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Using the NOOK App for Windows 8

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In April 2012, Microsoft and B&N inked a deal, and many speculated about what that deal meant. On November 13, 2012, the first concrete evidence appeared in a Windows 8 NOOK App. Patrick Kanouse will walk you through using this app and tell you why you'll probably see continued enhancements to it over time.

In April 2012, Microsoft and B&N inked a deal. Many speculated about what that deal meant. On November 13th, the first concrete evidence appeared in a Windows 8 NOOK App. This article will walk you through using this app. Given that it was just released, I'm sure we'll see continued enhancements to it over time.

The Basics

To obtain the app from the Windows Store, from the Charms bar, search for NOOK in the Store. Tap NOOK from the results to get to the NOOK App screen (see Figure 1). Tap Install. You'll see a notice that your NOOK App is installed, adding a tile to the Start screen.

Figure 1 The NOOK App in the Store

Like any tile on the Start screen, swipe down on it to see various options (see Figure 2). It features the standard tile options: Pinning/Unpinning, uninstalling, making smaller or larger, and turning off the live feature.

Figure 2 The NOOK App tile options

Tap the tile to launch the NOOK App. You are asked to enter your NOOK account or sign up for one. Enter your information and tap Sign In. If you don't have an account, tap Don't Have an Account? Sign Up and enter the requested information.

You see a Terms, License, and Privacy Policy screen. Tap Agree to move on. The screen loads and syncs your library with all your other devices and apps, so you can jump from your NOOK HD, where you were reading the spine-tingling horror novel, and pick up where you left off in the NOOK App on your Windows 8 tablet.

Your screen will now change to the Home screen, which prominently displays My Daily Shelf (see Figure 3).

Figure 3 The NOOK App Home screen

My Daily Shelf features the five most recent downloads and read items. Swipe left to see more options:

  • Just for You: A set of recommendations from B&N based on your past purchases. You can tap Just for You to see more recommendations. You can also tap one of the covers (either on the Home screen or in the larger list) to open up the NOOK Store with an opportunity to purchase the item (or get a sample). See "Shopping from the NOOK App" later in this chapter for more details about shopping.
  • Library: Books: Shows your NOOK books. Tap a cover to either download it (if it has not been downloaded yet) or start reading. You can also tap the word Books to be taken to your full library of NOOK Books. See "Reading on Your NOOK App" later for more details about reading your NOOK books.
  • Library: Magazines: Shows your NOOK magazines, if you have any. Tap a cover to either download it (if it has not been downloaded yet) or start reading. You can also tap the word Magazines to be taken to your full library of NOOK magazines. See "Reading on Your NOOK App" later for more details about reading your NOOK magazines.
  • Library: News: Shows your NOOK newspapers, if you have any. Tap a cover to either download it (if it has not been downloaded yet) or start reading. You can also tap the word News to be taken to your full library of NOOK newspapers. See "Reading on Your NOOK App" later for more details about reading your NOOK newspapers.
  • Library: Comics: Shows your NOOK comics, if you have any. Tap a cover to either download it (if it has not been downloaded yet) or start reading. You can also tap the word Comics to be taken to your full library of NOOK comics. See "Reading on Your NOOK App" later for more details about reading your NOOK comics.
  • Shop: You can continue to scroll right to see many options here. See "Shopping from the NOOK App" later in this chapter for more details about shopping.

From the Charms Bar's Settings selection, you have a few options. About will give you some details regarding which version of the app you have installed as well as providing a link to NOOK Support. If you tap Account, you can see who this NOOK App is currently registered to, as well as see existing gift card balances and add to it, change the default credit card used for the account, and sign out. Tapping Rate and Review will take you to the Windows Store where you will be able to give a rating and write a review of the Nook App for Windows 8 that will be posted to reviews for the app.

Browsing Your NOOK Library

Browsing your library is easy. After you tap Books, Magazines, and so on, just swipe left or right with your finger to scroll.

To read an ebook, you first need to download it to your device. You can easily tell whether a book has been downloaded. If a Download button appears, you have not downloaded it to your device. Just tap the button to do so. After the ebook has been downloaded to your device, tap the cover to open the book.

If you swipe down on a cover, an Options bar appears (see Figure 4). Here you can download a book if it is not yet downloaded, view details, pin to the Start Screen, Archive the book, or Sync that book. Also, if that cover is a sample, you will see an option titled Full Version Available, which after you tap it, opens a screen for you to purchase the full version.

Tip: Want to archive a bunch of books quickly? Swipe down on the cover of the first one. The Options bar appears. Then swipe down on additional covers. Tap Archive when you have selected all the books you want to archive.

Figure 4 The Options bar for a NOOK book

Tap View Details to see the Details screen (see Figure 5).

Figure 5 The Details Screen for a NOOK book

This screen will differ a bit from type of content to type of content. For books, you will have a Read option with a short description. To the right, any customer reviews that have been written are available (tap Reviews to see the full complement of reviews and the full review). Additionally, you'll see what other customers who purchased this item have purchased and what else the author has written; tap the cover to open the store. For magazines and newspapers, you will also see a View Issues button, which you can tap to be taken back to the appropriate library displaying the full complement of issues you own.

