How to Use a Barnes and Noble NOOK in Canada

I bought a NOOK eBook Reader while I was visiting in the USA. It is a Barnes & Noble product that is not available in Canada,  though I am assured by the company that I can purchase books from them while I am in Canada.

I was still in the USA when I tried out my new NOOK. I had already created an account with Barnes & Noble, so all that was required when I had charged up the battery of my NOOK, was to tell my NOOK what Wi-Fi  hotspot I was using, and then register my NOOK on my account… that was after I figured out what all the buttons did, and how to navigate around…

I eventually used the NOOK to go shopping on the Barnes & Noble website, and found the free e-books. I chose one to download. Barnes and Noble immediately decided it didn’t like the Canadian Address on my account, and refused to send me my free book. So I moved over to a computer, went to the B&N website, navigated to my account, and added the USA address of the friend’s place where I often visit – there is room for several addresses on my account.  (I think I could have done this right on the NOOK, but the computer was faster…) Then I went back to the NOOK, and tried to “buy” a free book again. This time it worked with no problem.

Next, I moved back to the computer and downloaded some free books from other websites. I selected ones in the ePub format. Then I plugged my NOOK into the computer with the supplied USB cable. The computer said “Hello” to the NOOK, and treated it like any other external drive. I dragged the ePub books over to the My Documents folder on the NOOK.  (This is called sideloading.) Then I ejected the NOOK and unplugged it. I started up my NOOK, and pointed it to the new content and the books were there.

When I got back to Canada, I tried to connect my NOOK to my home Wi-Fi. It wouldn’t connect. The Barnes & Noble website tells me that “NOOK can connect to any Wi-Fi hotspots that are open or if the user knows the username and password to the SSID. However, NOOK cannot connect to Wi-Fi hotspots that use proxy security settings.” I emailed B&N to ask why I couldn’t connect to the internet with my NOOK.  Their reply was: “Because selling eBooks to international customers involves issues regarding international copyright laws, tariffs, VAT taxes, currency conversions, etc., only US and Canadian residents are able to purchase eBooks on the Barnes & Noble website at this time. Unfortunately Canada is considered to be out of USA Territory and you will not be able to complete the normal functions the NOOK offers.”  In short, this means I can’t connect my NOOK to the internet in Canada…

I have, however, downloaded the NOOK for PC software onto my computer, and am able to use that software to purchase and download Barnes & Noble books onto my computer, read The Daily, etc. Or, I can go directly to the B&N website on the internet, and order and download my books from there. Once the books  are downloaded, I can sideload them onto my NOOK by dragging them into the NOOK’S My Documents folder from the Barnes & Noble folder on my computer. The Barnes & Noble website says this about accessing eBooks while traveling outside of the United States: ” You can download eBooks from your eBooks Library that have already been purchased. You will not be able to purchase eBooks if you are traveling outside of the United States.” I believe, however, that you can also purchase eBooks while you are in Canada, but I’ll know for sure once my purchase shows up on my credit card statement.

The NOOK is available from Barnes & Noble, or from Best Buy, for about $149. I bought it from Barnes & Noble. Like any other small digital product, there are a wide range of accessories. These include protective covers of various descriptions and book lights. Needless to say, I was smitten by a green leather cover that reminded me of the color of my new golf bag, and the book light seemed quite practical (because eReaders aren’t backlit like a computer). A handy USB cable is supplied and it is used to charge the nook, either by plugging it into a computer, or with the supplied adapter, into a wall plug.

As for actually reading a book – I like the fact that the font size can be changed. This lets me read a book without using reading glasses. I like being able to carry a whole bunch of books in one small package when I travel. I am hopeful that I will be able to use the NOOK to read books from my local library…

With the connectivity problems I have had with my NOOK, would I buy one again? Probably. For my purposes, it is probably the best reader available at this time. I have already put nearly 150 books on it. Most of these books were free, or nearly free, and I didn’t already have paper copies of those books sitting on my bookshelves. So the cost of the books, and the cost of the reader is about $150. That brings the total cost to about $1 per book.

UPDATE 1: I got an iPad for my birthday, so I’ve put my eBooks onto it too.

UPDATE 2: I wanted to put the NOOK app on my iPad, but I couldn’t find that app in the Canadian iPad app store. I contacted Barnes and Noble, who replied: “NOOK for iOS (iPad) is available for download only from US. You need to be physically located in US to download or you can download if you connect the iPad to a Wi-Fi with US Proxy IP.”

To get around this, I set up an alternate Apple ID on my iPad – an ID that connects to the US store. You can do this through iTunes on your computer, or through the App store on your iPad. Complete directions can be found here: Creating an Account without a Credit Card.

I purchased a few US iTunes gift cards and I put these onto my US account for when I want to purchase something from my US account. I can switch from the US account back to my Canada account on my iPad by going to Settings – iTunes and App Store – Apple ID. There I can sign out of one ID, then sign in with the other.

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10 comments

  1. Nice article.
    I wonder why Canadians get treated like Pirates.
    There are many restrictions online to prevent Canadians from accessing and watching American content.
    You can thank both sides of the border for that one.

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    • Hi Mick – Everyone wants to be paid for their piece of the pie, so I guess we will see restriction in content until both sides of the border figure out the best way to make Canadian consumers pay!

      Like

    • I wonder if you can get around that with a VPN? (tells the servers you are in a different location than you really are)… although they cost money to use… yes everyone wants a piece of the pie… and most times it is expensive. I guess we are too used to electronic information to be free and we get frustrated when asked to pay. I have to use a VPN or the internet would be restricted to a much smaller pool and there would be no bloggin’ 🙂

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      • Good suggestion, especially for you while you are overseas. I can live with just downloading the books from B&N in the US onto my computer and then sideloading them onto the NOOK. With the Canadian Dollar so strong right now, this is a cheaper way to buy books than getting them from a Canadian supplier!
        Eventually I’ll probably buy the next generation of reader, something that works here in Canada.

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    • Hi Caroline – I agree that a book reader is not as good as a book, but my nook is a great way to store a whole bunch of free classics! I also find it a lot easier to read the nook when I am on the treadmill because I can make the print bigger.

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  2. What’s really stupid is that you can order books from Amazon and B&N, you know the real paper copies, which I have done for years, and have them sent to Canada with no problems. But, you cannot order an e-copy of the same book to use on a e-reader. I guess being able to enlarge the print and carrying several books in one small device is a crime! Getting old isn’t for the faint of heart!

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    • Hi Scruff – It isn’t easy to buy eBooks from B&N here in Canada, but it can be done. I had to set up my Barnes and Noble account with both a Canadian and American address, and I had to download the books onto my computer first and then sideload them onto the nook. (The American address is the address of a friend of mine.)
      I understand it is a much easier process if you are using the Kindle and ordering through Amazon. I have many Canadian friends who buy ebooks that way.

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