Divorcing B&N – Reclaiming my Nook Classic

I was an early adopter of the nook. That’s what they used to call it. nook with no capitals. Now it’s known as Nook Classic. But about a year ago, I gave up on it and got a Kindle Touch.

I actually think the nook is a better e-reading device. The page for the Kindle is blueish, whereas the nook is a nice off-white. The Kindle complete refreshes the page ever 3 or so page turns, resulting in visual noise, and the nook refreshes it every time (although this can be adjusted to do so on the Kindle).

Clearly, the nook is still a worthy device.

But using it often feels dated. There has not been an update since 1.7 and my nook was no longer getting an updated issue of The Daily. I felt cheated. After all, I was an early adopter of the nook and they abandoned me. Felt that my investment wasn’t worth their effort in keeping it up-to-date.

So I decided to declare a divorce between my nook and Barnes and Noble, and then refurbish it for use by my daughter. Here’s how I did it.

Step 1: Root your Nook

If you have a Nook Classic, you are never going to get another B&N update again. So you may as well get the extra features that the folks at NookDevs provide. And they even keep their stuff updated. Imagine that.

To root your Nook Classic, go to nookdevs.com and find the section on softrooting your nook. Before you even get started, read through the instructions thoroughly and gather everything you’ll need (which includes a microSD card). Then follow the instructions for your serial number (found in the nook settings) step by step.

What you get once you root is a handful of extra features, most importantly an easier-to-use version of My Library, and the ability to hide features. Since I was intending to give the nook to my daughter, I wanted these extra features so I could turn off the WiFi and then hide it, and then hide the settings and a bunch of other stuff. More on that in a few.

Step 2. Divorce Barnes & Noble

Before you do this, you’ll want to do a few other things. First, make sure all the books that you purchased from Barnes and Noble are backed up onto your computer and installed on your Nook. Of if, like me, you intend to give your nook away, delete the books from the nook. Look in all the nook folders and make sure they have the books you want there.

Then, I unregistered my Nook. This involved resetting my B&N password and other unfun tasks, but I got it done. Last step was selecting the option to deregister from my nook Settings panel.

Once the divorce was final, I went to Project Gutenberg and installed a bunch of free ebooks from there, especially public domain young adult book series that I had never heard of, such as Grace Harlowe. I spent hours doing this.

Step 3: Set Up Adobe Digital Editions

Much as I hate DRM, it is a reality of life until all publishers finally abandon it for good. Yay to Harlequin and Tor for paving the way!

Once you divorce B&N, you’ll still be able to get to your B&N books, but you’ll need some way to unlock all those other ebooks you’ll be buying from great online bookstores like Diesel Ebooks and All Romance/Omni Lit. Many of these will have DRM.

(You could also download software to hack your DRM’d ebooks, but I don’t know anything like that because I don’t trust any hack software not to install viruses on my computer. Yes, I admit I looked into this. I have DRM’d copies of The Millennium Trilogy that I no longer have an ereading device to read it on because I have given my nook to my daughter. Since I really don’t feel compelled to read the second two books, I can live without them.)

So to get set up, first download Adobe Digital Editions. When you set it up, you’ll have to join the dark side activate the software using an email address. Then you’ll have to authorize your computer. Finally, plug in your nook and authorize it. Afterward, you will be able to transfer your books to your nook.

I just tested this, and ADE didn’t seem to care that I was authorizing a rooted nook. Mega-cool!

Optional Step 1: Turn Off Wifi

Once you are divorced from B&N, you no longer need WiFi except for the occasional update from the tireless folks at NookDevs. It’s just draining your battery, and the browser isn’t worth using. Turn it off.

Once I turned it off, I used the NookDevs supercharged menu to hide the WiFi on/off settings. I also hid the Settings panel while I was at it. In fact, the only apps that now show up on the color screen are My Library (the nookdevs version), Reading Now, Chess, Sudoko and View Notes. I really only wanted My Library and Reading Now, but had to have five on the screen so I selected applications that were harmless and that didn’t need the web. My daughter can get destructive when she can finds a Setting menu!

Optional Step 2: Install Calibre

Calibre is an ebook library program that can perform flawless (as far as I can tell) conversions from ebub to mobi and back again. This is useful for getting DRM-free Kindle books at a bargain, converting them to epub, and zapping them over to your nook.

The Drawbacks (Few!)

This method requires that I remain divorced from B&N, so when I buy more ebooks I have to buy from somewhere else. I can even buy them from Amazon and convert the mobi files to epub, as long as they have no DRM. My options aren’t limited. There are a lot of ebookstores out there, and your converted nook is now fully versatile.

