Nook Feature Review – Library, Sony eBook support

This is a much-needed Nook feature review.

While B&N have been overselling limited Nook features like LendMe they have strangely not mentioned that the Nook supports both Library eBooks (via OverDrive) and ePub books from the Sony Reader Store.

At the moment, this means little and does not tilt my Kindle Vs Nook Review in favor of the Nook.

However, Nook’s support of both Library eBooks and Sony Reader Store eBooks is pushing us in the direction of the Kindle Vs the World.

Nook Feature Review - Support for Library eBooks

A lot of libraries use a system called OverDrive – it’s a yearly subscription and it uses Adobe Digital Editions to manage library ebook loans.

  1. You get eBooks on a 14 day loan and they expire automatically. No returns, no extensions, no fees.
  2. After that 14 day period you cannot check out the book again.
  3. This works on Sony Reader and they promote it as their Library Finder feature.
  4. This works on the Nook but B&N are strangely silent about it.
  5. Wonder how Publishers feel about this.

How you can get Library eBooks on to your Nook -

  1. Get membership at a Library that supports OverDrive.
  2. Log-in to the OverDrive system from the Library website and check-out the eBook you want. Range is pretty limited except in Seattle and New York libraries (which are less limited).
  3. Download the books in ePub or PDF format.
  4. Start up Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) on your PC.
  5. Plug-in your Nook and activate it in ADE.
  6. Transfer the files to your Nook via ADE – It will not work otherwise.
  7. The Library eBooks show up in your My Documents Folder in the Nook.

Thanks to this Nook forum thread at BN (top post) for directions.

How significant is Library eBooks Support?

At the moment – not much.

The perception you can read library ebooks is huge – However, most libraries have very few books and you have to wait for them just as you would for physical library books.

There are also often formatting issues with library eBooks – choose ePub over PDF whenever possible.

People who buy the Nook for this feature are going to be a bit disappointed. Do check your local libraries to see the range available.

Down the line – there’s a lot of potential.

Nook Feature Review - Support for Sony eBooks

Now that Sony has switched over completely to ePub and Adobe Digital Editions, you can access ebooks bought from the Sony Reader Store on your Nook.

  1. Make sure you have version 3.1 of the Sony Reader software.  
  2. Log-in (or create an account) and buy and download whatever title you want. 
  3. You will have to re-download your past purchases to get them in Adobe DRM ePub format.
  4. Install Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) on your PC.
  5. Plug-in your Nook and allow ADE to activate it.
  6. In ADE import the eBook files in the Sony Reader ‘My Books’ Folder. The Folder is at \Documents\My Books\eBook Library .
  7. Now drag these eBooks to your Nook.

This Nook forum thread (3rd post) had instructions.

How significant is Sony Reader Store support on the Nook?

It has zero significance at the individual level because Inkmesh research found -

  1. Of the top-selling 11,604 ebooks Sony Reader store had the absolute lowest price on zero eBooks.
  2. Sony Store matched the lowest price on only 441 titles.
  3. In comparison the Kindle Store matched the lowest price on 75% of titles.
  4. B&N was a distant second in terms of lowest price.

So Nook supporting Sony Reader Store ebooks doesn’t really help. It might be perceived as a small advantage – It isn’t.

The exception is if you migrate from a Sony Reader to the Nook – then you can migrate over your library.

The real significance of Nook supporting Sony Reader Store eBooks is that it shows the direction in which the Kindle’s competitors are going.

Kindle Vs Rest of the World (AKA Kindle Vs Adobe)

Publishers and competitors are beginning to realize that the Kindle has the lead and is running faster than anyone else.

That means a lot of interesting moves -

  1. Publishers pushing back eBook release dates. 
  2. Google supplying every Kindle competitor with 1 million free books. Internet Archive just made 1.8 million free titles available in Kindle format so that’s countered.
  3. B&N and Sony collaborating with Adobe and moving to a common format i.e. ePub.

The format wars and platform wars are merging into one simple contest – the Kindle Vs the rest of the World.

Will Amazon open up the Kindle?

Let’s not paint it in terms of good and evil – In any market the #1 company wants a closed system and the losers plead for the greater good and openness.

It’s more of a strategy question i.e. At what point will Amazon feel they must open up the Kindle to Adobe (DRMed ePub, PDF) or risk losing market share.

Not in the Next 6 months

Kindle has too much of a lead and Amazon has no reason to let another company dip into its eBook revenue stream.

It helps that Nook made a mess of its release and its software and Sony was sold out of the Daily Edition.

Library and Sony Store eBook support on the Nook means little.

  1. For all the claims that Library eBook support is significant it isn’t – there just isn’t enough range at libraries.
  2. Openness and buying from any store means nothing if 75% of the time the Kindle Store has the best prices.
  3. Kindle Store also has the best range plus Internet Archive and Gutenberg supply over a million free kindle books.

Nook’s library and Sony store support is not a big deal. It’s just a feel-good feature.

Nook’s potential real advantage + what would force Amazon to open up the Kindle

There is, however, one real advantage Nook could have – if B&N does what Sony has done and introduces eBook portability.

  1. A book in Adobe format DRM ought work on any device that supports Adobe Digital Editions.
  2. If B&N does what Sony did then its eBooks will work on any Adobe DRM compatible eReader.
  3. That would be more portable than having eBooks in Kindle format.

