eReader: B&N Magazine Backups

When the B&N Nook Color was announced, one aspect that B&N really promoted was their line of color e-magazines. From National Geographic to cooking magazines to PC Gamer, you could receive these magazines for a few dollars a month (cancel at any time!) on your Nook Color. In time, the Nook for Android app was updated so that you didn't even need a Nook Color: you could read your Nook magazines on any Android tablet, including CM7-modded Nook Colors.

It was a very tempting deal, but the only problem for me at the time was that you couldn't easily backup your magazine content. I am probably one of maybe twenty people on this earth who cares, but I don't like buying data that I can't easily backup to my local computer and access later from a different device, if need be. So I finally sat down and figured out how to extract all the Nook magazine data that I have bought into a simple PDF form for backup to Calibre, and I'm going to share that method now.

What you will need for this method:
  1. An Android tablet. I used my CM7-modded Nook Color.
  2. Nook for Android app installed on the tablet. A tablet is necessary instead of a phone because the Nook for Android app for phones does not allow magazine downloading and therefore cannot be used for this backup process.
  3. The Titanium Media Sync app installed on the tablet. This is optional. If you're using a CM7-modded Nook Color, it can be tricky to access the memory card storage directly with your desktop PC. Titanium Media Sync simplifies this process.
  4. The Quick PDF Tools installed on your desktop PC. This is optional. Basically, we're going to use this tool to quickly turn a group of images into a single PDF file. Lots of tools exist to do this; I just happen to prefer this one.

Nook Magazine Download
Boot up your tablet and open the Nook for Android app. Your books and magazines should be listed in the Library area; click the green Download link for the magazine you want to backup and wait for it to download fully to your device.

Nook for Android Library

SD Card Storage
Once the magazine files are downloaded to your tablet, they are stored in the /nook directory on your SD card. We need to access them to bring them over to your desktop PC. If you're running a tablet where you can plug the device into your computer and access the SD contents directly, do so now and just copy over the /nook directory. If you're running CM7 off the SD card partition, it's a little hard to access the SD card contents directly, so I'm going to show you how to set up Titanium Media Sync to load your files into the cloud and then back on to the computer.

First, you're going to need a Dropbox account. You can find the details for setting that up here. Once the Dropbox account has been created and setup on your desktop PC, pull up Titanium Media Sync.

Titanium Media Sync

Configure Titanium Media Sync to talk to your Dropbox account, then long press the /nook folder (or, technically, the /nook/content folder if you want to save some time and space) in the SD card memory and long press a destination folder in your Dropbox account. Once this is complete, Titanium Media Sync will start copying over files from the Nook folder to your designated Dropbox folder once two conditions are met: (1) the tablet has a WiFi connection and (2) the tablet is plugged into the computer/wall charger.

Desktop Retrieval
Once you have the Titanium Media Sync is completed (this first step can take awhile, especially if you have a LOT of Nook magazines), it's time to access the content from your desktop PC. Pull up the Dropbox folder where your /nook/content is saved.


Those epub files you see in the /nook/content directory contain the text of the Nook magazines, but not the picture layout. You can drag and drop them into Calibre and see the results -- the epubs are great if you want to cite the magazine in a term paper and would prefer to copy-and-paste instead of retyping the magazine text, but not so great if you want to read the magazine in its "intended" form.

Pull open that Temp directory, and then the Drp folder.


These folders contain the pictorial content of the magazines. For this example, we'll open one of the National Geographic ones.

/nook/content/temp/drp/EPUB FOLDER/images/pages

Pull open the /images/pages folder in that magazine directory. This "pages" folder contains a big group of pictures: the pictures on the left in the screenshot above are full-sized magazine pages, and the pictures on the right in the screenshot with the "thumb" in the name are little thumbnail-sized pictures that the Nook app uses for browsing and navigation within the magazine.

Quick PDF Tools

Select all the pages pictures that don't have "thumb" in the name. I resize the folder so that all the full-sized pictures are in a thin column on the left and the thumb pictures are in a thin column on the right, and then just drag a selection box to grab all the full-sized pictures. Right-click on the first picture you selected -- which should say pg-01.jpg or something similar and select Quick PDF Tools --> Convert --> Image to PDF.

The Quick PDF Tools will ask if you want to convert all the images into a single PDF or into individual PDFs. We want the first option: Combine images into a single PDF. Select OK and choose a file name and location for Quick PDF to save your new PDF file.

Now you can open your new PDF file and there's the Nook magazine in all its compiled glory. You can even load the PDF into Calibre and load the PDF to another reader if you need or want to. Here is the same magazine on my eInk Sony PRS-950, as a PDF.

Cool, huh?


Frank said...

it sounds like too much work to me. Just let the cloud take care of it!

Tom Nook said...

Unlike Frank, I am impressed with the professional page you've produced and great deal of information within. I've bookmarked it. Good people like you help the rest of us, and I for one do appreciate it.

Ana Mardoll said...

Thank you, Tom Nook! (I must ask, are you THE Tom Nook? Did you survive The Terrible Secret of Animal Crossing after all?!)

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