The B&N Nook Store Leaks Like a Sieve

About a month ago I brought you news about a recently closed security leak in the B&N Nook Store, which the numerous comments have indicated was a common occurrence. Today I learned that B&N didn't close the leak quite as thoroughly as they thought they did.

B&N isn't supposed to sell ebooks outside the US, but as it turns out their security to block international sales breaks on a fairly regular basis. That's pretty well known among B&N's international customers, but what some might not know is that Barnes & Noble isn't very thorough in fixing their security issues.

My source for the last story, Antonio Hermida, was playing around with the Nook Store today when he found another security issue. He's still in South America, so he's really not supposed to be able to buy ebooks form B&N nor is he supposed to be able to open and read the ones he bought before. But it turns out he can.

While B&N blocked him accessing the 2 ebooks he bought via his account page, Antonio found that he could still search for the ebooks from in the Nook Store and download them from the each title's listing pages. He reports that he has complete access to the ebooks and can even share them with other registered users.

Do you know how I used to respect B&N as a tech company? Well, clearly their best people aren't working on keeping their website up and running.

On the other hand, perhaps this is a good thing; B&N is surreptitiously building a customer base that will be eager to come out if the shadows when B&N finally expands internationally.

 

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

7 Comments

  1. Geert11 April, 2012

    Unfortunately the information mentioned in this article is wrong.
    There are only restrictions when buying ebooks (because B&N does not have the rights to sell ebooks outside the US). There are no restrictions when downloading content from your B&N account. All ebooks that are in your B&N library can be downloaded anywhere in the world.
    I
    From B&N’s traveling faq (1):
    “Yes, bring along your NOOK so you can enjoy favorite books, periodicals and apps on the road. Once you have purchased a book, periodical or app in the United States using a BN.com account that has a U.S. billing address, you can download and read your purchases anywhere in the world.”.

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/Support-NOOK-Tablet/379003185/

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder11 April, 2012

      He doesn’t have a U.S. billing address, which is likely why he was blocked.

      Reply
  2. Tim11 April, 2012

    The B&N Store “leaks” a lot more than you describe in your articles. I bought my Nook on a trip to the US and use it as my main ebook reader in Germany. There is one small trick necessary to use the Nook store but all in all for english ebooks I don’t really find it less convenient than shopping in a German ebook store and sideloading the books. I’m a little hesitant to go into details because obviously I don’t want them to close the leaks due to unwanted public attention.

    However I fail to see the big problem about the leaks. I even think B&N might be aware of them and tolerate them for now. If I buy an ebook at the Nook store B&N earns money, the publisher owning the right’s in the US earns money, and the author earns money. None of them seem to have an incentive to stop this as long as the publisher holding the rights in Germany doesn’t complain to much.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous Coward11 April, 2012

    I’m an international user and frankly I don’t understand why the publishing industry is so fixated on not selling to international users. Dead tree books from US are generally cheaper outside US, due to less royalties I think, so theoretically the publishers should be getting more royalties by selling US ebooks outside them outside US (I do ship dead tree books from US). The only reason I can think of is that there are middleman who are controlling the distribution of books outside of US and they are protecting their turf.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder11 April, 2012

      It happened because local ebookstores (in the UK, I think) couldn’t compete on price with US ebookstores, who usually sold ebooks for less. So instead the UK stores started pressuring publishers to block those sales.

      Ayn Rand, eat your heart out.

      Reply
  4. MikFinkel12 April, 2012

    I agree with Tim. It is just possible that B&N does not want to close these loop holes.
    Tho it does appear that just the sale is not allowed, possibly the downloading of already purchased is O.K.

    Reply
  5. Tom12 April, 2012

    I think calling it a security leak is a bit over the top. B&N needs to maintain the ability to allow US customers who happen to be traveling overseas to access their digital library (something they have promised). There will always be people who look for (and sometimes find) ways to sneak in and buy books. If this happened in a bricks and motor store (a traveler on holiday buying a physical book) no one would even bat an eyelash. This makes it less a security leak and more a minor oversight (a minor oversight that no one really has an incentive to fix).

    Also B&N looks to be expanding into several markets so this most likely be a moot point in the very near future.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top
%d bloggers like this: