Hidden clipping limits in the Kindle

Picture 1.pngThe Kindle allows readers to save a Kindle page to a clipping file. However there is a hidden “gotcha” with this, as Shelly from Bb RealTech discovered:

… when I went to save a page with a passage of interest to my clipping file, I received an error:

Unable to save clipping. You have
reached the clipping limit for this item.

Clipping limit? This was the first I’d heard of clipping limits.
I deleted the clipping file, but it made no difference. Per suggestions on an Amazon thread, I also deleted a metadata file associated with the book, but again, had no luck.

I tried to find information about the clipping limit in the Kindle TOS or User Guide, but nothing was covered. I also tried to find out if one can “delete” items from the existing clipping file, in order to replace with other clippings at a later time, but once the limit is reached, nothing associated with the book can be added to the clipping file—evidently including new notes that you add, yourself.

Not all books have a clipping limit, and the limit is not the same for all books. However, there is no way to find out if a book has a clipping limit, or how big it is, unless using software to ‘crack’ the DRM (Digital Rights Management) for the book.

Read the rest at Shelly’s site.

6 Comments on Hidden clipping limits in the Kindle

  1. Alan Wallcraft // May 20, 2009 at 8:51 am //

    A big problem is that a highlight is also a clipping, so this is a highlight limit too. The limit is set by the publisher, and it could be zero (it is zero for samples) although values like 10 or 30 are more usual in DRMed ebooks. DRM-free AZWs, presumably via Amazon DTP, seem to allow 100 clippings.

    It is possible to see this limit without removing DRM. Use mobi2mobi from MobiPerl on AZWs and look at EXTH record type 401. It is also possible to change the limit without removing the ebook’s encryption.

  2. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get mobi2mobi to work on my Mac. The tar files seem to be missing contents.

  3. Alan Wallcraft // May 20, 2009 at 9:09 am //

    Shelly: Try MobileRead’s wiki page Install Mobi2Mobi Mac http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Install_Mobi2Mobi_Mac

  4. This is also why many of us kindlers are resistent to higher book prices. These books are not ours, publishers and their drm schemes ensure it. Alas, no sort of sense seems to win over some of the most misguided “individual value” people.

  5. Alan, thanks for pointing out the wiki site. I managed to get mobi2mobi working.

    Alex, I think this is more likely to make an opportunity for independent book sellers, who sell the digital books without clipping limits.

  6. I tried mobi2mobi, on several books, and what I’m finding is that the clipping amount is most likely a percentage, not the number of instances.

    This matches with our expectations for non-DRM books. Mobi2mobi returns a hex value of 0x64 for all the ones I tested, which is equivalent to 100, or 100% if I’m reading the value correctly.

    I also discovered that Amazon has been attaching a 10% clipping rate on out-of-copyright books, which can be downloaded for free.

    So one can assume that the clipping rate is a default ten percent, but its 100% for non-DRM books. This is pure guesswork, since this value isn’t documented.

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