The only one who loses out is Barnes & Noble, who lost a customer through their abandonment of the customers who were dedicated enough to take a chance on the ebook reader. Too bad for them.

Question: which ebook reader do you use? Or do you eschew them altogether?

10 Thoughts to “Divorcing B&N – Reclaiming my Nook Classic”

  1. I started with the Nook Classic myself, but bailed on it once the SimpleTouch came out–specifically because I knew they weren’t going to update the software on the first device anymore. Which, yeah, pissed me off too.

    I still have my SimpleTouch and I still regularly use it, though I have grown quite disenchanted with B&N’s bad customer service, and their bad Mac support in particular. Which is a shame, because I really quite like the device.

    Now, I’ve also got a Kobo Mini, bought specifically because of the recent developments in indie bookstores partnering with Kobo to sell ebooks and devices to read them on. It gives me a chance to support my neighborhood indie bookstore with my ebook purchases–and I buy a LOT of ebooks. And there are aspects of the Mini I like quite a bit. It’s even smaller than the Nook, kind of adorable in how tiny it is, really. That’s important since I like to try to minimize how much stuff I’m carrying around with me if I can.

    However, I’ve also noticed that the Mini bogs down if I put too many books on it at once. Response time when I open an individual book slows considerably. So I’m limiting that device to what books I’ve purchased from the Kobo site, and everything else, I’m putting on the more responsive Nook.

    I’ll also read on my iPad OR on my iPhone if I don’t have either of the aforementioned devices with me, and I do appreciate that I can keep my last read locations in sync across all of the devices. Though I do generally prefer reading on e-ink.

    1. Tia Nevitt

      The Nook is wonderfully responsive. I have never had a problem with it bogging down like that. Since I got my Kindle Touch I have not looked at any other ereading device. It really has superior book browsing software.

      I don’t carry around any ereading device with me since I can’t stand to carry around large purses. So if I’m dying to read, I break out the Kindle app on my iPhone.

      1. Yeah, I’ve never seen either of the Nooks I’ve owned bog down like the Mini does. And truth be told the Nook’s got a better quality screen on it in general. The Mini’s already developed a flaw on the screen, which gives me a Sad.

        Also, while I do really like the Mini’s tiny size, had I realized that it can’t actually take an SD card, I would have sprung for the Kobo Glo instead.

  2. JenM

    I know people consider Amazon to be the evil empire these days, but I was a kindle early adopter and I’ve never seen any reason to change. My K1 only bit the dust because I dropped it face down on concrete, my K2 is still going strong (I use it on the elliptical machine) and I love my K Paperwhite with the built in lights. I can get any book I want, usually at the cheapest price available, and Amazon’s customer service is really fantastic. I’m not wild about their website, but it’s far better than any of the other online bookstores I’ve seen. I just hope that Amazon doesn’t decide that we don’t need dedicated ereaders anymore. I read on my i-devices occasionally, but I really prefer my Kindle – so much less eye strain, lighter weight, and perfect for outdoors.

    1. Tia Nevitt

      My only real problem with Amazon is they seem to be resting on their laurels. I am a Prime member with a Kindle Touch, so I’d like to see them revamp their website and stop trying to sell me dresses (see earlier rant). The last cutting edge thing they did was the Kindle, so I’d like to see them return to their bookstore roots a bit and do something really innovative with their hard-to-browse website. It suffers from oldware syndrome–which is my term for old software that has been upgraded too many times.

      I can’t see Amazon ditching their ereaders any time soon; I am sure they make fantastic amounts of money with it.

  3. Deborah Blake

    I still haven’t gotten an ereader. I do have a tablet that I can theoretically use as an ereader, and have downloaded a few books onto it..but when I want to read, I still pick up an actual book 🙂

    1. Tia Nevitt

      There are lots of advantages to having an ebook reader. The classics are essentially free through Project Gutenberg. Many books are available only as ebooks, or as ebooks first. And ebook readers have gotten very inexpensive, as are most ebooks.

      But I definitely understand the appeal of just reading a book!

  4. I have a nook which I bought because my library only supported that ebook format. They now support kindle. Most of my indie writer friends release their books in kindle only so if I want to read their books, I have to download them to my smartphone. Thanks for sharing this article, Tia. I will try this as I want to download kindle books.

    1. Tia Nevitt

      You don’t have to root your nook or disconnect it from B&N to do that. Just buy the Kindle ebook, download the mobi file to your computer, and use Calibre to convert it to epub.

      However, this only works if your indie writer friends did not encumber their books with DRM. And Calibre does have a bit of a learning curve.

      1. Laura

        Thanks! I’ll try that.

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