Regular Popular Mechanics readers will recall an article (published in November last year) in which we described how we converted a Nook Color ebook reader into an Android tablet, using a microSD card (pre-loaded with Gingerbread) called N2A to effect the change. This worked like a bomb, and we continue to download books from Amazon, reading them via a Kindle app.
However, what we neglected to explore at the time – and judging by the queries in forums and elsewhere on the Web, it’s an important issue – was a method of sideloading ebooks from the library on your PC to the Nook tablet. After a few hours of fiddling and cursing, we managed to crack it, at which point we said something on the lines of “Duh… it’s so obvious.”
Here’s what to do. First, call up the Web and download the Aldiko book reader app from Getjar. Next, connect your Nook Color – remember, we’re still talking about the “tabletised” version here – to your computer via USB; the screen will light up, and you’ll see a button reading “Turn on USB storage”. Press it, then press the “OK” button that pops up.
After a few seconds, you should see a window pop up on your PC that offers the option “Open folder to view files”; highlight it and click “OK”. Scroll down the menu and double-click the “ebooks” folder. Leave this window open (shrink it for easier sideloading), open your PC’s ebook library, then drag-and-drop your selected ePub titles into the Nook’s ebooks folder.
Now here’s the thing I don’t really understand: you need to create a sub-folder within this folder for each title (give it the same name as the book, and drag the ePub file into it), or the Nook won’t see it. If anyone out there can explain why, I’d be glad to hear from you. If it’s something obvious, I’ll be mildly embarrassed (but grateful nevertheless).
Anyway, your next move is to click the button on your Nook that says “Turn off USB storage”, and unplug the cable from the device. Open up the Aldiko app on your Nook; you should see just one pre-loaded book: White Fang. Don’t panic. Click the tiny house icon at the top left of the screen, then click “SD card”, then “ebooks”: your uploaded titles should appear in a list. Tick the appropriate boxes on the right side of the screen, then press the button at the bottom left reading “Import to Aldiko”. And that’s it; your selected titles will appear on your Aldiko bookshelf.
Note: If your ebook titles are in Kindle’s native .AZW format, which is near-as-dammit the same thing as .mobi, as far as I know, you can easily convert them using the excellent Calibre software. A little tip: if you’d like to retain the original cover image when converting formats, click the “Metadata” button on Calibre’s left-side menu, scroll down, and tick the little box that says “Use cover from source file”.