I picked up a Nook Simple Touch on a visit to the USA – it’s a very nice, cheap e-ink reader. I had never really considered buying one since I already used iBooks on the iPad quite happily, but it turns out that the Nook’s a lot nicer if you’re reading for long periods – the e-ink display means less eye strain, and it’s much lighter. I never considered my iPad to be particularly heavy until I had been holding it for hours during a long flight over the Pacific…
The Nook uses the exact same book format as the iPad – ePub. It can handle PDFs just fine, too. Most of my books are DRM-free, but a few have copy protection, so won’t work. Also, anything with embedded sound/video isn’t going to work. But 99.9% of my collection can be read on the Nook with no problems at all.
However, since it’s not an Apple device, it obviously doesn’t integrate quite as well with iTunes. When you plug it into your Mac via USB, the storage will show up in Finder as a FAT32 drive (or two, if you added an microSD card). You could manually copy all the .epub files across to that drive, but that would be tedious.
So I knocked up a one-liner to rsync my iBooks library to the SD card on my Nook, and figured I would post it here in case anyone finds it useful.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Most of the above should be self-explanatory – on the —size-only option, rsync will normally check whether a file’s timestamp matches at source and destination. If not, it’ll re-transfer the file. Unfortunately FAT32 doesn’t store very accurate timestamp information – it rounds times to the nearest 2 seconds. So a timestamp check against a file on a real FS (HFS+ in this case) will often fail. That —size-only option fixes this.
The —delete option means that anything I deleted in iTunes will be deleted on the Nook as well when I sync it.
I have a few books that aren’t useful on the Nook – Kevin Smith’s “Tough Sh*t (Enhanced Edition)” has embedded videos at the top of each chapter, for example. That’s not going to work on a Nook, so I don’t bother transferring it. Same with the DRM-laden free copy of Winnie the Pooh that comes with iBooks. If you have books that don’t work on the Nook, add a line to exclude them from the copy.