For magazines, the library functions are nearly identical. However, your magazines are grouped together by title, with the newest issue in the top left—if you have more than one (see Figure 6).

Figure 6 Your magazines

Your newspapers are set up like your magazines, while your comics are set up like your NOOK books.

From any of the libraries, if you swipe from the top edge down or the bottom edge up, you see additional options (see Figure 7).

Figure 7 Additional options

If you tap Home, you'll go back to the Home screen. If you tap Shop, you'll be taken to the NOOK Store. You are in the Library, so the button in the Library screen does not offer much functionality, but if you were reading a book or magazine, you could tap Library to be taken back to the Library. In the top right, you'll see what you are currently reading. Tap the cover to open that book.

At the bottom, you'll see some Filter and Sort options, along with a Sync button. If you tap Filter, you see the following choices:

  • All of Library: Tap this to see your entire library, regardless of type. Your magazines will appear at the end of the books, followed by newspapers and then comics.
  • Books: Tap this to view just your books.
  • Magazines: Tap this to view just your magazines.
  • News: Tap this to view just your newspapers.
  • Comics: Tap this to view just your comics.
  • Archived: Tap this to see a list of archived books, magazines, and so on. You can swipe down on a cover and tap Unarchive to remove it from this list.
  • Unsupported: Tap this to see a list of your content that is not supported at this time for reading on the NOOK App for Windows 8.

The Sort options allow you to sort the list of titles by Most Recent, Title, or Author. Most Recent is selected by default. Tap if you want to change to a different sorting method.

Tap the Sync button if you want to force sync your library with B&N and your other devices.

Reading Books, PagePerfect Books, and Newspapers in the NOOK App

To read an ebook in the NOOK App, just tap the cover image to open it in reading mode. When there, to move to the next page, swipe your finger from right to left. To move to the previous page, swipe your finger from left to right. The reading screen, however, offers more options than just reading (see Figure 8), which you can access by swiping down from the top of the screen or up from the bottom of the screen.

Figure 8 The NOOK App reading interface

Newspapers, however, offer a tweak on the swiping-through-pages paradigm (though you can still do that). Figure 9 shows a typical section page of a newspaper.

Figure 9 The USA Today news section page

The front page (and section pages) offer links to the articles. In Figure 9, "In Brief" is the article headline followed by a bit of teaser text. You can tap the article's headline to jump right to that article. When reading an article, you typically have links at the top of the page that will transport you quickly between articles and back to the section page.

If you do not see the surrounding bars in the reading screen, just tap the page, and they will appear. Before discussing some of these options, take a quick tour:

  • Cover: Tapping the downward arrow next to it opens the Table of Contents (see Figure 10). You can scroll and tap the appropriate link to go quickly to that spot in the ebook.
  • Figure 10 The NOOK App's Contents screen

  • Bookmark: Tapping this opens a list of bookmarks in this book. Tap a bookmark to jump to that location. Tap Clear All to remove all bookmarks from this ebook. Tap Remove All to confirm.
  • Home: Tapping this returns you to the Home screen.
  • Shop: Tapping this takes you to the NOOK Store.
  • Library: Tapping this returns you to your NOOK library.
  • Scroll Bar: Press and hold the button and drag to move quickly through the book. You can also tap a spot on the scroll bar to jump farther along.
  • Go Back: This icon appears when you have jumped to a different page using the Table of Contents, a bookmark, or the Go To Page option. Tap it to go back to where you just came from.
  • Text: Tapping this allows you to adjust the specific font, theme, margins, line spacing, font size, justification, rotation, and defaults.
  • Add Bookmark: Tapping this adds a bookmark to the current location in the ebook. You'll see a blue bookmark with the NOOK logo appear in the top right.
  • Go To Page: Tapping this opens a small box into which you can type a page number to be taken directly to that page.
  • View Details: Tapping this brings up a page with details related to the book.
  • Pin or Unpin: Tapping this opens the Pin screen, which allows you to pin this book directly to the Start screen. If this book is already pinned to the Start screen, tap Unpin and then Unpin from Start to remove it from the Start screen.

Adjusting Text Options

After tapping Text Options, you see a screen like Figure 11. The general purpose of this screen is to provide settings related to the reading experience in the NOOK App. To close the screen, tap anywhere outside of the Text Options screen.

Figure 11 The NOOK App's Text Options screen

The top-left set of icons determines line spacing. Think of this like single space, double space, and so on. The current setting is colored blue. Tap whichever you prefer. The screen adjusts.

Margins determine how close to the edge of the screen the text goes. The more "dark" space in the center, the more the text appears on the screen. The currently selected Margin setting is colored blue.

Depending on what the publisher of an ebook allows, you can adjust the font. You can scroll through the available list. (A dot appears to the right of the currently selected one, which is also colored blue.)