That would become a tangible, significant advantage.

It would be perceived as a big deal because -

  1. The Press will paint it as a big deal.  
  2. Openness is politically correct.
  3. There is a real benefit i.e. your eBook purchases will work on any reader that supports Adobe DRM.

That’s what this Nook feature review is really about – pointing out the one way in which Nook can snooker Amazon into opening up the Kindle.

If that happens and the Press figure out what it means – Well, within a few weeks the Kindle would get an update and it would then support Adobe DRM (perhaps in PDF, perhaps in ePub). A victory for Adobe DRM, not one for openness ;) .

17 Responses

  1. You’re misinformed on quite a few points in regards to library ebooks. These features vary from library to library, since each buys their own ebooks and sets their own rules.

    1. At more involved Overdrive libaries, you can check out library ebooks in 7-, 14-, or 21-day periods, depending on how fast you think you’ll read the book.

    2. You can certainly check books out more than once. I don’t know where you got this.

    3. The “range” of titles available at libraries is up to each individual library. They select and buy the ebook copies just like their physical books. Certain libraries, like the Seattle Public Library, have extensive collections with excellent “range.”

    So it’s irresponsible to write off the entire digital library program because of range or feature limitation. Instead, maybe talk to your local librarian. Every librarian I’ve ever talked to was very nice and helpful. You could even request the books you want.

    And once you do find a library that’s committed to digital books, it’s an amazing system for avid readers. Which I assume you are.

    • thanks for your comment.

    • While this review was helpful in many way it was lacking in correct info re: public libraries. If I had not been using both the Overdrive and Netlibrary systems for several years this review would possibly have led to us making a decision based on incorrect information.

      • I just wanted to add some additional info. If your local library is lacking a good selection all is not bad. Many public libraries in other counties and states off an out of area membership for a small fee. I live in NC and have two memberships within the state for a total of $55.00 per year and another one at the Houston Library System for $40.00 per year.

  2. Are BN’s ebooks supported on Sony Readers? I know you mentioned that the nook can read books from Sony’s library but I was wondering if it worked the other way around, and if so, how do you go about doing that? I’m new to ebooks

    • Taylor – there are two discussions about this at BN’s Nook forum.
      BN sells some books in PDB which doesn’t work on Sony and some in ePub format which is supposed to work but doesn’t.

      BN are moving to ePub so the the latter problem might have to do with the transition or it might be a conscious decision by BN to not support Sony.

  3. [...] Nook and Sony Reader both allow for ebook loans through the OverDrive system used by libaries who offer this [...]

  4. Thanks so much. You have just answered one of our questions.

  5. I can get the library ebook to download to ADE but can not get it to move to the Nook. What am I doing wrong?

    • You’d have to check at the Nook forum. Haven’t tried the ADE to Nook transfer on library books.

      Tried to search but there’s lots of confusing information. One school of thought simply says that when you’ve downloaded books to ADE to plug-in the Nook and ADE will register Nook and let you move books to it.
      Another says just download books and then transfers them to Nook like you would a PDF.

  6. I realize this thread started a quite a few months ago, but I’d have to say library ebook support is huge and definitely the reason I bought the nook over the kindle. Of course, part of this depends on whether your library has a good selection of digital books. I live in the DC metropolitan area and between DC, Fairfax County, VA and Montgomery County, MD (all have reciprocal agreements) the selection is huge. I got ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Next” after a 1 week wait (as opposed to being 540th on the hardcover list in Fairfax County).

    Downloading to the nook is easy. You have to install Adobe Digital Editions to download the books from the library. Then, when you plug in the nook it will show up in ADE – simply drag the books to the nook and it will copy them. Simple as that. I’ve only checked out ePub books and have had absolutely no problems with formatting. You can return the books early through ADE (only for ePub books I believe), or they will simply expire after 21 days.

    • When I plug in my NOOK color to my PC nook is not recognized on ADE. I have downloaded library books and even transferred them to my nook but cannot open the book because the nook want to authorize me as having purchased the book!!!! How do I unlock my nook to read the library books?

      • Mary, not an expert. I think you have to go into ADE and then plug-in your Nook Color and then search around for an ‘Authorize’ button if it doesn’t authorize automatically.

        What people are saying all over the Internet is

        1) Plug-in your Nook Color.
        2) Start ADE.
        3) It’ll ask you whether you want to authorize the device. Choose Yes.
        4) An icon for Nook Color should appear on the left of ADE.
        5) Drag books to Nook Color.

        The books should have been downloaded using same Adobe ID as of the ADE you have on your computer.

        If it doesn’t work then delete the ADE folders from your Nook Color and try again.

  7. http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/help/#activation

    Here is the link to the ADE help (you can also get there from the Library pull down in ADE). It will give you information on authorizing your computer. You do need to copy the books to your nook through ADE – if you’ve done it outside ADE, the nook won’t know about the approriate permissions.

    Good luck! I’ve been happily reading ‘Ape House’ this evening – checked out from the library.

  8. I have a Pandigital e-reader that came preloaded with 100 books from B&N; I’m getting a Kindle for my birthday, could I transfer the electronic library from my Pandigital eReader to my Kindle?

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