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?