Loading ePub books into the Nook

In previous posts we talked about ePub books, why they are the best for eReaders, and how to get free ePub books. Now that you have a couple of ePub books downloaded, how do we get them into the Nook?

ePub books download with the ePub suffix on the file name, "Jack London - The Sea Wolf.ePub," for example. Books range in size from about 150Kb to 500Kb depending on the book.

Here's the problem, even though there is an open source format, ePub, there are slightly different ePub formats with DRM, and each eReader reads a different format of ePub. Each eReader is trying to be unique. For example, the Sony eReader supports: DRM-free text such as BBeB(LRF),PDF, Text, ePub, DRM-protected text such as secure PDF and ePUb. The Nook supports the following formats: eReader PDB, the Barnes & Noble proprietary DRM format, ePub with Barnes & Noble ADEPT DRM, and Adobe ePub DRM, and PDF with Adobe DRM.

A quick word on DRM. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, which are encrypted formats that providers use for copyrighted material to prevent their products from being stolen, to prevent you from copying, and using downloaded content unless you have purchased the product. There are several different DRM formats, as you can see from the above list of formats.

What we need to help us is what is called in software parlance, a "bridge" program. A software program that can read a multitude of formats depending on what format the ePub was published in, and then output that ePub in another format that can be used on your Nook, for example.

Since we are loading a Nook, if you look at what formats the Nook supports, Adobe is mentioned a couple of times. Let's look there.

Adobe scored a home run in the past, by making a reader only for PDF's, giving it away for free, and then selling the editor at a high price to create PDF's. Lo and behold, they are trying the same trick again with ePubs.

They made a flash program called, Adobe Digital Editions. This is free, downloadable, software for your PC. The program is set up as a library to manage your eReader content, and what it allows you to do is exchange your ePubs between your various eReader devices, like your Nook and PC. Sounds like a bridge program to me, and it is.

Which brings us to the second problem, Adobe typically has high priced software, so they want to make sure anyone using their free software, gives them at least some marketing information. In order to make everything work, we need to establish an account with Adobe.

I recommend you sign up for three accounts on line. First, the Barnes and Noble account with your credit card to set up easy book purchasing for your Nook, you should have already done this. This will give you freebies when you go to a Barnes & Noble store also. Second, a Google Books account so you can download books into your Google library, and last an Adobe account that will allow you to set up Adobe Digital Editions. You can sign up for the Adobe account during the install or before, don't skip this step.

After you download Adobe Digital Editions, using the program, since it is a flash program, is a little quirky, but once you get the hang of it, it's a nice program.

When the program first loads, you have to authorize your computer with the program, in other words, sync your PC with the program, which requires you to have an Adobe account.

If you connect your Nook to a USB port on your computer, the Adobe program will not see the Nook until you authorize this as a device in the program. This is done under the library menu with "Authorize Computer." Once you authorized your Nook with the program, the Nook will appear as an icon in the left side bar.

Adobe DIgital Editions with the Nook Authorized in the left sidebar

Your books will appear in the right window. The program allows you to move books between any of your devices by dragging the book from the right window to the device in the left sidebar.

There's one last gotcha. You have to move your downloaded book, the ePub file, to the "My Digital Editions" folder, created when you installed the Adobe Digital Editions, located in the "My Documents," directory in Windows, then you have to tell Adobe Digital Editions to "Add Item to Library" in the Library menu. Your book will then appear in the right window.

As a bonus, the Adobe Digital Editions is also a very nice eReader for reading ePubs on your PC.

Adobe Digital Editions used as an eReader

On the Nook, ePubs are stored in a different folder than the books you purchase from Barnes and Noble.  The ePubs books are stored under "My Library" in "My Documents," and the Barnes and Noble books are stored under "My Library" in the "My B&N Library".   This article only concerns ePub books, not Barnes & Noble books you get from the Barnes and Noble web site.  The B&N books are downloaded to your Nook over your wireless connection.   If you try to load them with Adobe Digital Editions, you'll get a "you don't have permission" error message, because of the B&N DRM.

One last thing, when you plug the Nook into your computer through a USB port don't forget to disconnect the Nook with the "Safely Remove Hardware" button in the Windows lower right task bar, before pulling the Nook plug from the computer. Enjoy.


Loading ePub books into the Nook — 55 Comments

  1. Followed your directions and for the first time had Digital Editions recognize my Nook.  Dragged and Drop the book into the Nook file on the left but the book did not show up on my nook.  I have been struggling with this for months and am frustrated.  What step did I miss or do I take next?

