Monday, January 19, 2015

A New Way to Download ePub NOOKBooks from Barnes and Noble

Back in September, Barnes and Noble removed the ability to download DRM'd ePubs directly from their site. If you are still using NOOK for PC or NOOK for Mac, you might be able to use them to download your newly purchased books and then find the ePubs in some obscure directory on your machine. However, that doesn't help Linux users. Moreover, those Desktop apps are not supported anymore, and so it is not an ideal solution.

 Barnes and Noble NOOK Books

So what do you do? If you have an Android device (in principle, you could use an Android emulator as well), you can download the NOOK e-reader Android app and, through a few steps, get the same ePubs you used to download. Here's how you do it:

  1. Download and install the NOOK e-reader Android app on your Android device
  2. Open the NOOK e-reader app and find your library with your newly purchased book
  3. Select "Download" to cache the book locally on the device, and wait for the download to finish
  4. Once the download is finished, open a file manager application like ES File Explorer and navigate to
    You should find your NOOK book ePubs in that folder. That is, find the Nook folder in your internal storage, and then find the content folder inside it.
  5. You can use your file manager to copy those ePubs out of that folder, or you can "Share" them to another installed app like Dropbox or Google Drive so that you can easily get them on other devices or your Desktop computer
Once you have the ePubs on another device, you can do whatever you used to do with them when you could download them directly from the NOOK library on-line in your web browser.

[ Side note: You might try to plug your Android device into your computer and use MTP to access /sdcard/Nook/content directly from your Desktop and copy files out of it. However, it's possible that the ePubs won't be accessible this way. In fact, the might not even show up in the file listing. So you might be stuck using a file manager on your device. ]

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dollar Shave Club: My review and a cheaper alternative

I recently signed up for the Dollar Shave Club (DSC), which is a site that lets you paying $6 every 1 or 2 months for 4 razors by mail (and you can pause your subscription at any time). It turns out that you can get the exact same razors for much cheaper with no monthly subscription so long as you're willing to buy in bulk. Apparently DSC gets its razors from Dorco USA, which you can buy directly from on-line. In fact, you can buy retail handles with trial razors from Dorco too. For example, for $6, you can try out a Dorco handle and two razors, and then you can buy 36 replacement cartridges for less than $1/razor.

I tried my "4X" DSC (or Dorco USA) razor for the first time this weekend. It was an OK razor. It had a nice heavy handle, but the angle of the pivoting head was not as steep as I'd like, and the moisturizing strip was far too thick. Consequently, it was very awkward to get into small nooks -- like under the nose. The "4X" razor doesn't have a trimming edge either (the more expensive 6-blade "Executive" model does), which would really improve matters. But after the shave, my face felt pretty good. It just took a lot longer to get through a full shave. So I'm not sure I can fully recommend these razors over, say, Schick Quattro Titanium disposable razors, which actually have a trimming edge and are pretty cheap from local stores or from Amazon (around $7/3 razors).

DSC also sent me a tester of their "Dr. Carver's Easy Shave Butter," which actually burned my face a bit as it went on (but I have sensitive skin). My face was fine afterward. But using Nivea For Men Active3 Body Wash for Body, Hair & Shave worked just as well without the sting. So I'm not sure I can recommend the Shave Butter either.

So I'm torn. It's possible that the 6-blade+edging "Executive" unit will be better. Either way, in the long run, it's cheaper to buy from Dorco USA directly, and I like the idea of dropping the subscription service. Dorco USA also sells other razor models and even disposable models. They also sell razors designed for women, whereas DSC just tells women to buy the 4X. The 4X has a handle which is somewhere between what you'd want for the face and the leg, but I think it's biased toward face shaving. So the lady's models at Dorco USA are definitely recommended if you need to shave legs.

So that's my brief review. tl;dr -- Check out DORCO if you like DSC's blades but don't like the subscription service.