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Handy resources for the Nook Color

I was so busy with deadlines during April that I never had the chance to post that my beloved husband gave me a Nook Color for my birthday.

I love it.

I love it. I have joked that I would save him and the cat first if the house were burning down, but that the Nook Color would probably be right after that. :)

I had an original Nook prior to that, which my wonderfully generous spouse got me for our anniversary. I'm currently letting my mother borrow it so she can see how comfortable she feels with using an e-reader. If she likes it, I'll probably get her one of her own.

I was all kinds of pleased to find out that my dear friend, Scott, just got a Nook Color for himself. I was trying to post the following as a comment on his blog, but for some reason, WordPress didn't seem to care for the input (too many links, possibly), and kept giving me an error. Thus, although it's addressed to him, I'm posting it here. Some of y'all may find it useful, too.

Getting More Out of Your Nook

  • Calibre
    I was going to recommend that you get Calibre, and you've already done it! Great!

    In addition to being a handy tool for managing one's library, Calibre has powerful conversion features that may help you with your PDF problem, as well as converting promotional freebies that are offered in other formats.

    If you don't get your desired PDF-to-epub results on the first try, you may want to tweak the conversion by turning on heuristic processing - sometimes I get better results with a line unwrap factor of 0.45. You may need to experiment just a little bit.


  • Sigil
    Back in October, I thought it might be a good idea to teach myself how to author and edit epubs to improve my skill set as a technical writer. Perfectionist that I am (J! J! J! :) ), sometimes I'm not satisfied with the CSS that Calibre generates (a global find-and-replace of the paragraph tag can work wonders), or, with PDFs, if the original file lacks a table of contents, oftentimes there's nothing for Calibre to convert. In such cases, I use Sigil to add one.

    There are other epub editors on the market, so you may wish to dig a little to find the one that you like best, but I prefer this one because it reminds me of old school HTML editors like HomeSite. I know you're familiar with HTML, so you'll have no trouble at all with editing epubs. You can also create them from scratch, of course.


  • In addition to conversion and editing tools, I can recommend a few sources for books:

  • epubBooks
    Offers many classic titles, with nicer formatting than you'll find at some web sites.


  • Feedbooks
    The formatting on the books isn't always of quality that's comparable to the ones available at the previous link, but they have a larger selection.


  • Unbound: the Nook blog
    Free Fridays! Every Friday, Barnes & Noble offers a current work for free, and sometimes more than one.


  • Smashwords
    I like to stay current on the developments of the brave new world of e-publishing, and Smashwords is emerging as a key player in offering authors the means of self-publishing their work in a variety of formats at once. I'm enjoying the frontier feel of this time, seeing authors succeed, unfettered by the Big Six of publishing. Anyway, outside of my meta interest in evolving media, Smashwords is a resource for discovering new authors and publishing your own material.


  • Libraries
    If your library offers e-books, you can check them out and read them on your Nook Color. Typically, libraries purchase service from a company called Overdrive. After installing Adobe Digital Editions on your computer, you go to the library site and download the book. Connect your Nook Color to your computer via USB, and open Adobe Digital Editions. Transfer the library book from ADE to your Nook, and disconnect. Voila!


  • Lending
    I haven't used this so I can't vouch for how well it works in practice, but it's an interesting idea. There are several sites like this, as I understand it.
    http://bookfriend.me/

  • Hacking
    You may or may not know that the Nook Color has received a fair amount of press due to it being the darling device of hackers. Essentially, some folks realized that it was the lowest priced Android tablet available on the market, quietly masquerading as an e-reader. :) Essentially, with a hacked Nook Color, you have full access to the Android Market. Nook app, Kindle app - whatever you want to run, for the most part. :) I haven't hacked mine because I like the out-of-the-box UI just fine, but if you'd like to look into it, Android Central's forums can point you in the right direction.


  • Personalizing
    Here are two sites that offer wallpapers to help you customize your Nook's appearance:

    http://www.nook-look.com/
    http://www.nookcolorwallpapers.com/


  • Social reading
    This isn't directly related to the Nook Color, but I really enjoy Goodreads for managing my to-read lists, and it's been fun connecting with bookworm friends there and hearing about whatever they're currently enjoying. Their app is available for free via the B&N app store, though I consider the app a supplement to the web site, rather than a replacement.


  • NOTE: I'll e-mail you regarding becoming B&N friends. I can't promise that I'll have anything that you'll want to borrow, seeing as how David and I share an account and he's purchased most of the books, which tend to be fantasy/sci-fi, but you might find something. :)


    There! I hope that helps in terms of getting started. E-mail me if you have any questions, and I will be delighted to try to answer them! E-readers, the Nook/Nook Color in particular, as well as e-publishing, kind of happen to be the current bee in my bonnet, so even if I don't know the answer myself, I may at least be able to point you toward someone who does. :)

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