  2. On my own, struggling mightily. Your reading was clear and explicit, addressing my needs precisely. Thank you.

  3. Thank you! I’ve been trying to figure this out and nothing’s worked until I read this and realized the missing piece was that I needed to add books to the”My Digital Editions” folder which then needed to be dragged into the “My documents” folder. You’re awesome!

  4. I dragged the downloaded library book to the nook in Adobe Digital Editions and get a connectivity problem prompt on the Nook. Why else should I do?

    • I’m not sure what you mean by a connectivity problem. This could be because of ADE registration issues. If the icon is there in the window, your hooked up. I no longer work with ADE, and have written an article on and recommended Calibre in its place.

  5. You said…”The B&N books are downloaded to your Nook over your wireless connection.”   Could you please tell me how that happens?  Whenever I purchase a B&N nookbook it goes to ADE but I almost always get the “you don’t have permission” error message.  So the only way I get to read my downloads are thru Nook for PC app.  I want to transfer the books from Nook for PC to my Nook device but don’t know how.  Any suggestions??? Please!

    • You probably need to set up your wireless connection. I have the original Nook. If you go to the menus and bring up wi-fi you’ll see the wireless connections that the Nook can see. If you have a home wireless connection, and it shows up on the Nook, you still may have to enter your encryption code to get connected. Tap on the connection you want to connect to, and follow the menus. Also, if you see a little plane next to your battery charge indicator on the screen, your in airplane mode, and all wireless is disconnected. Take it off airplane mode. Once you have established a connection. Go to “my library” on the Nook, scroll down the menu, and tap “Check for new B&N content” and magically all your books will load without ADE. Remember, connection turn on first. Also see my article on Calibre, this is a better program than ADE

  6. I believe my public library requires Adobe Digital Editions, in fact you have to download it to proceed with completing the checkout process. But you’re saying Calibre is the better solution now? Hopefully ADE works well enough to support my library books!

    • Your Nook book is stored on the Barnes and Noble web site. When you download the IPad Nook app, you’ll be able to sync with the Barnes and Noble site, and your books will be downloaded automatically to your IPad without any additional charge. You can read all your Nook books without any additional charge on any device that has a Nook app. Also, a nice feature, when you sync to the web site, your page location in your book is also sync’d up.

  7. i have a nook and so does my mom can we both use the same adobe digital editions, or do we have to use different computers?

    • I don’t believe so, but I’ve never tried. I belive this would violate the way B&N licenses. Let me suggest a couple of other options. If you don’t mind sharing your credit card you can both get books from the same B&N account and you then don’t have to worry about lending each other books, since you both can read the books in your co-library. As an alternative, I’d like to suggest you try another program instead of ADE. See my article on Calibre here: http://www.geekgumbo.com/2011/05/18/calibre-the-premier-ereading-program/

  8. I’m not sure exactly how to word this correctly. But why are you using a seperate program to load your books? I was able to download epub books from a free site and just drag and drop my whole book folder into the Nook. As far as I know the format was just a regular ePub some of them were PDF’s too. I did no conversion just a simple download, drag & drop, then READ! I just wish i could import them into the B&N library section like I can with my Sony Reader. It makes browsing the books much faster. Otherwise I’m going through every page to get to the one book I want.

    • Here’s why you want a conversion program. Not all ePub books are the same, some have piracy protection, called DRM. You have been lucky to download ePub books that are not protected. The ePub format formats pages on your eReader to fit into the dimensions of the eReader. Pdf’s do not do that, and I’d be surprised if you Pdf’s all came out nicely paginated and formatted on your eReader. A conversion program can make that pdf into an ePub. The particular ePub conversion program I am recommending is not the Adobe of this article. I recommend you take a look at my article on Calibre, http://www.geekgumbo.com/2011/05/18/calibre-the-premier-ereading-program/
      This program will also search the web for a particular book you’re looking for and get you the best price.

  9. I just thought I’d tell you that I think you are right up there as one of the planet.  Thanks so much for the help!!!  All my books are now safely in my Nook.

  10. I cannot get ADE to recognize any of my previous epub books on my computer because it thinks they belong to another user.  I do not know the password for that account and because the old email account is closed  I can’t reset the password.  Any suggestions?

    • Hello Bormantor.
      You must have a very old computer. USB1.0 was released in 1996, USB 1.1 in 1998, and USB 2.0 in 2000. The main difference between 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 is the transmission speed of data transfers. 1.0 and 1.1 have a transmission speed of 1.5Mb/second, 2.0 transfers at 60Mb/second. All the connectors provide 5v power from your computer, and use the standard A plug. USB2.0 is backward compatible with 1.0 and 1.1, which makes 1.0 and 1.1 compatible with 2.0. If your using 1.1 to transfer a book from your computer to the Nook, it should work. It should also charge the Nook. Now, having said that, I’ve never used a USB 1.1 connector with the Nook, which was released in 2009. If you find its not compatible, let us know.

