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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

  • FatAlbert

    Rebooting the nook solved my problem. Everything works great! Unbelievable for the money!

    By the way, can you use the sd card that you used for the rooting as a normal card for music, movies, etc?

  • Rachel

    The nookdevs procedure worked perfectly with 1.0.1 and autonooter 2.12.25 but there is one side effect: when you go into the B&N store you no longer have the in-store recognition banner that allows you to download free ebooks and get one-hour reading time with any book.

    If you don’t spend a lot of time in brick and mortar stores you may not have a problem with this, but for me it’s an unfortunate trade-off.

  • Randy

    I did this a few days ago and it worked great. I do see occasional odd reboots, and like the author said the Kobo reader books are stuck in waiting for download… which I suspect has to do with permission to download to a storage area.

    Overall, I love it!

  • nanapama

    Worked great for the most part but I can’t get the youtube app to play. Seemed strange considering everything else has worked great. Has anyone else had this issue? Is there a way to fix it.

  • Patrick

    Did you try downloading the nook app to run on the rooted nook? whoa…

  • nitwit

    What’s the big deal with reading Kindle books on Nook? Barnes and Noble has a much larger bookstore.

  • nitwit

    And when rooting……Good luck! If you root you void warranty.

  • Patrick

    mine wont power on unless the usb cable is connected – any thoughts?

  • kevin

    Are you still able to read PDF files after rooting?

  • Dragginbutt

    Well I look at it this way, if Nook would do their expand their focus and put the applications on the device in the first place, or embrace the capabilities up front, then we would not have to root the device in the first place. I suspect they would sell a ton of units, but would really upset AT&T who is handling their web browsing interface. What many do not understand is a rooted device means FREE UNLIMITED web browsing. Yeouch! Add the Android apps and you have the ultimate toy until they figure out how to stop it. This little beauty has a ton of potential if they don’t screw it up.

  • Michael

    Patrick, when powering up… hold down the power button about 5 seconds this should do the trick…i was having the same issue.

  • Andrei Pushkin

    Dragginbutt,

    We’re talking about NOOKcolor here. It doesn’t have free 3G (probably because browsing on it is so good). So there is no problem for AT&T

  • Ale

    One question, Can I do the same to the Nook (the common one, not the NOOKcolor)?

  • Jazz

    Thanx for this…i followed the directions and have the droid marketplace but now my n key won’t work or bring me to the home screen. anyone else experienced this

  • Jazz

    ok fixed! I LOOOVE this playing angry birds as we speak!!!!!

  • Steve

    I want to thank everyone, including Andrei for their questions, creations, contributions and clarifications. This has been great to read and learn.

    I have a few more questions. After rooting, can you still highlight and take notes in the reader like before? 2) Do you lose files (eg, books) when you root the NookColor? 3) I’m seeing people offer to put Froyo or Gingerbread on the NookColor. Has anyone heard of that and if so, how that works? I’m ever curious…Thanks!

  • Michael

    Downloaded launcher pro but it wont open…anybody else have this issue…ant tips to get it to open? thanks

  • Adam

    Andrei,

    I’m about to root but have a question. If install a launcher will it “hide” the NC UI? I bought this as a cheap android tablet and have no interest in using it for BN books, etc. Can you access the normal android menus after root? Thanks!

  • Jillian

    I can’t get this to work at all. I’m using a Mac with OS X Version 10.4.11 and a Nook Color with the latest update, 1.0.1. I’ve tried to copy the straight image to the MicroSD disk, tried to just copy the contents after mounting the image on my desktop, tried just about everything I can think of, but when I insert the card and plug it into my computer, the Nook just boots normally. Any advice?

  • Jason

    Did the root after building up to it and it worked great! One question, though: does this upgrade the Android OS to 2.1, so Flash can be installed, or no? If so, how do I install Flash?

  • Andrei Pushkin

    Jillian,

    There’s a specific process of how the image should be written to a card on Mac. Take a look at the original instructions on nookdevs

  • Andrei Pushkin

    It leaves the default UI in place. However since the device is rooted you can then do pretty much anything you want with it.

  • Andrei Pushkin

    It will not work for regular nook. Because different hack is needed. And even if one existed, it wouldn’t be of much use because generic Android apps will not work with eInk

  • Jillian

    Hi Andrei, I did follow those instructions, and made sure that the card files read exactly how it said it should, but it still didn’t work. Any other advice or ways to try?

  • Patrick

    Does everybody else notice that the Android market has limited apps or is it just me? Or am I missing something? I can search and find stuff – but I was looking for the blockbuster on demand app to stream movies, no joy.

  • Chris

    Once I have rooted my nook, I can’t seem to charge it?
    I have power cycled it a few times, but nothing. Any help?

  • Patrick

    Chris – format your SD card and try again

  • Chuck

    After rooting, and restarting, I didn’t get the red screen, but it went right into the Nookcolor android startup. I was unable to have it register my gmail account (or my wives, since it is her Nook), but we can download apps, I just told her not to try and download anything that costs money for the time being.

  • M Curt

    Guys: I am new at this stuff. I downloaded nooter but it will not let me use it without purchasing for 49.95. It says trial expired even though I jsut downloaded and unpacked it. Any suggestions???

