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Old 11-08-2010, 11:42 PM   #1
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Download *ePUB* to Computer via Browser?

I am using Safari on Mac OS X to access B&N. Any book I download comes in .pdb format and not ePUB. Even recent books, such as some of the free books from the deals sections d/l as .pdb only.

I thought B&N was moving to exclusively ePUB like Sony. I contacted them about this issue over 6 months ago, and they had no real answers. I figured I'd just wait for the transition to finish, and now I am sure it should be over -- and I'm only trying to access new books.

Is there a setting? Do I need to d/l the book from an app to get ePUB? I'm only interested in d/l to my computer, as I don't own a Nook at this point.

-Pie
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:55 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EatingPie View Post
I am using Safari on Mac OS X to access B&N. Any book I download comes in .pdb format and not ePUB. Even recent books, such as some of the free books from the deals sections d/l as .pdb only.

I thought B&N was moving to exclusively ePUB like Sony. I contacted them about this issue over 6 months ago, and they had no real answers. I figured I'd just wait for the transition to finish, and now I am sure it should be over -- and I'm only trying to access new books.

Is there a setting? Do I need to d/l the book from an app to get ePUB? I'm only interested in d/l to my computer, as I don't own a Nook at this point.

-Pie
Have you tried conversion software? I like Calibre myself, but I understand that other good ones are around.
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:36 AM   #3
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The problem is that the OSX Nook app does not handle ePubs, so Safari gets supplied with eReader ebooks instead.

Things I have heard might get you an ePub:

a) Download inside NOOKStudy.
b) Download with Firefox.
c) Download with any web browser using Wine, or any Windows Virtual PC.

The last one definitely works. Under Windows, for the past couple of months, I have always got ePubs from B&N.
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Old 11-09-2010, 02:08 AM   #4
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Yep, I tried it from Parallels/IE and indeed it gave me an ePUB.

I will give Firefox a shot, or change User Agent and see what happens.

-Pie
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:46 AM   #5
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I just installed an add-on called User Agent Switcher to my Firefox browser. Setting the user agent to IE 8 allowed me to download the.epub files from my B&N library. Previous to this, Firefox would only download the .pdb files.

I'm on a Mac, of course!
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
Things I have heard might get you an ePub:

a) Download inside NOOKStudy.
b) Download with Firefox.
c) Download with any web browser using Wine, or any Windows Virtual PC.

The last one definitely works. Under Windows, for the past couple of months, I have always got ePubs from B&N.
I faced the same problem and solved it using method a) via NookStudy. Works like a charm.
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EatingPie View Post
I am using Safari on Mac OS X to access B&N. Any book I download comes in .pdb format and not ePUB. Even recent books, such as some of the free books from the deals sections d/l as .pdb only.

-Pie
If I were you, I would go back and get all ePUBS for your purchased books (from B&N). From the looks of it, B&N isn't planning to support PDB anymore - nookCOLOR doesn't support it for instance. PDB might be a dead format soon (is there any other reader that really uses it (aside from old Palms)?)
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:08 PM   #8
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Jetbook Lite and Stanza support it, but yeah overall it is a dead format. I would definitely download them all as epubs. I converted all my mobi and eReader books from my Palm OS reading days to ePub a long time ago and now will not buy anything but epubs.
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:45 PM   #9
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Jetbook Lite and Stanza support it, but yeah overall it is a dead format. I would definitely download them all as epubs. I converted all my mobi and eReader books from my Palm OS reading days to ePub a long time ago and now will not buy anything but epubs.
I agree. I've gone back and re-downloaded all the books I bought from B&N as ePub on my work Windows machine, and do it everytime I buy a new one or get a new freebie. And I did the same for any of the Fictionwise MultiFormat purchases I made pre-Agency pricing. Too bad I had also bought so many DRM'd .pdb, as it was tedious to remove the DRM from so many books all at once, and not all of have them have converted to ePub cleanly.

I'll have to look into NOOKstudy, too. Might save me the effort of emailing the ones I download at work, which can be a pain. Some of the classic freebies were quite large files.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:00 PM   #10
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I just installed an add-on called User Agent Switcher to my Firefox browser. Setting the user agent to IE 8 allowed me to download the.epub files from my B&N library. Previous to this, Firefox would only download the .pdb files.

I'm on a Mac, of course!
You can also change User Agent in Safari, but you need to enable the Develop menu. To do so, go to Preferences->Advanced, and enable the option "Show Develop menu in menu bar" at the bottom.

Once you have the Develop Menu showing, the second item is a submenu allowing you to select various browsers, including IE 8.0.

I don't know why the Mac is limited to .pdb downloads. The newest version of the Nook Mac software supports ePUB. I was able to do the User Agent trick in Safari and open the ePUB in the Nook app.

-Pie

Last edited by EatingPie; 11-10-2010 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:01 PM   #11
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Mac users are limited to PDB downloads because the official B&N Reader (note, not a NOOK app like Windows users now have) crashes and burns whenever DRM-ed ePubs are involved, often on a random selection of ePubs with seemingly no particular pattern to the failures. Though it works quite well with non-DRM ePubs.

