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Read Kindle books on Nook Color

Yep, you are reading this right. It’s actually quite easy now to get Kindle books on Nook color and have both eBook stores available to you on a single device. This is possible because Nook Color is more of an entry level Android tablet than a dedicated eReader. As it comes out of the box it just happens to start the Nook application by default and not let users run anything else.

However that can easily be fixed by rooting the device and enabling the Android Market. With Andoid market you can install all kinds of applications, including Kindle, Kobo reader. You would also be able to play Angry Birds and watch Youtube videos. Installing the Kindle application for Android will let you read Amazon Kindle books on your Nook Color device.

The downside however is that as with all hacks, you risk bricking the device and voiding the warranty. You may also lock yourself out of future updates from Barnes and Noble. So it’s a trade off but in my opinion a profitable one.

It took me less than 5 minutes to execute all rooting instructions from NookDevs.com to root the device, enable Android Market, download Kindle for Android and have WhisperSync open the book I was reading on the same place I left it off on my Kindle device.

Here’s what you will need in terms of hardware:

  1. NookColor device with USB cable
  2. microSD card that is larger than 128MB (if you are in a rush and have Amazon Prime, amazon will overnight it to you for additional $3.99)
  3. SD card reader if your computer doesn’t have one.

In terms of software you’ll need:

  • On Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 32 or 64 bit – Win32DiskImager.exe
  • On Mac or Linux you can get by with tools that ship with the operating system.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Before rooting make sure that you’ve registered the device with B&N as it might not work after rooting.
  2. Download nooter that corresponds to you Nook version. You can check your Nook version by pressing Nook button, selecting “Settings” >> “Device Info” >> “About your NOOKcolor” >> Software version:
    1. for 1.0.0 – GabrialDestruir’s auto nooter 2.12.15 file 15 Dec 2010
    2. for 1.0.1 – GabrialDestruir’s auto nooter 2.12.25 file 25 Dec 2010
  3. Unpack the file
  4. On Windows use Win32DiskImager to write the image to microSD card (please note that all data on the card will be lost). For Linux or Mac, check out NookDevs.com for detailed microSD imaging instructions.
  5. Completely power off NOOKcolor by holding the power button until the screen blurs and “Power off NOOKColor” dialog appears. Select “Power Off” and wait for the device to shut down completely.
    NOOKcolor microSD card slot
  6. Turn device face down and open the microSD card container in the lower right corner. Push the card in with metal contacts facing down.
  7. Connect the device to your computer via USB cable. The device will power up and book from the SD card but the screen will not turn on. This is normal.
  8. After about a minute your computer show detect the new device. This means that the rooting is complete. Your Windows computer will complain about missing drivers. This is normal.
  9. Disconnect the USB cable and remove the card from the reader.
  10. Power cycle it by holding the power button for 20 seconds and then releasing it. The press the power button briefly to power the reader on.
  11. As the reader boots you will see a red splash screen.
  12. Once the reader boots, you will be prompted for you Gmail account (as usually with Android) and some initial settings. This will only happen once.
  13. As you open the extras folder you will see that it now contains Android market icon and some extras (Youtube, Gmail, etc)
    NOOKcolor rooted extras including Kindle
  14. You can now start the market app and download other apps that you like. You will need to reboot the device for apps to appear on the extras page. The apps themselves can be used right away just as with usual Android apps.

After that the sky is the limit.

First thing that I did was to download Kindle application and verify that it works – it did. See – for yourself.

Amazon Kindle on NOOKcolor

Amazon Kindle App on NOOKcolor

While this works, it’s not 100%. Initially I had some problems with apps not downloading via the market app. Reboot fixed that. Kobo app for android logs in and displays the list of books but then all books get stuck in “Waiting for download” state. Kindle app didn’t have such problems.

I also tried Youtube, remote desktop, Gmail and Angry Birds and that worked well.

All-in-all, I’m quite happy with this experiment as it shows once again that Kindle books can cross device boundaries and run even on competing devices. Does it add value to Kindle or NOOKcolor? I think both. If you have Barnes&Noble LCD eReader you can now get books from either store. Kindle opponents meanwhile have one less reason to complain about device-restricting DRM system.