  • Andrei Pushkin

    M Curt,

    What 49.95 are you referring to? nooter download is free. Check your computer for viruses.

  • NoAxis2

    I did the rooting following these excellent instructions! Where do I sideload mobi/Kindle ebooks on the Nook Color? Does it matter what folder or will the program just ask me or look for the files? Not sure what the file structure is for Kindle.

    Thanks!

  • jedipunk

    I rooted my NOOKcolor about two weeks ago. Switched the app launcher from softkeys to zeam.

    I downloaded the Kindle app from the market place and it installed fine. After logging in to amazon from the Kindle app, I attempted to get a book but hated browsing the Kindle store. So I used my PC to order 5 books all free and one cheapo.

    I select “Send to Android” and return to my NC only to see it has failed. All the books are list but all are failing.

    Any advice is much appreciated.

    I also cannot google books to work. It opens only to start synching and then closes.

  • jedipunk

    I should mention the error reads “Error Downloading [Book Name]. We were unable to complete your request at this time. Please try again later.”

  • kevin

    HELP … I rooted my nook and everything was working great until and update tried to intall automatically to it today and now the nook color wont get past the startup screen. It just keeps reading “nook color” I tried the manual reset by holding down the power button/nook/and volume up and it still wont work. Any thoughts? Please help Im really nervous I just ruined a 250 dollar investment.

  • Zander

    OK I get to step 7 and my screen comes on and stays on and operates normally. I take out he card and nothing changes. What simple step am I doing wrong??

  • Jake

    Does anybody know if it’s possible to import mobi or Kindle books and read them on the Nook Color? I know you can read books you’ve purchased from Amazon, but I have other mobi format books that I bought from stores other than Amazon that I want to be able to use still.

  • Britt

    Dear Nitwit,

    Barnes and Noble has a far inferior store to the Kindle. They claim 2 million books however, that includes the 1.3 million books which are available free online and thousands of copies of the same text. Kindle has about 250,000 more actual publisher-sourced, currently in-print ebook versions.

  • Steph

    I just rooted my Nook Color…but my gmail account settings don’t seem to hold. Anyone else have this problem? Also I have rebooted the device twice now and I am still having trouble downloading apps.

  • Darshan

    I tried installing the Kindle Reader App on my Nook Color.

    I did root the Nook Color successfully.
    Installed the AppBrain Market Place software on the Nook Color.
    Searched and located the Kindle Reader App there.
    Tried installing it. The installation failed.

    Appreciate anyone who can assist me in installing this successfully.

    Thanks
    Br.Darshan

  • Darshan

    This is regarding the request for assistance I sought earlier in my earlier posting.

    After several failed attempts, I installed Fast Web Installer app via AppBrain first and then tried installing Kindle Reader App. This approach resolved the issue (whatever it was) and managed to install it.

    thanks.

  • David

    I Had to power cycle a couple times and repeat the rooting once as it did not take the first time, but otherwise not bad. The sign in screen comes up every time, but other than this and a little time spent learning navigation (usually double tapping the screen to get to back page arrow), my Nook Color is now vastly more powerful including use of the android apps, You Tube videos and better handling of web pages like msn etc. There is no fancy home page wallpaper but maybe there is a way to set this up though. Anyone know?? Thanks for the information!!!

  • Mike

    Yes, I am anxiously awaiting. You did such an awesome job on the last two roots. I saw another sight that had ways to root it but it look to complicated. Until I see something I am leaving my Wifi off on my device so the update does not get automatically pushed to my device.

    Thanks in advance.

  • lee

    can you still purchase books from b&n after you do the root?

  • Andrei Pushkin

    lee,
    Yes you can

  • LT

    Hey All,

    Just Rooted my Nook but seem to be having a problem downloading apps. When my Nook boots up it looks the same (except for the OS as it’s booting). When I go to “Extras” I can see the “Market” and an icons for “SoftKeys”, “Superuser” and “YouTube”.

    When I go into “Market” I can see apps but I can’t seem to get passed the dwonload. Once I download an app it shows up on the download tab but that’s it. If I tap on it, it always says it’s downloading. When it’s done, I can’t find the app anywhere. I’ve powered off the unit and rebooted it but nothing.

    Anyone got any ideas?

  • NookRook

    Okay,

    I got it install and booted but I can seem to download apps. Wireless is working and I can surf the web fine. But when I try to download a program it just says “Starting download” but never downloads anything.

    However, it works just fine for work. Any ideas?

  • LT

    Well, great idea but I couldn’t get my Windoows 7 PC to see the Nook once I plugged it into the USB slot.

    If I can’t get Windows to see it then I can’t load books and pds(s) via the USB. That a REAL BAD thing for me!

    Anyone got a fix for that?

  • lee

    thanx Andrei,for the reply.but do i install the nook app on the rooted nc,or is my shopping menu still on the nc.thanx.

  • Chuck

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=932145
    Just did this, easy peasy just DL it to the SD (from comp) put in root, etc etc. follow directions, should be a snap. Oh, don’t forget that in the app you just need to use the vol buttons and home button to move around.

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