When Did B&N Remove Nook for PC and Nook for Mac Again?

Nook for PC

Back in June B&N caused quite a commotion when they abruptly removed the Nook for PC and Nook for Mac programs from their website, making it so that people could not easily download and read their purchased Nook books and periodicals on a computer.

In fact B&N received so much negative attention about it that they eventually ended up bringing back the Nook for PC and Nook for Mac programs for users to download. But that move was only temporary, as it turns out.

A couple weeks ago I noticed that Nook for PC and Nook for Mac were once again missing from Barnes and Noble’s Nook reading apps page. They’ve probably been missing again for a long time and it’s gone unnoticed. If B&N thinks they can get away with it this time without any bad PR they are mistaken.

Like last time, the programs are not listed anywhere on B&N’s website, but you can still download them if you happen to know the exact url:

Nook for PC

Nook for Mac

This is a bigger deal than it may sound like for the simple fact that Barnes and Noble is removing functionality from their ebookstore. Whether or not this has a direct impact on how you read ebooks isn’t important. For people who made purchases with the idea that they could download and read their Nook books on a computer, they are being seriously shafted.

The biggest problem with Barnes and Noble’s ebooks is that they contain different DRM that makes them incompatible with most dedicated ebook readers and reading apps. You pretty much have to own a Nook device or use a Nook app to read ebooks purchased from B&N. That’s a huge limitation. And if you bought ebooks in the past when those programs were available you would have been able to read Nook books on a computer. But not anymore. Only if you own a Windows 8 computer.

Since Microsoft gave B&N a bunch of money, the only computer-based reading program they care about is the one for Windows 8, which still only represents a tiny percentage of overall usage. That’s right. B&N chooses to ignore over 90% of the population. No wonder their business is sinking.

The folks at B&N will tell you that PC and Mac users can still use Nook for Web as an alternative, but from my experience that’s a sorry alternative. Not only does Nook for Web require an internet connection to use, you can’t download ebooks to read offline, there are very few features, it’s slow, and worst of all not all Nook books are compatible. Not even close. About one third of my Nook books won’t work with Nook for Web at all.

22 Responses to “When Did B&N Remove Nook for PC and Nook for Mac Again?”

  1. I would point out that that Nook books are still downloadable from the Web and Nook DRM is device independent so it can be stripped on any machine (you just need to remember the name and credit card number you used to buy the book with) you choose.

  2. They are still availble on the BN.COM website. If you select NOOK then choose moblile NOOK apps.

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/nook-mobile-apps/379003593

  3. It looks to me that B&N is trying to force people to use their browser based readers, which includes Safari, Firefox and Chrome (as well as IE), which which, in theory would give Mac and PC (and Linux) users access to their books.

    But in practice this will limit non Nook users to using computers that have access to the internet, and a stable browser.

    As an owner of two Nook devices, I find this to be intolerable. And as an owner of a Nook HD+, I have found myself wondering how to get my books. I have hundreds in the Nook format, tens in the Kindle format, a bunch in the Google Play format, and a handful in Kobo and other formats.

    If this is going to be the official Barnes & Nobel policy, then MY official policy is going to be to NOT puchase ANYMORE Nook books. I’d already come to terms that most Nook books were going to always be more expensive than those from other vendor’s, but now even if the Nook books are cheaper, I’m going to get them elsewhere. I refuse to support a vendor that abuses their customers.

    - James K
    (Nook Color, Nook HD+)

    • Really, “abuses their customers?” That seems a bit of hyperbole. Their move doesn’t surprise because more and more people are moving towards mobile devices and many people I know use their phones and/or tablets for most of what they need to do. I know several that don’t even own a PC or a laptop anymore. I still have a laptop but rarely use it and am seriously considering replacing my laptop with an iPad because I do just about everything on my iPad mini that I did on my laptop. I do think in time, there won’t be much available for a laptop or a PC other than the standard software. Mobile devices is where consumers are gravitating towards and that is where the product development and app development is going to follow. I don’t B&N is “abusing” its customers. No, I think they made a business decision, more than likely based on user numbers and if those numbers came in on the low side, those still using the PC app or the Mac app lost out. Sad but true.

  4. Hi Nate. When is your review of the KPW2 coming out?

  5. B&N removed the apps only a couple months after they restored the apps.

  6. Adobe Digital Editions is able to read B&N e-books with DRM. But as far as I know, it can’t download them from B&N — you have to do that yourself.

    I haven’t tried it myself, but I’m told that Calibre can download e-books from B&N. However, it can’t read them if they have DRM.

    You also can download e-books from B&N directly from a web browser. I’ve heard that this doesn’t always work as well as it might — meaning sometimes it doesn’t work at all — and to make for more fun the file name is just the ISBN-13.

  7. Fortunately I have the executable file stored on my PC since my daughter needed to install the app recently and found it was not on the website AGAIN. Our household has 7 woeking Nook devices and I personally have hundreds of Nook books. The Nook for PC app is essential IMO. I don’t plan to go to Windows 8. My husband’s PC has it and I dislike it. I am sticking with 7, thank you very much, and I know I am not in the minority.

    I want to download my books via the app for many reasons. I don’t want to have to individually download them via browser. That is a PITA. Also the file names are hard to read. I want to be able to manage my purchases as I choose and not be constrained to using a browser and an internet connection. I don’t use Nook for PC for reading but managing my downloads and then adding them to Calibre for managment.

    If they continue making this kind of boneheaded move, I will be much less motivated to continue purchasing books from them. I would rather not do that but I will if they make it so that I can’t easily maintain my own purchases without herculean efforts. I love their devices but they are starting to piss me off. ;-)

  8. Oh and don’t talk to me about ADE. I HATE that software with a passion. :-/

  9. B&N have done some odd stuff the past few years. They bought out and closed down my favorite independent online eBooksite that I’ve used ssince the Palm Pilot days, giving a few weeks notice for downloading several hundred books. (I’m having brain flatulance and can’t remember the site name, sorry.)

  10. There is one significant difference between this time and the last time. The last time they removed the software I could not download books even though I had the software already installed. This time at least they did not prevent downloads by user who are already using the software.

    While this is not ideal, I can understand give the current climate, why B&N would want to no longer support the PC and MAC software. It would be better if they just announced it though instead of attempting to do it “under the covers”.

  11. I just went to the BN website. I typed Nook for pc in the search box and up came nook for PC,Nook for Win 7. click nook for PC choice and a down load option shows.

    Version:2.5.5.9347 Updated:November 11, 2011
    Required System:
    Windows 2000/
    XP/Vista/Windows 7
    No problems.

  12. Even tho I still have & use Nook for PC (never noticed it was gone)I put the above file in a folder just in case. I’ve gotten (purchased & free) quite a few ebooks from B&N as they (so far, so good)don’t seem to care to take the time to DRM the cheap seats. But when I first got my Sony eReader I purchased ebooks from B&N with a gift card my son gave me the same Xmas for that purpose. Fortunately, B&N refunded (to the card, of course)and I got a few “real” books I’d been wanting for collections from a few authors.