I wanted to do Kindle vs. NOOKcolor review first, but this post turned out more about how these two devices cooperate rather than compete. The comparison review will be posted sometime early next year. I promise.

Unrooting and updating

Some people claim that using NOOKcolor can be “unrooted” by “Settings” >> “Device Info” >> “Erase & Deregister Device” but I haven’t tested it yet. I’m quite happy with my rooted NOOKcolor. Another method is to hold power, nook and Volume+ buttons pressed until you are prompted for device reset.

I’ve tried both methods and both reset the nook but apps were still present on the “extras” screen.

The official 1.0.1 update got installed without problems and after rebooting all rooting extras were completely gone.

I then went ahead to re-rooted the device and installed the Kindle reader apps back.

148 comments to Read Kindle books on Nook Color

  • Steve

    Has anyone tried this (other than the author)? It looks a lot easier than other rooting protocols I’ve seen. I’m not brave enough, but just about ready to give it a go? Let me know…and any tips to add would be great! Thanks.

  • baldsue

    I’ve done it. It wasn’t very hard at all. The whole reason I bought the NC was to root it and run the Kindle app on it. Kindle app on the NC rocks.

  • David

    Yes.
    I rooted with the first version of the nooter flash.

    Yesterday I flashed it back to stock, did the official update to 1.01 and did the auto-nooter for 1.01.

    Easy as pie.

    You turn off the nook color put the card in and plug the usb cable into the computer, you will think that it is taking too long but it is almost done when you want to turn it on (which won’t work yet) and boom nice new intro and you’re almost done.

    You need to skip the steps that show up when you start it up, but enable location services.
    Then go to the youtube app and sign in with your google email address.

    Then you are all set and will be able to use the official android market.

    If you are worried check out the actual website they got this from which is actually http://forum.xda-developers.com/ the guys there developed it and have tons of answers to any of your questions.

  • purephase

    My question is if it done and doesnt work correctly, can you restore the nook to its original state?

  • Simon Belmont

    I just got a Nook Color for Christmas. I asked for one with full intention to root it like this. Although, I heard that the Nook Color may be receiving an update to Android 2.2 (Froyo) in the near future, so I may wait a bit until I perform this. I know for a fact that a lot of people have done this without issue. Just be careful and take your time. I have also read that people have usually been able to restore their device to factory if they messed something up, but do not take my word on that 100% since I cannot confirm it.

    I had all the information prior to reading this article nookdevs.com, but the author of this article presented in a very nice, and non confusing way. Thank you very much.

  • Keira

    Does this hack essentially turn the Nook Colour into an Android device (full or in part) or are there still limitations?

  • Anonymous

    The process is stupid easy and anyone who has even the most basic Android skills SHOULD do this. We are at the end of the age of restrictive software.

    http://nookdevs.com/NookColor_Rooting

  • Mace

    From your article you show android apps in the “Extras” Folder. After rooting does you Nook still launch with the NookColor App or does it launch with an Android interface?

  • Nook User

    I tried it. The hack works great. It was very simple, so simple that I hesitate to call it dangerous. Once the new image is installed the nook color is capable of downloading and using most android apps. Hacking the nook is a fun little project but it does take away from the simplicity and cleanliness of the nook and adds temptation to play angry birds or check Facebook rather than turn the next page.

  • Brock

    I have tried and succeeded in doing this, it was easy to do and a great decision. I recommended Zeam launcher for a new home screen, and emulators for all sorts of nostalgic fun. Let me know how it turns out for you! Tip: download Dolphin Browser HD, it is much better than the Nook Color’s default browser. Also: Make sure your account is synced with B&N’s store BEFORE you root, just to be safe. Third Thing: get Advanced Task Manager to manage open apps, to save your battery life. Fourth: Not all Market apps work with the Nook Color, some that I’ve noticed are: Google Earth, the Nook app (ha!), a knockoff Tetris clone, and ESPN for Android (Not ScoreCenter, that works). HAPPY ROOTING!