  11. I was initially looking for a max file size that the Nook would accept, but your pointing me towards Adobe Digital Editions will make life easier for my mother to load files onto her Nook.  I never would have found or tried this due to the large amount of resources most Adobe programs use.  Thank you very much!

  12.  Adobe digital editions is bugging out. I load books into it, and lo and behold they delete themselves. Something about being open in another location, which is imposable because i closed out of my folder i used to view the files in the first place. This is upsetting, and makes me want to dislike all mentions of Digital Editions

  13. I downloaded the ePub library book before installing the Digital Editions software. I have now installed the software, have activated my Nook, and even located the folder in my Documents. I have dragged the library book all over the place (desktop, Digital Editions Folder, etc.) and no matter what, I can not choose the file to add it to my library. It is gray and un-clickable. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you! Andrea

    • I would check three things. Make sure you have an epub file, not a pdf file, for example. Make sure you have copied the epub file into your “My Digital Editions” directory. Once you have done that open Adobe Digital Editions, (I assume you have registered with Adobe when you downloaded the program), go to “Library” menu, click “Add Item to Library,” and locate your book file. This should make your book visible in the right screen, you can then drag it to your nook symbol in the left window.

    • I would imagine by now that you have figured this out but like me, i had the exact same issue. I did everything correct: downloaded, dragged, activated, and added to library. But i could not find my book in my library list… but i did find it! If you click ‘my library’ (in which your ‘B&N Library’ pops up of all the books you have purchased from B&N) then click the ‘Go to my documents’ options on the lower screen (1st gen NOOK) then poof! there it is!  It took me a while to figure this out, hope this helps others and happy readin!

  14. Hi, I have a nook that I have successfully transferred books to from the Adobe Digital Reader; however, I cannot get the ADR to recognize my Nook. When I click authorize computer, it gives me my name and tells me the computer is authorized to me, but the nook never shows up! Help!

    • Well, I’m beginning to feel like Adobe Customer Support, which since it is free, they don’t offer for ADE. I’m a tad confused with this one. The first part of the sentence said you were successful at transferring your books using ADE. The second part of the sentence says you can’t get ADE to recognize your Nook. Not sure I’ve got enough info, but let me guess. You have two different computers that you loaded ADE on, and then registered your Nook with ADE on one. So when you go to the Adobe web site, they say your registered. To be honest I’m not sure if this helps you, it’s just a guess.

      • Actually is was my power cord, one of the pins must have got bent and it was working to charge the nook but not recognizing it when I plugged into the computer to download books.  B&N sent me a new one as it is still under warranty.  Thanks

    • Hi, I am having this same problem now and wondering if you ever got it fixed.  I have downloaded many many books through ADE and now suddently when I plug my USB cable into the computer it does not find my Nook and display in ADE.  Did you ever figure this out?  Thank you.  Kathy

  15. Thank you Dale for taking the time to break this down. I am well versed w/ Windows & Adobe & have yet to purchase a Nook. However, I am going over to Mom’s tomorrow to install this for her Nook and needed real info, (see previous about being familiar with Adobe.) I agree with you as far as all Adobe products – ONCE you install them, everything is a snap… it’s the installing that is annoying. Young, 70ish Mom is great with ALL electronic fun – cell phones, ipods, wii, ect… and your breakdown for connecting her Nook to the library will make coffee at Mom’s tomorrow very enjoyable. Thank you.

  16. I don’t have wifi at home and am using a 3G card to connect my computer to the internet. My Nook is only the wifi version (I’d have gotten the 3G if I’d foreseem these circumstances. I got the Nook for PC app and I’m downloading my library… I should be able to transfer these .epub books onto my Nook via USB. Do I need to go through the Adobe stuff since they are already Barnes and Noble .epubs?

    • The Adobe stuff depends on where you get your ebooks. If you purchase them from Barnes and Noble, you will not need the Adobe stuff, and any public wifi, like your local coffee shop, will allow a quick download to your wifi Nook. If you did not actually purchase from BN, then you need to convert to a ePub format the Nook can read. I then suggest the Adobe program. If your ePubs are in a format the Nook can read, then you can transfer them to the Nook over your USB to your computer. If your not sure, I’d run them through the free Adobe program, just in case.