You have options between serif and sans serif fonts. Serif is a technical term that refers to the "hanging structure" on a letter. In Figure 11, if you look at the word Georgia, notice the little hanging things off the top of the G? That's a serif. Sans (French for "without") serif fonts lack these structures. In general, most people find reading serif fonts easier on the eyes. But go with whatever you prefer.

The Themes option provides a set of backgrounds and font colors. The default is normal, which is a white page with black text. The currently selected option has a dot to the left of the name and is colored blue. Select the theme you want, and the screen changes.

If you'd like, you can set Publisher Defaults to Yes, which will set the font, size, spacing, etc., to what the Publisher feels is optimal. You can change it to Off any time you want.

Clicking the A icon adjusts the font size. The current font size is a blue color. As you tap different sizes, the Reading screen adjusts.

Reading PagePerfect Books

PagePerfect books function the same way as regular ebooks, except for two things:

  • No Text: You cannot adjust font and margin settings in PagePerfect books, so the Text option is not available.
  • Zoom: When reading, you can pinch and zoom in or out to get closer into the text. You can also double-tap the screen to zoom in quickly and double-tap again to zoom back out.

Reading Magazines and Comics in the NOOK App

While you cannot read enhanced magazines (for example, Time), many magazines are available without video, etc. Magazines offer thumbnails that you can scroll through. To see that, just tap the screen to get the reading options (see Figure 12).

Figure 12 Reading a magazine

You can scroll through the thumbnails to see what is covered on those pages. Just tap the thumbnail you want to go to that page. Tap the downward arrow next to the cover to see a vertical scrolling list of the magazine's contents. Tap Bookmarks to see the bookmarks you've added to the magazine and tap a bookmark to jump to that page.

When reading an article, you can pinch and zoom in or out to get closer into the text. You can also double-tap the screen to zoom in quickly and double-tap again to zoom back out.

Shopping from the NOOK App

You can shop for new books, magazines, and newspapers directly within the NOOK App. You can get to the NOOK Store in one of two ways:

  • From the Home Screen: Scroll right until you see the Shop section.
  • From the Options bar: Tap Shop.

Either way, you land at the NOOK Store (see Figure 13). This screen is divided up into several parts.

Figure 13 The NOOK Store

You can tap Books, which takes you right into a list of current bestsellers. You can scroll right to see even more options. The basic gist of all of these is a series of lists: Most Popular Magazines, Favorite Comics, National Book Aware Nominees, and so on. You can tap each category to drill further down and see what content is available for purchase.

Additionally, you have NOOK channels, which are lists of related titles. Channels are descriptive and—I have found—useful ways of categorizing titles. Instead of just a big collection of history books, you have History by Plot, Notorious American History, and History Buff. The Channels descriptions are themselves evocative of the types of content you will find. Additionally, Channels allow for titles from multiple genres to appear (Science-Fiction Science-Fact is a good example).

Farther to the right, you have large categories: Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Kids, and Comics. Again, you can drill down further to get to specific listings. Once there, you can tap the downward arrow to see more categories (see Figure 14). These are further refinements. Tap to your heart's content.

Figure 15 Refining categories in books

If you want to search the NOOK Store for a specific title, from the Charms bar, enter the criteria in the Search box and tap Search.

Once you get to a book you like, tap the cover and you are taken to a Details screen (see Figure 15).

Figure 15 Book Details screen

Reviews gives you an idea of what others have to say about the book. Customers Also Bought shows books that others have purchased who also purchased the one you are looking at. More by This Author shows additional titles that that author has written.

If you want to sample the content before purchasing, tap Free Sample, and a sample downloads to your app and other devices. If you want to buy the book, tap the Buy button and then tap Confirm. The Free Sample and Buy buttons are replaced by the single Read button.

Magazines and newspapers offer Free Trials instead of Free Samples (see Figure 16).

Figure 16 Magazine Details screen

If you tap Free Trial, you get the current issue free, which is downloaded to your app and devices. After 14 days, you will be charged an ongoing rate for the subscription. If you want to cancel your subscription, you'll need to cancel your subscription at BN.com. If you want to buy the current issue, tap Current Issue and then tap Confirm. This adds that issue to your library. You will not automatically receive the next issue. For that, you must subscribe. If you have never subscribed to the newspaper or magazine, you can tap Free Trial and then tap Confirm to begin your trial.

When you subscribe to a newspaper or magazine, you receive a 14-day free trial. If you cancel your subscription within that 14-day period, you will not be charged. If you cancel after the 14-day trial period, you will be refunded a prorated amount based on when you cancel.

You can use a trial subscription only once for any particular item. For example, if you subscribe to The Wall Street Journal and cancel your subscription within the 14-day trial period, you will be charged beginning immediately if you were to subscribe to The Wall Street Journal again because you have already taken advantage of a trial subscription.

What About LendMe?

At the time of writing, you can read LendMe titles that others loan you, but you will need to accept the request on a NOOK device or at BN.com. When you do so, the book will download to your NOOK App for Windows 8.

Unfortunately, you cannot offer to lend books to any of your friends from the app itself. You can from a NOOK device or BN.com, and when you do so, you will not be able to read the book until the lending period expires—just like a normal LendMe book.

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