  • Good news! I’m really interested in this e-reader so far, this mod made me want Nook Color now.

  • Thorsten

    Why is the NC (Nook Color) root is so easy? Because the NC boots from the SD card by default. This means once you burn a bootable image to the SD card the NC boots right into it. This then means that someone (Gabrial Destruir in this case) can write a script to automate all the nit-picking details of the root. So the end user (you) just have to follow the relatively simple instructions to create the image and the auto-nooter takes it from there.

    It was more difficult in the dark ages of November 2010, but my rooted NC worked great. Gmail, YouTube, most anything on the market. Not mentioned is that eBooks can be easily “side loaded” onto the built in memory or the SD card.

    B&N then released a software update, so I brought my NC back to stock, upgraded to the new version of the B&N software and then used the auto-nooter. It was even easier than the first time.

    If you are not tech savvy have a geek friend do this for you. No one on the nookdevs site has reported any cases of a NC being bricked or broken by this process.

    Rooted and setup the NC is an awesome little tablet atop being an excellent ereader. The B&N magazine list is limited, but their article reading app is great.

  • elbandito

    This is awesome, may have to get a NOOKcolor before they figure out a way to complicate this process!

  • Yes, it is that easy.

    Very very detailed instructions for windows, mac and linux at http://www.nookdevs.com

    There are a few “gotchas” about the Nook Color. The version of android running on it assumes you have four hardware keys for back, menu, etc. The NC lacks those, and the community had to supply a program (softkeys) to ensure they were always available. There are many android programs which never considered they might be running on a screen as large as this, and do not re-size to fit.

    But overall, it’s about 95% of what you get in an ipad, for $250 plus 20 minutes of work.

    HIGHLY reccomended.

  • Karla

    Did you try to do this on your nook and nothing bad happen?

  • I’m curious if the device is as snappy as my HTC EVO. While I am VERY interested in owning a tablet for all sorts of reasons, my EVO is so friggin’ snappy I could not downgrade functionality for size… when in reality the Nook would just be a bigger version of my mobile… (like the iPad is for the iPod or iPhone).

    Thoughts?

  • a.

    I just did. Seems to work very well. Kindle is already running. I tried youtube and gmail and they all seem to be working just fine. I actually like it very much. Angry birds looks fantastic on the large screen when compared to my Motorola Droid.

  • Steve

    Yup been running my nook like this for a few weeks.

  • Marcy

    I’m in the same mindset as Steve. Very tempted to give it a try. I use a Mac and my son has Windows7. After reading through this it appears Windows 7 is easier than on a Mac. If that is the case will I still be able to sync my library books etc. from my Mac?

  • Sam

    I’ve done it and it works really well. I purchased a Nook Color with rooting in mind, and have been using it as a generic Android tablet for the last few weeks. The nice thing about the Kindle app is that it keeps track of your progress through a book, and syncs between all of your kindle devices/readers/apps.

  • Mike

    I rooted my Nook Color the day I got it (a few weeks ago). The rooting procedure is relatively simple and these steps seem to be accurate. I used this website for full, up-to-date rooting instructions: http://nookdevs.com/Portal:NookColor

    The unroot steps are more complicated than just the Deregistration. See the website link above for the proper steps.

  • Andrei Pushkin

    Mace,

    After rooting, NOOK still launches the NOOKcolor app.

    Karla,

    I did it and it works.

    thecolor,

    I have HTC Evo and NOOK seems visually snappier than the EVO. Could be because it doesn’t have as much stuff running on it as I’ve installed on the EVO.

  • Andrei Pushkin

    One thing to keep in mind is you should register you NOOKcolor with B&N before rooting as it might not work after the process so you will need to unroot, register and then root again.

  • henry

    hey, can you still read adobe digital editions library books after the root?!?

  • Samples

    Does this hack have the same disabling of the battery overheating protection as the other popular hack does?

  • Thorsten

    Answer’s to many questions:
    Steve: Many, many people have tried it and succeeded.
    Purephase: Yes, if it does not work you can reset your NC. But if you follow the instructions, it will work.