      • Okay. my problem is getting TO a place with wifi as I have no transportation and live several miles out of town.
        I need to know how to get my Barnes & Noble Nook epubs from my Nook app folder on my PC to my Nook device.
        I tried ADE and when I added the items to the library from the B&N Nook books folder, they all say they are licensed to another user (they really are mine!).
        I guess I will have to call Barnes & Noble and see if they know how I can do it.

        • Well this is an interesting problem. My thought is if you have purchased the epubs from BN then they are already in the BN DRM coded format and ready for the Nook. You don’t need ADE. I think you can connect the Nook to your computer, and just transfer the files to your BN folder over the USB port, and they should work. Since I haven’t tried this, let me know if this works for you.

  17. I can’t thank you enough for this easy-to-understand explanation. I found plenty of instructions to make my Nook open .epub files, but yours were the only ones that I could actually follow. What’s more, they work! I can now read my library book on my NookColor! Bravo!

  18. Hi,
    I am from UK and I am having problems loading books on to my Nook, I can’t purchase from the barnes website as I need an American address, So I am struggling to load any format books on to the Nook, please help and direct to books I could download and to load them on as in epub and other formats

    Thank you

    • With the Nook you can load and read books in the ePub format. Use this article to load them into the Nook. See my article on “Free ePub Books.” There are several web sites that specialize in the ePub format books, search on ePub books. You also can use other formats by using a program, like Calibre, that will allow you to convert all your popular formats into the ePub format, after converting to ePub, you then can load the book into your Nook.

  19. I have downloaded many epub books for my pc and i can read them with adobe digital editions. My question is : can i transfer and read those .epub ebooks on my nook? (my ebooks were for free and i don’t think they have drm)

    • Yes, If you connect your Nook to a USB port on your computer, the Adobe program will not see the Nook until you authorize this as a device in the program. This is done under the library menu with “Authorize Computer.” Once you authorized your Nook with the program, the Nook will appear as an icon in the left side bar.
      Once the icon appears you can drag the books in your library to the nook icon and they will be downloaded to your nook.

      • Thanks for the great info. I was totally lost. However, I still am, somewhat. I have the Adobe Digital Editions, I borrowed an ebook from the library, put it in Adobe Digital Editions, connected my Nook, authorized my Nook, copied the book to the Nook icon on the left. When I open the Nook on the left, all my books (including the new borrowed one) appear on the right, however, when I disconnect my Nook and look in my Nook library (on my Nook), the book is nowhere to be found.
        What am I doing wrong?

        • There are two possibilities. You have to add the ebook to Acobe Digital Editions by going to the library menu, and then “Add item to the library.” That’s different then authorizing your Nook in Adobe Digital Editions. If you see the Nook icon in the left window, when you plug it in the USB port on your computer, and you see the book in the right window, then the chances are if you dragged the book to the Nook that it is on your Nook.
          The are two book libraries in your Nook. One is for the Barnes and Noble books only, the other called “My Documents,” where your books should be located. You get to that library by going to “My Library” and then “Go to my Documents,” on your Nook. Your books should appear.

          • Hi Dale,
            I loaded a book from or library on my computer and than tried transfering (drag from computer to nook using ADE. I thought I did what you mentioned. However, when I click on the book on the Nook, it says “user not activated”. This is my wife’s nook and I am using my computer, but I wouldn’t think this would cause this issue. This book is borrowed from the library with a 14 day loan period. I would like to use this library as the books are free, but if we can’t read them, than that doesn’t help. Do you have any idea?
            Your assistance is very much appreciated.

          • Hello SJ,
            Adobe Digital Editions is a nice bridge program. There are a couple of things that could cause the “user not activated” message. (1)The ADE program requires that you have an account with Adobe for the program on your computer. You should have done this when you installed the program on your computer.(2) You need to register the nook with the ADE program done from Library->Authorized Computer. Bear in mind your nook and your wife’s nook are two different Nooks to ADE. You need to register both. (3) You need to add the book to ADE through Library->Add item to library. I suspect you may have plugged in your wife’s nook without Authorizing it on your copy of ADE. Hope that helps.

          • Is there anyway to transfer your google ebooks to the homescreen of the nook? I can see them when I turn the Nook device on.

          • Hello Nikita,
            Yes, you can move your google ebooks to your nook through Adobe Digital Editions. You need to register your ADE with Adobe, authorize the nook in ADE under the library menu, put the book in the Digital Editions folder, add the book to the library on ADE in the add item menu, and then move it to the nook. It does not appear on the BN menu on the Nook, but under My Library on the Nook. If you need additional help, please see my article above for a more detailed explanation.