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B&N Could Only Transfer One in Ten of My eBooks From Fictionwise to Nook

What with the news last night that Barnes & Noble is shutting down Fictionwise, their lesser ebookstore, it should come as no surprise today that B&N is trying to help customers move their accounts from the soon to be defunct Fictionwise and get the contents transferred over to the Nook Store.

B&N sent out an email this morning to everyone who had an account at Fictionwise. If you haven’t seen that email yet then I’d strongly urge you to go looking for it; it contains what looks to be a custom link which won’t work if copied and shared.  You need that link (and an account at B&N) to start the transfer process.

It’s a decent thing for B&N to do, and if the process had worked better, I would be ecstatic. But as it stands the transfer process was a failure. I’m missing the vast majority of the ebooks I bought at Fictionwise.

Over the past 6 years I have bought 422 titles at Fictionwise. Yes, that number is as startling for me as it is for some of my readers; I didn’t realize it was quite so high.

Of those 422 ebooks, 329 were DRM-free, and here’s how the DRMed titles broke out:

  • 9 eReader
  • 36 MSReader
  • 11 Epub

There was also an unknown number of Mobipocket ebooks, but I cannot access those anymore anyway so let’s leave them out.

Now, I would not expect B&N to transfer the MSReader ebooks, but I do think they should have managed the Epub, eReader, and DRM-free ebooks. That should save most of my investment and would be more than enough for B&N to come out ahead. It would have successfully tied me and most readers to the B&N store and given us a reason to keep shopping there.

I started the transfer process 3 hours ago and thirty new ebooks showed up almost immediately. But that was 3 hours ago; guess how many new ebooks I have in my Nook account now?


Not 130, not 230, not 300. Thirty.

B&N could only transfer about 9% of my Fictionwise account. That is so far short of acceptable that I do not know of an adjective to use to describe it. Useless would be a good possibility; Barnes & Noble has guaranteed that I am still going to have to do the work myself to rescue the ebooks I bought.

But I suppose I shouldn’t curse them too much; I was expecting to have to rescue my ebooks myself anyway; this failed transfer merely confirmed it.

In any case, I’m posting this warning not to bash B&N but to make sure my readers know about this issue. Please do everyone a favor and pass it around.

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Mike Cane November 16, 2012 um 11:39 am

So you’ll Calibre what you can over to ePub?

Nate Hoffelder November 16, 2012 um 12:25 pm

I think I may have already saved most all of it already, but I plan to go through it a second time just to be sure.

Joanna November 16, 2012 um 12:01 pm

B&N could transfer 0% of my books because I am in Canada…

Nate Hoffelder November 16, 2012 um 12:10 pm

Oh, shit. I hadn’t even thought about that.

Clytie Siddall November 16, 2012 um 10:27 pm

Since the majority of English-speakers live outside the U.S., it shouldn’t surprise publishers and ebook-retailers that they have a great many would-be customers out here, but somehow many just don’t get it.

They impose geolims, and in the case of B&N, they refuse to allow us to create accounts. I live in Australia, have been on Fictionwise since my Palm days, and have a couple of thousand purchased eBooks listed there. How many can I migrate to B&N? Zero.

Yes, I’ve got most of them backed up anyway, will grab the rest, and can convert the Multiformat ones via Calibre. But it would have been useful to have access to the "offered" migration option, and not to lose DRM titles again. After I lost hundreds of Secure Mobipocket purchased eBooks in the move to iOS (Amazon refuses to allow a client reader for this format on iOS), for DRM titles I focussed on Secure eReader, because that format had ebook clients on most platforms, Fictionwise was going strong, and it seemed the best bet at the time. Now I lose _those_ hundreds of purchased eBooks.

You have to wonder whom the term "Secure" is supposed to reassure, because from my experience, it certainly isn’t the purchaser.

D you think your Kindle or Nook DRM titles are safe? For how long?

fjtorres November 17, 2012 um 7:09 am

Apprentice Alf is your friend. He can help with eReader issues. (Ditto for Mobi DRM.)
If there ever was an ethical use for deDRM’ing this is it.
For multiformat, you can batch download up to 100 titles at once in either epub or mobi so Calibre conversion isn’t strictly needed.
A pain, yes.
And the rush job shutdown more so.
The least they could’ve done is keep the bookshelf servers running an extra year.

Craig Peterson November 16, 2012 um 12:27 pm

In spite of using the same email address for both sites, it just tells my my email address doesn’t match their records, so I’m in the 0% club as well. Fortunately, I’ve ripped every ebook I have into calibre, so it doesn’t affect me. That does remind me to look into getting my books out of though.

jmurphy November 16, 2012 um 12:47 pm

827 books.


Nate Hoffelder November 16, 2012 um 1:05 pm

Out of how many?

jmurphy November 16, 2012 um 2:23 pm

Sorry, I meant I have bought 827 books over the last 12 or so years, and can transfer none!

flyingtoastr November 16, 2012 um 1:24 pm

BN can’t transfer books they don’t legally have the licence to sell.

Brian November 16, 2012 um 1:32 pm

That’s true, or is it? Out of the 19 they transferred for me one is from a publisher that went out of business a few years ago and the authors got their rights back. Another two are now with a different publisher so???

Also none of my 440 from what I can tell are on the list of books they published as not being available for transfer AND they’re happily trying to sell me books as recommendations that still sit in my FW account.

Hopefully it’s just a glitch or taking some time for other titles to transfer. Otherwise what could come off as a very nice gesture and could gain B&N new customers could end up blowing up in their faces.

I’m not too worried for myself as I have backups of everything I’ve purchased there.