    Keira: It does turn you NC into an Android tablet. Most of the limitations are related to the hardware of the NC i.e. since there is no camera no video chat, since there is no microphone, no Skype. The biggest limitation so far for me? That you will have to restore you NC to factory before you can get an update from B&M and then redo the root.

    Mace: After rooting you can use the built in NC launcher to run the apps (I had to reboot my nook to get the NC launcher to “see” them) you download from the Market or sideload. Or you can install your own launcher from the Market (I like ADW, it has settings to take advantage of the NC big screen).

    Karla: I tried this on my NC and nothing bad happened.

    Thecolor: Your Evo has a faster processor (1GHZ vs 800Mhz) than the NC. That being said, I have not had any performance issues with my NC, and I have a ton of stuff (3D wallpaper, multiple launchers, a ton of games and oh yes, 500+ books installed). The only time my NC was slow was when booting on the SD card into 2.2 (which I did for fun).

    Marcy: The hack should be slightly easier on a Mac, just because it has native support for burning the needed bootable image onto the SD card. I suggest that you go to nookdevs for the instructions along with the ones here. Only because they (and xda) are continuing to tweak the process and it might will be easier and include more functionality the longer you wait.
    As far as syncing goes: Anything you download from B&N is always available. Even if you completely restore your NC to factory, you will be able to log back into your account and download anything you have purchased again for free. As for eBooks, movies, songs that you side-load, you can use whatever manager you like. I use the free Calibre software to manage my eBooks and jus keep my songs and movies in folders that I copy for the sync.

    Mike: I think that the unroot can either be done the manual way, or via the built in reset described in this article. At least nookdevs now lists both.

    Henry: Yes, you can still read Adobe digital editions after the root.

    Samples: No, the hack the screws up the battery life is Android 2.2 booting off the SD card, which (as of now) does not support the battery heat sensor. This root keeps you on Android 2.1. It just gives access to 2.1 functionality. But all the NC features are still there. And since you can download or sideload an app that lets you control the apps you install you have even more control of the battery than the stock NC.

  • This is an awesome article man. I’ve been watching this pretty closely since they released the Nook Color. Looks like the rooting process has gotten even easier. That’s awesome!

  • Mel

    I just did this last night…and it’s AWESOME!!!!!!

    Super easy (I’m a geek..but usually not an overly technical programming geek) and I managed to root the nook, flash it (to get it back to “factory”), update the firmware, and then root it twice again (accidentally deleted you tube). All done within 2 hours.

    Three people at work went out and ordered the nook right after I did this. Honestly, I’m sooo happy.

    To answer the question–it loads up just as the nook does, and the loaded programs are on the “extras” tab. To the uninterested observer–it looks just like a regular color nook.

    ;) Happy Rooting!

  • MK

    My laptop can’t read a MicroSD card directly and I didn’t have the adapter handy so I used the card in my Android phone (after backing up the music + pix on that card) after mounting my phone as a disk drive.

    With Windows 7 and the instructions above, I did get the error message about the device driver. But that wasn’t an issue.

    Also what threw me off was that after rebooting, while I did see a Red flash page, it went to the familiar Nook interface. It took me a few seconds to realize that this was a HACK and not a replacement for the Nook UI..

    As of press time, I am having trouble registering a Google address with the hack..will try later.

  • MK

    Also a reboot was required to download/install apps. Wasn’t able to do that the first time around.

  • Kashfi

    Is the Froyo root for Nook Color available, if so where can I get it?
    Next thing is since Gingerbread is going to be the Android’s tablet software will the nook be able to unroot and then possibly root Gingerbread when available?

    Can I buy a Nook Color, root it, then maybe not like it, unroot it, and return the device?

    If anyone can reply to this message asap aim: Hereinaid Skype: Will.Alive
    I will appreciate it a lot.

    Thank you

  • Bonnie W

    How will rooting affect my libraries? Will I still be able to read spreadsheets and pdf files?

  • Mike R

    So if understand this correctly, when Barnes and Noble pushes out an update you will need to root your device again or will your device no longer receive updates? You will also need to get an updated auto rooter, correct?