This prompted quite a spate of complaints on B&N's discussions boards, to the point where B&N, who had just switched over to All ePub! All the Time, finally reverted the Mac users back to head off those complaints.

And now they get new ones about how Mac users want to download ePubs, so they can't win, unless they put up a "choose your format" button on the My Library page, at which point someone will no doubt complain that's too difficult a concept and why can't B&N make downloading a simple 1-click process?!?!?

Incidentally, the release of NookStudy does not solve anything, because it is limited to 10.6 Snow Leopard Intel users and thus a large chunk of people with non-Intel and 10.5 or lower Macs are left out. The non-Intel Mac people, incidentally, had already been shut out by the most recent "upgrade" to the B&N Reader software, which dropped PPC support.

NookStudy also doesn't read one's old PDBs, which is something you'd think it would support, considering that a not-insignificant percentage of the "NookBook" listings say something along the line of "not compatible with Android client" or whatever, which is the secret code phrase for PDB-only, just as "not compatible with Mac or Blackberry clients" means ePub only.

Personally, I'm perfectly fine with the fact that they still offer PDB downloads to Mac users and that it's pretty easy to also get the ePubs from this platform if you're motivated enough.

The even older B&N eReader app which they used to have on the website and which is still available via the eReader.com website is the only really convenient way I can read my B&N "purchases" on my ancient 10.4 PPC PowerBook, short of stripping and loading them all up via Firefox's ePubReader add-on, or the awfulness that is Stanza's desktop app. But I believe I mentioned convenience, so strike that last part.

So now you know. And knowing is half the battle, as GI Joe would put it.
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:59 PM   #12
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Mac users are limited to PDB downloads because the official B&N Reader (note, not a NOOK app like Windows users now have) crashes and burns whenever DRM-ed ePubs are involved, often on a random selection of ePubs with seemingly no particular pattern to the failures. Though it works quite well with non-DRM ePubs.

This prompted quite a spate of complaints on B&N's discussions boards, to the point where B&N, who had just switched over to All ePub! All the Time, finally reverted the Mac users back to head off those complaints.

And now they get new ones about how Mac users want to download ePubs, so they can't win, unless they put up a "choose your format" button on the My Library page, at which point someone will no doubt complain that's too difficult a concept and why can't B&N make downloading a simple 1-click process?!?!?
As much as I agree that users can be whiny and ignorant, B&N could just choose the magic 3rd option and ... I dunno ... fix the MAC ereader . Just a thought .
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:39 AM   #13
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They've been promising a fixed and updated Mac version Real Soon Now since well before June. Somehow, I don't think they're going to get around to releasing it at any point before Xmas, and possibly not even after; though it would be nice to be pleasantly surprised.

Offering a download format choice when possible would be the path of least resistance and greater likelihood. Not that I think they'd do that either, given the pre-existing example of the stellar customer-friendly technical changes B&N's management has made to the Fictionwise ebook experience.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:11 AM   #14
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They've been promising a fixed and updated Mac version Real Soon Now since well before June. Somehow, I don't think they're going to get around to releasing it at any point before Xmas, and possibly not even after; though it would be nice to be pleasantly surprised.

Offering a download format choice when possible would be the path of least resistance and greater likelihood. Not that I think they'd do that either, given the pre-existing example of the stellar customer-friendly technical changes B&N's management has made to the Fictionwise ebook experience.
Their solution was to revert to the old dead format? Argh. It's like we're back in the "Ha Ha It's a Mac!" '90s. The Mac is (mostly) prime time these days, and even friggin Sony has a Mac app! Not to mention the low-level code (DRM decrypting, for example) should be portable to any platform, especially across Intel. Sheesh.

The solution is to strip the thrice-damned ignoble DRM and actually have a working ePUB on the Mac. And at that point, you can totally punt on the (let's face it) totally inadequate Nook App, and use any ePUB renderer. Heck even the Sony Library app is head and shoulders above the minimalist Nook app.

I've owned a Reader since the first US e-Ink device, the Sony PRS-500. From day one, I have been an advocate for a common format across all e-Readers. We need a break between hardware and software (you don't by BMG CDs and only play them only on Sony players -- they work for every manufacturer's CD players). So we have ePub which is almost there (damn you Kindle!), but then it's crippled by the two biggest players using different, incompatible DRM formats... for no justifiable reason.

Oops, that was a rant! I didn't mean to go there, but in my defense, this is my primary pet peeve with e-Readers, and something I consider a hinderance to large-scale acceptance.

-Pie

Last edited by EatingPie; 11-11-2010 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:53 AM   #15
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You can also change User Agent in Safari, but you need to enable the Develop menu. To do so, go to Preferences->Advanced, and enable the option "Show Develop menu in menu bar" at the bottom.

Once you have the Develop Menu showing, the second item is a submenu allowing you to select various browsers, including IE 8.0.

I don't know why the Mac is limited to .pdb downloads. The newest version of the Nook Mac software supports ePUB. I was able to do the User Agent trick in Safari and open the ePUB in the Nook app.

-Pie
Thank you for these instructions. I thought Safari was capable of this, but darned if I could figure out how to do it. So simple, too!
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