Nate Hoffelder November 16, 2012 um 2:29 pm

True, but my collection is mainly mainstream SF, mystery, etc. Surely B&N has the license to sell those titles?

And even if they didn’t, B&N has owned Fictionwise for over 3 years now. Why have they not pursued the Fictionwise specific publishers and gotten them to switch over?

Brian November 16, 2012 um 1:27 pm

19 out of 440 here.

Ralph Hummel November 16, 2012 um 2:16 pm

This is eaxctly why DRM is a total waste of money for publishers and ebook sellers. It can be removed 99% of the time anyway if the user is a little bit tech-savy, but will piss of big way the honest user who is not.
If I were one of those users of the later category, I’d sue B&N, fictionwise (or what’s left of it) and any of their directors personally for 1st degree theft!

Bill Smith November 18, 2012 um 11:54 am

"DRM…it’s for suckers!" TM

An honest branding scheme if ever there was one.

This whole situation is truly, totally bogus. I hope B&N gets its pants sued off if it cannot ensure that every reader has all of their books transferred.

fjtorres November 16, 2012 um 3:41 pm

I got the email.
I have accounts in both places; same name, same email address, same credit card.
I have ebooks in both places.
I click on the link and get:

"Sorry, your email address doesn’t match our records.

If you received a shut-down announcement email from or, it included an opt-in link to migrate your purchased titles from your Bookshelf to a NOOK Library. This opt-in link will only work for the Fictionwise or customer it was sent to."

Like, the have the e-mail they sent it to in their system!
And it is the exact same e-mail on both accounts!
B&N sure lives down to their service reputation…
And here I’ve been waiting for the HD+ to get cleanly hacked to buy one! 😉

(Now, I never buy DRM’ed ebooks I can’t clean and most of my Fictionwise buys are DRM-free anyway, but the principle of the thing…)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking on it for a while and I have a hypothesis.

Question: what DRM are the books that do transfer burdened with? ADEPT?
Because the only DRM’ed books I bought were Mobi and LIT.
So, if only the ADEPT files are transferring…

Brian November 16, 2012 um 4:00 pm

I had 18 multiformat and 1 LIT transfer.

Ellen Hage November 16, 2012 um 6:00 pm

I have just under 1,000 books. I tried to access the FAQ to see if I can do a mass download, but I can even get to that page. It is asking for a username/password. Where is that coming from?

Geert November 16, 2012 um 6:13 pm

You need to login with your Fictionwise username/password to see the faq.

If you login to your Fictionwise account, on the left side, above "statistics/profile" you will see a bulk download link.

Ellen Hage November 16, 2012 um 6:20 pm

Thanks Geert. I used my Fictionwise info and it didn’t work. You have answered my question. I just wanted to know if there was something else other than their usual bulk download. I guess this will be a slow process for me since it seems that it will only let me download 100. I wonder if that is a daily limited or their server is busy.

Brian November 16, 2012 um 6:45 pm

100 per batch is the bulk download limit, always has been.

Ellen Hage November 16, 2012 um 7:03 pm

I know. I just hoped that since they are closing that they had increased it.

Geert November 17, 2012 um 3:32 am

Someone on the Mobipocket forum mentions that the 100 per batch limit seems to be not active. He could download all his books in one go.

Logan Kennelly November 16, 2012 um 9:35 pm

I am assuming it is simply a case of needing to be patient. I currently have 1 of 47 transferred, no books on the "Unavailable" list, and nothing unique about the one title that did transfer. B&N indicated that titles would begin transferring to my account with no specific deadline. Considering how slow Fictionwise is at the moment, I’m guessing they are a little overwhelmed.

I also had an eReader account, and I can’t even attempt to transfer the eReader titles because the link in the email I received was incorrect.

Hopefully this will all be cleared up by next week.

KarlB November 16, 2012 um 10:14 pm

I’m another user who gets the meaningless, useless, and incorrect "Sorry, your email address doesn’t match our records." message. No hint about what "records" they’re talking about, nor what email address they’re talking about, no options for alternate courses of action or hints for possibly fixing the problem. Just: "Sorry; now please go away and die."

MikFinkel November 17, 2012 um 6:54 am

I wonder if small claims court is an option?

Ellen Hage November 17, 2012 um 8:09 am

I finally got all my books re-downloaded. I know that I already have them all backed up on disk, but I wanted one more. Now on to rechecking my list to make sure that I have at least one copy of my books. Time to start charging my old ebook readers and my Win XP laptop. Back in about 2003 BN did this same shut down of servers for the Rocket Ebook readers. That was easier to handle since I only had about 30 books. Prices were so high back then. Nate do you remember that?

Burmashave November 29, 2012 um 11:26 am

"Sorry Your Email Address Does Not Match Our Records"

I’m late to this game, but for anyone still following, I got this error consistently when trying to access the custom link via Firefox (16.0.1). I was able to log in successfully using Chrome.

Brian December 6, 2012 um 3:56 pm

Looks like B&N might be getting their act together. 399 more books showed up from my FW account today.

Nate Hoffelder December 6, 2012 um 4:16 pm

I can’t get into my Nook account, so I envy you.

Regina December 6, 2012 um 4:23 pm

Is there an app available for my craig notebook that I can download to read barns & noble epub books

Nate Hoffelder December 6, 2012 um 7:06 pm

I’m not sure which OS is running on that netbook.

Does it run Android? If so, you should be able to install any regular Android app.

But if it runs Windows CE, you’re out of luck.

Sue December 7, 2012 um 4:31 pm

Well, 1290 books, guess what 20 copied over since the notice on Nov16th & I’m out of the country with no access to a laptop. No reason not to download to B&N. They should give more time for us to get this done. It’s the holidays.

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