    I am anxious to do this but I want to make sure that I will continued to get updates from Barnes and Noble. Do you think any future updates will prevent the rooting process?

    Thanks for this easy to understand article.

  • Clark

    If I understand this, I am installing a modified Android OS from the SD card. How do I know that the new OS has not been modified in some malicious way? Seems like this would be a great way to create thousands of “zombie nooks”…

  • Benjamin Minnich

    Question: Will I lose the nook color app (as in the magazine reader) if I root my NC? Because I actually bought the NC to root it but once I saw the magazine reader I kept it as is, but having kindle and nook is too hard to pass up without paying for a Ipad and S. Jobs gloating :)

  • Andrei Pushkin

    Benjamin Minnich,

    You will not lose the NOOKcolor app. You will still be able to read magazines.

    Thorsten,

    Thank you for addressing most of the questions.

  • Terri

    When I try to write the image to the SD card, I get an error that reads “an error occurred when attempting to get a handle on the file. Error 8:”

    Has anyone seen this?

  • Jun

    Tried this last night and it works as described. Download Zeam browser from the Market after rooting. Loving it.

  • Q: Will someone please remind Netflix’s Google Android development team to include the Nook Color in their release plans??

    This suggestion could make a lot of indie film makers really really happy as studio control of networks, cablers, and theater chains deepens in this economic recession and smaller indie theater chains and distributors are crushed.

    Thank you for your support of independent film makers and help us bring justice against the anti-trust actions of big studios like Disney, Comcast/Universal, and TimeWarner.

  • frankyvee

    Can we use this hack on any serial # device. I saw an article in nook dev that said this only works for serial # below 1003*. Is this true? Are the reading the last 5 digits of the serial #? My serial ends in a higher # than 1003* should I be concerned about this. I’m running Nook ver. 1.0.0.

  • FatAlbert

    Does anyone know if you can still read/purchase books through barnes and noble after rooting?

  • Andrei Pushkin

    FatAlbert,

    Book purchases definitely work after rooting. I’ve tested it.

  • Mike

    I keep getting stuck at step 7. I have the image on the microSD card, bu whenever I plug in the nook it complete powers up and runs. The screen does not stay off like it says it will. From there I never get any of the red splashes or anything else. Why does my computer turn on the nook, unlike it says here.

  • Andrei Pushkin

    Mike,

    You need to completely power off the NOOKcolor before inserting the micro SD card and connecting USB cable. To completely power off, don’t just press the power button, hold it until the screen blurs and displays a dialog with two options – “cancel” and “power off”. Select power off. After several seconds, nook will power off. Then you can insert the card and connect the USB cable.

  • michael

    Wow Wow Wow…my wife calls me retard all the time…still i followed the bouncing ball and this took about 10 mns to do!!! Awesome!! thank you!! works just as advertised, 1st downloaded the to nook 1.01 then the rest is history!!

    Oh and Happy New Year!!

  • Michael

    hmmmm…perhaps i spoke to soon…the root seems to be working fine, except it wont download app from market, i went to nook color tools to run the program, as instructed, but there wasnt a run feature….i know i’m close…i would be really greatful for any help…
    this was the settings i used 1.0.1 – GabrialDestruir’s auto nooter 2.12.25 file 25 Dec 2010

  • Andrei Pushkin

    Michael,

    Try rebooting your device. Sometimes apps don’t automatically download after the first boot

  • michael

    Andrei thank you…. that did it, i have been able to download open and use, but unable to move to the extras screen…any tips on that? again thanks

  • deratristar

    I followed the instructions, and I did get the error that Windows complained about the drivers. Waited a while, and never did see that it recognized the “new” device. Rebooted the NC, but it doesn’t seem the device got rooted. Re-imaged the microSD card, and tried again… nada.

    Just some info:

    Running Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit version
    I updated the NC to 1.0.1 and used the correct .zip file
    And I have registered the device

    Any ideas?

  • FatAlbert

    I just tried rooting my device and now when i try turning it on at the “red splash screen” phase, it turns on and gets stuck with the N on the screen. I’m really feeling nervous right now. Any help?

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