Converting .LIT files for fun and profit

Ah, the delights of Microsoft. First they invented a proprietary packaging system, called Microsoft Cabinets, or .CAB format. Then someone wrote an unpacking tool for that packaging system. Anyone can now unpack those files.

Later, they came up with a new, proprietary online-help packaging system based on the same compression code, called Microsoft HTML Help, or .CHM format. Then someone wrote an unpacking tool. Now you can comfortably unpack and read this proprietary format.

Now, Microsoft have innovated a book encryption system based mostly on their online-help packaging system with the addition of DES encryption, called Microsoft eBook Reader, or .LIT format. Guess what happened.

I am proud to host the Open Convert-.LIT tool version 1.8. The program is named with an amusing acronym which will put me on the automatic ban-lists of many internet filtering tools, so I won't repeat it here. This is not software I have written, other than the LZX decompressor, but that was GPLed and this is GPLed so it's all OK.


Download open_c-lit-1.8.tar.gz. This is source code for UNIX or Windows.

If you are looking for a pre-compiled Windows executable, there is one available on, the main site for this software.


First, you need libtommath (available from If you don't have wget (as referenced below), simply download the listed file with your browser and save it in the directory where Open Convert-.LIT is unpacked.

To compile and install the program goes something like this:

$ gzip -cd < open_c-lit-1.8.tar.gz | tar xf -
$ wget
$ bzip2 -cd < ltm-0.30.tar.bz2 | tar xf -
$ cd libtommath-0.30
$ make
$ cd ../lib
$ make
$ cd ../cl?t18
$ make
# install cl?t /usr/local/bin

The final command is executed as root. On some systems, you don't get a root user, so type "sudo" before the command to get the same effect.


Usage examples are given when you run the program. This program will extract "DRM1" format .LIT files into their original XML/HTML. If you have the appropriate "keys.txt" file with your private EBook keys, you can also convert "DRM5" files to "DRM1". As I don't have a system with Microsoft Windows nor Microsoft EBook Reader, I don't know where the keys.txt file is found. I guess you have to look for it on your system.


If you have trouble compiling, installing or running this software, contact the author. Also contact the author if you have any licensing inquiries.

My recommendation is as follows: do not buy any Microsoft format eBooks. Allow the format to die. Instead, demand Open eBooks, unencrypted PDF files and plain ASCII text. Demand not to be treated as if you were a criminal. Demand to have ridiculous laws like the DMCA repealed. Join the EFF. Don't just sit there and take it.

I do not condone using this software to infringe copyrights. To re-publish someone else's copyrighted eBook, whether converted with this software or not, requires the copyright holder's explicit written permission. You have other rights - for example, in the UK, see the Copyright Act, Section III: Acts Permitted in Relation to Copyright Works. Microsoft eBook Reader may prevent you from exercising some of these rights. I do condone using Open Convert-.LIT to exercise your legal rights.

The Right To Read is a parable set in a dystopian future where every book read must be strictly accounted and paid for.