. Great so now I have to rebuy the book in order to place it on the chair to do the exerices in the morning. Can’t even highlight important stuff cause I can’t print it out. Once the Kindle is dead believe me it will remain dead cause I wont buy another one.

  15. what would be the point? – if you want it printed, buy the print version

  16. The Kindle prices are much better, and naturally take up less space. If I want just a few pages of a book (like a really useful chart, a pattern, a diagram, etc.) in print, it’d be great to be able to print it.

  17. I think most of you are missing the point. It’s not about the usefulness or reliability. It’s about being able to rightfully use what you own, how you see fit.

    If you went to a local bookstore and purchase a print version; you would be the rightful owner of said book. You could write in the book, give it away, loan it, scan the pages and print, wipe your rear with it, etc.

    End users are paying for a product thinking they own it, but in reality, they’re only buying into a license agreement with Amazon…to which they are mislead into thinking it’s “theirs” Although we should read the EULA before continuing, I’m disgusted that Amazon can treat their customers with such a conniving tactic. Especially people that made Amazon what it is today…

  18. If the case in point being to protect the rights of the authors then Amazon should not release books with templates or recipes for Kindle as the authors fully encoruage people to reproduce their works with instructions and diagrams to accomplish this. Amazon by restricting the purchasers ability to do this is in direct conflict with the authors wishes for their readers to do so.

    Anyway just use the print screen or CTRL + V and then paste this into publisher and cut down to the part you want, resize and print away. :)

  19. Amazon should allow printing especially for books that are designed for printing. The best solution would be for Amazon to come up with a mark that publishers could use to designate pages for printing and allow printing of notes and highlights as long as it does nto constitute more than 5% of the protected book. I have a book that has a page at the end that the author clearly states for the reader to pull out (it is supposed to be perforated in the print version) and place the information on the refrigerator or some other spot. There has to be a simple solution that would make everyone happy…I know you can do it Amazon!

  20. I’m in college, and I bought a large tome of a workbook on kindle thinking I could print out pages that needed answers filled in. Now I’m finding that even though I bought it, I can’t print anything from it, even though it is a ‘workbook’ that has anatomy and physiology charts in it that are meant to be filled out. Why would they sell a workbook, but not allow the function of printing out pages. If we owned the book, we’d have to make copies anyway.

  21. The Kindle is great for books that you read beginning to end. However, if you buy a technical or text book and need to flip back and forth, it’s really clumsy. Bookmarking is only half a solution. Some charts are so reduced that they’re hard to make out.

    I would buy the hard copy book in these cases, except that I now live overseas, where the books are not available. Amazon costs a fortune to ship (plus duty). The ability to print the ebook would solve all these problems.

    My son says find the book on bit torrent or search for a crack of Amazon’s DRM. If I do that, how does that benefit Amazon or the author? Come on, Amazon… there must be a better way.

  22. Won’t buy Kindle until they fix the printer functionality. Sometimes I need to be able to print a page to share or use (if able). Hopefully they will fix this in the future because I would like to have one, however I can buy the book and scan the pages myself and have the capability to print a page when needed.

  23. Morality and legislation are not the same thing. It may be illegal to break digital rights to produce a paper copy of a kindle book – however, it is not immoral, nor is it stealing if the book has been purchased already and is not causing the producer to lose money or sales. There is no broken moral compass, there is merely a minor breakage of a rather stupid rule and rules like that one are made to be broken, That’s the whole problem for them – there is no moral problem for the average person in reading from screen versus reading from paper. Customer is always right and all that.

  24. I agree that printing at least one copy should be allowed but one thing to keep in mind is that Amazon has to deal with the publishers. Its been reported in the news that Amazon would oftem like to stabilize or lower prices but the publishers wont budge.

    I havent come across any news re: printing ability, but I imagine that it most likely the publishers who wont allow it.

  25. The way I see it, if I purchase an e-book from Amazon and the author of the book states that I may reproduce copies for educational purposes (Teacher Resource Book), then I should be able to print them. This book is pretty well useless to me now. I will not be purchasing anymore e-books!!

  26. There are legitimate reasons for needing the ability to print from a kindle, if this is supposed to be so great then you should be able to print straight from the document. You can get college books on kindle and you need to be able to print for research and reports/projects. There is always the possibility for copyright infringement but that’s a risk that every author takes when publishing a given work. As with most laws of this nature it doesn’t affect the criminal it only prevents a law abiding citizen from doing something that is legal. You can’t stop a crook!

  27. I find it interesting to read the perfectly acceptable and legal reasons for printing ebooks from kindle punctuated by the naive comments from those that apparently only read a book sequentially, ie not as a workbook and not as a scientific education text. I think it is understandably short-sighted.

    However, I guess that the main reason for the lack of printing is, like colour, it is simply a development delay on a growing product that is not yet complete enough for all uses. Like the development of a colour screen, printing will come but there is no easy, one-size-fits-all printing solution. Give Amazon developers time and they will solve the difficult problems and satisfy these additional needs of customers.

    For me I must vote with my feet. Kindle has some excellent points – not least of all battery life due to eInk – but in the end I must buy something that delivers fully today. Some day when development is complete on the product for my needs, I will be able to turn to it again. Good luck with development Amazon – so far so good but there is a way to go.

  28. I have an idea: make both the ebook version and the paperback version available to give us a choice. I have an ebook that was ebook only that I have been unable to read. I just don’t have time to sit in front of my computer to read it and the electronic readers are really not my bag. Besides, in my opinion, nothing beats having a real book in my hand. I think if we purchased an ebook, we should be able to print it. We paid for it, so why not. I know there are bad people out there who want to do bad things, but why should the good people of the world suffer because of them or because the ebook nazis won’t allow us to print.

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