Easily open Barnes and Noble eBooks in Apple’s iBooks [updated]

UPDATE: Please see my post on eBooks: How to Free and Consolidate Your Digital Library for the latest information on getting BN eBooks into Apple’s iBooks.

For the past few hours, I have been playing with my new iPad. Getting it configured, converting many of the apps I have to iPad versions, and feeling really under the weather, I thought that I could use it to dive back into a book that I had been reading in the nook app on my iPhone. As many across the world found out today, the BN.com site has been struggling under the load of the Christmas Nooks, new nook reader downloads (on devices like my iPad) and gift card activation.

Trying to activate a nook, or access your BN account either returned a server error or simply the inability to login to the site. Now, while I could have simply grabbed my iPhone, I really didn’t have annoying better to do, so I wanted to tough it out. While doing that I thought that I would ry to see if I could skin the cat a different way. Namely opening or converting my BN library to iBooks as those reside on my MacBook Pro instead of in the cloud. I have written about this in the past, here and here, in fact it is one of the most read posts on my blog.

In fact, I was planning on writing a companion post to those detailing how to consolidate a digital library to a single eReader… But that post has a few more days to cook here…

So, let’ get to the meat of this post. After fighting through getting to BN’s servers, and downloading the book I wanted to read in my nook app, I thought I would try something to see if the changes in iOS (4.2.1) could make a multi-step process much easier. Surprisingly, it did!

Because both Apple’s iBooks and the nook readers leverage the ePub format, and iOS 4.2.1 added “open with” hooks you can easily open any eBook from Barnes and Noble within iBooks quickly and easily.

First, on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running the latest iOS software you need to launch Safari and login to BN.com and then under “My Account” access your nook/Barnes and Noble bookshelf. From there you will see a listing of all of the ebooks you purchased to read. Next to the description of the book, you will see a download link. Click on “download” and your chosen eBook will begin download to your device. After this you will see the following:

Now simply tap open in iBooks. The eBook will open and be readable in iBooks complete with metadata, chapters, etc. Interestingly, the digital rights for the book seem to transfer through without issue :0)

Tap to open your eBook and enjoy. For right now it appears that the only thing that may be lost is the cover art. I’ll investigate that in the future post on consolidating your eBook library.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

9 thoughts on “Easily open Barnes and Noble eBooks in Apple’s iBooks [updated]

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Easily open Barnes and Noble eBooks in Apple's iBooks: -- Topsy.com

  2. Although the B&N website will give you the option of opening your ebooks in iBooks on the iPhone and, if you choose that option, loads an image of the book on the iBooks bookshelf, more often than not the book will not download but rather you will be left with an error message when you open the book to read it. Barnes and Noble used to be my first choice for purchasing books digital and otherwise but when they discontinued support of the original B&N reader app and replaced it with the totally unacceptable Nook app, they lost me as a customer. The experience of reading on the Nook app for the iPhone is excruciating. I know epub formatted digital books are supposed to open in iBooks however, as I stated earlier, most of the B&N epub books download with an error message none of the books text. And yes, I do have the latest version OS on my iPhone.

    • Ellen,

      A few days after I posted that article, I ran into a similar issue. I am working through the issue. It seems to be something with the version of ePub that BN is using on some of their books. I hope to have a resolution I can share shortly. I agree with your comments, but I am at least having a more favorable time with the nook app that you appear to be. I would like to consolidate my library to iBooks as well. I really like BN as a store, and I liked how I could also shop at fictionwise.com (a BN company) and use the old BNReader… Now that is in jeapordy. I hope to have more information here soon.


  3. omigosh PLEASE find a solution? i really want to consolidate all my ebooks and this whole b&n thing is really, really annoying. i might end up following ellen’s path.

  4. I purchased an ebook from B&N, and I followed these instructions exactly, but when I go to iBooks, and open my book, there is an error. It says:
    “This page contains the following errors: error on line 1; at column 1. Document is empty, error on line 1 at column 1. Encoding error. Below is a rendering of the page up to the first error.”. Is this the same message most folks are getting? The book shows up fine in my Nook app, but how do I bring it over correctly into iBooks?

    • I found out that BN is using two different forms of encoding for ePub DRM. Version 1 allows you to open as described in this post. Version 2 does gives the error you are receiving. I believe the different encoding comes from their purchase of Fictionwise to bolster their fiction catalog. I DO have a way to basically strip the Digital Rights Management (DRM) from either format. This will allow you to open your purchased book in iBooks. It involves a download of an eBook management software and a few plugins. Working to get a detailed post on this out today (Sunday 2/13/11).

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