Root Your Nook Simple Touch with Glow Light [Guide]
I’ve previously showed how to jailbreak your Apple TV 2 to make it the ultimate video streaming device. I wanted to do something similar for an e-ink reader which is why I came across the Barnes & Noble’s Nook Simple Touch with Glow Light. It’s a very versatile reader that supports ePub and PDF file formats, has a built-in Glow Light technology, and most importantly, can be rooted revealing the Android operating system (and thus allowing you to install apps from the Google Play store).
But you may ask, why buy an e-ink device when you can get a tablet like an Apple iPad or Amazon Fire for the same price? Simply put, I wanted a dedicated book reading device that would allow me to read for extended periods of time without eye strain. E-ink does have some advantages over traditional displays:
- Low power consumption. E-ink only consumes power when it refreshes so you can use the device for several weeks before requiring recharging.
- Glare free. Text appears crisp and clear regardless if you are viewing it in broad daylight. It’s is if you’re reading from an actual book.
- No eyestrain. Doesn’t rely on a back light to display text so you don’t have light directed into your eye which causes fatigue.
The rooting process, although slightly longer, was essentially pain-free. So if you’re still interested, you can view the full guide after the break.
What you will need:
- Nook Simple Touch with Glow Light. Since the device isn’t available outside the United States. I had to purchase mine from eBay. Update: This guide was tested with 1.1.5 firmware. Users with newer versions have reported issues so my suggestion is to downgrade if possible. You can check your firmware by going to your device settings page.
- 2GB+ MicroSD card. This is needed to store the Android image to your device. 2GB or more should suffice.
- MicroSD Card Reader
- USB Cable
- Download and install Winimage (link)
- Google Account (required to enable the Google Play Store fix)
You will also need the following files:
- Clockwork recovery mod (original thread). I used sd_2gb_clockwork-rc2.zip (link) but you don’t require exactly a 2GB card, anything higher will work as well.
- Glownooter 1.5.26 (link)
- Google Play Store Fix (link)
- The first thing you have to do is make a backup image of your Nook. This is IMPORTANT in case something goes wrong during the rooting process, you may end up with a BRICKED unit. Do not proceed to the next step until you do so! You can learn how to backup your Nook here.
- We’ll need to prep the MicroSD card. Extract the Clockwork recovery mod file and save it to a file location. You should have a .img file.
- Insert the MicroSD card to your computer via the SD card reader if your computer doesn’t have one built it. Format the MicroSD card but be warned, you will lose whatever is already on the card so back it up beforehand! You should not use your Nook as a card reader!
- With your MicroSD card now clean, open up WinImage and select ‘Disk’ -> ‘Restore Virtual Disk Image on Physical Drive…’ and select the drive letter associated with the MicroSD card and hit ‘OK’. Now locate the the folder were you extracted the 2gb_clockwork-rc2.img file and select the file. If you do not see it, make sure file type is set to ‘All files’. Confirm and the .img file will be written to the card.
- Once the CWM image has been written, copy over both the Glownooter and Google Play Store Fix files to the MicroSD card. Keep both files in .zip format. You can now eject the MicroSD card.
- Shut down your Nook fully by holding down the power button and confirming that you want to power down. Then insert the CWM MicroSD card into your Nook. Power your Nook back on and you should see the clockworkmod logo followed by a menu screen. You can control the menu screen with the Nook buttons as follows:
Top Right Button: Up
Bottom Right Button: Down
Top Left Button: Back
‘n’ Button on Front: Select
Power Button: Toggle Display
- Use the Nook buttons to scroll through the clockworkmod menu and highlight ‘Install Zip from SD Card’, press the ‘n’ button to select it. Then select ‘Choose from Zip from SD Card’ and locate the ‘ glownooter-1-5-26.zip’ file you saved on the MicroSD card and select it. Select ‘Yes’ and the Nook will begin the root process.
- Once it is complete, remove the MicroSD card, back out to the main clockwordmod menu and select ‘Reboot System Now’. Your Nook will reboot and you will be presented with the Android setup screen!
- From the Android setup screen, you can skip the sign-in process and just hit continue. You will be prompted to select a launcher so select the ADW launcher and you’ll now be taken to the Android home screen underneath the regular Nook application.
- Success! Your Nook is finally rooted. You can use the ‘n’ button to take you back to the Nook interface and the ADW launcher on the right to take you to the Android home screen.
Although your unit is now rooted, access to the Google Play Store may not work yet. To fix this, use the following to enable it.
Google Play Store Fix Guide:
- From the Android home screen, select the App Drawer icon on the bottom center screen and start up the YouTube app. Select ‘My Channel’ in the app’s menu and enter your Google credentials. Accept the permissions request and then exit the app.
- Launch the Gmail app, go to the app’s menu and select ‘Refresh’. You may not notice anything. Regardless, just exit the app.
- Power off the Nook and insert the clockworkmod MicroSD card again. We will now install the Google Play Store fix.
- Power your Nook back on and you should see the clockworkmod logo followed by a menu screen. Use the Nook buttons to scroll through the clockworkmod menu and highlight ‘Install Zip from SD Card’, press the ‘n’ button to select it. Then select ‘Choose from Zip from SD Card’ and locate the ‘beta5-1XWUMFTouch-PART-2-END.zip’ file you saved on the MicroSD card and select it. Select ‘Yes’ let the file be installed.
- Once it is complete, remove the MicroSD card, back out to the main clockwordmod menu and select ‘Reboot System Now’. Your Nook will reboot and you will be presented with the Android home screen again. At this point, you can re-format your MicroSD card so you can use it normally again. Note: In my case, my Nook didn’t reboot automatically to the Android screen so I just manually rebooted it by holding down the power button for a few seconds to power it off and then back on.
- Start up the Google Play Store App and enter your Google account. Note: The account you add here cannot be removed (until you decide to re-install android again) so make sure you choose wisely.
- Success! The Google Play Store should now be available and working, however you will need to do few tweaks to get the search function working.
Google Play Store Search Workaround
- The first thing you will notice is that the search function of the Google Play Store doesn’t work so we’ll need an alternative. You’ll want to install Opera Mobile. So start up the Google Play Store app, Select ‘Apps’ -> ‘Communication’ -> ‘Top Free’ and locate Opera Mobile and install it.
- Start up Opera Mobile, and do a search for ‘searchmarket app’ and the first result should direct you to this app (link). Install it from the Google Play Store.
- Once done, close the browser and open your App Drawer again, select the Nook Color Tools app, and select the option ‘Allow Non-Market Apps to Install Apps from Outside the Google AppStore.’ Then de-select it again.
- Success! You can now use the SearchMarket apps to find and install apps from the Google Play Store.
Notable Apps to Install
Now that you can search and install apps, the following are some recommended to complement your Nook.
- Amazon Kindle (Amazon’s own dedicated reading app, Note: You will need version 3.1 or lower to work with the Nook link)
- Kobo Reader (Kobo’s own dedicated reading app link)
- Aldiko (ePub reader with many view settings, Note: You will need version 2.0 or lower to work with the Nook link)
- Cool Reader (Another good ePub reader, link)
- Mango (Online manga viewer, a must-have for manga fans link)
Hopefully that covers enough to unlock the full potential of your Nook. Still unsure about anything? Be sure to leave a comment below!