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Pandigital Novel shows up in Canada, uses Kobo ebookstore

One of TDR’s readers just tipped me to the launch of the Pandigital Novel in Canada. It’s just now in Bed, Bath, & Beyond stores at a retail of $219 CAD.

What I find more interesting is that my source reported that  BBB originally stocked their Canadian stores at the same time as the US ones.  The Novel was pulled from the shelf, of course, because you can’t buy B&N ebooks outside the US. But now that the app has been replaced by Kobo, they put it back on the shelf.

Here’s what he reported:

When I saw the pandigital in a Bed, Bath, and Beyond (reason?) flyer my eyes popped out of my head – perhaps I should explain that I live in Canada. I called and of course it was a mistake. They had to pull them from shelves in Canada because they realized the ereader library software would not work in Canada. Licencing N’est Pas? So I got my name on a list for whatever ereader falls through their doors. This was a well forgotten month and half ago.

I got the call (or rather my Wife did) and three days later when I actually got the message I called. The poor clerk on the other end confirmed for me that, yes they are in. I can image the look on her face when I asked: "So what brand of ereader is in?" I tried to explain the situation that they put my name on the list for "whatever" showed up.

They confirmed it was the pandigital (white? Black? Is the Canadian version plaid?). So I risked it an drove on over fearing that I might bump into an Adam Sandler product placement movie. Or worse, Christopher Walken.

Sure enough there was the shiny display with the price obscured. Another clerk and I finally found the price display hidden behind another display. The display had an army of empty Pandigital boxes neatly displayed. The price: $219 CDN. So I took my shiny empty box to the cash (don’t think of it as a box, think of it as a box and air) and paid for it. Then they had to call the manager who had the key for the locked cabinet. She eventually showed up with another box (with contents) wrapped in another security mechanism. So not only were they in a locked cabinet (a safe with a Bengal tiger standing guard?)  but each box itself was wrapped in a security device.

The clerk asked me if I wanted a bag. I said: "Sure, if your sniper outside will shoot me down if he sees me leaving the store with one of these things."

So now I have it.

The bookstore is kobo. I need a kobo account and a adobe account to read their books. Perhaps I will play with it a bit. Then I will flash it to be a android tablet. I have yet to try it with the pdf content I alread own. Maybe I will need to convert to EPub. Calibre here I come.

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Liz October 4, 2010 um 11:50 am

I also got a similar phone call, and picked up my e-reader a couple of days ago. Yes, the BOX says that I should be going to Kobo for my books, but the library is still connected to the Barnes and Noble site. I downloaded a book from Kobo as a test, and have yet to find out how to access it. 🙁

Nate the great October 4, 2010 um 12:08 pm

I’d take it back and get them to swap it out. But if you can’t, the keep an eye on this page:

It will have the Canadian firmware eventually.

Doug October 4, 2010 um 3:06 pm

It’s not *quite* true that "you can’t buy B&N ebooks outside the US." B&N carries some e-books that are for sale to Canadians. Those include most (but not all) Simon & Schuster titles and a number of Samhain titles. The LendMe feature isn’t supported by S&S, so about the only lendable e-books available to Canadians are from Samhain.

The list of available e-books from B&N is small, but non-zero, for Canada. It is indeed zero outside of the US and Canada, although there are well-known cheats to trick B&N into thinking you’re in the US.

* Search for S&S books at B&N:
* Search for Samhain books at B&N:

Note the e-books marked, "These items ship to U.S. and Canadian addresses only."

The B&N ToU does state that, "Digital Content is only available for purchase by Users with a credit card that has a United States billing address. By opening a Barnes & account for Digital Content, you represent and warrant to Barnes & that you reside in the United States…" However, other official statements elsewhere say that designated e-books are available to Canadians with a Canadian credit card. –

Liz October 5, 2010 um 1:03 am

Thanks for the tips! I think the problem came about when I did the firmware update when I first got the reader. I am almost positive that the website did not specify that the firmware is a US version only when I went for the update. I’ll head over to BBB and see about exchanging this for a new one. 🙂

Dave October 6, 2010 um 11:30 am

When I opened the box, on the very top was a printed notice to please update. Then of course when I went to the site there was no Canadian update available.

I also notice that the site has details for Pandigital Novel Android Open Platform Kits. There is one available for the White version, and the black version is set as "Comming soon".

Eventually I want to reflash this as a generic android slate, but I want to go through at least one normal update to be confident with the procedure and have a backup.

Nate the great October 6, 2010 um 11:47 am

Ah. Normally I wouldn’t update a new device right away, but if I saw that note…


natasha October 6, 2010 um 11:46 am

Hi so is this KOBO ebook store any good? and I didn’t know u couldn’t buy ebooks from B&N? I buy gift cards through paypal and buy ebooks all the time? and I’m in Canada?

RobBrown October 6, 2010 um 9:46 pm

I don’t know why B&N is unable to sell books outside the U.S. when Amazon can, but it stopped me from buying a Nook and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Anyway, the Pandigital firmware for the Novel is awful in most respects and you will get far more use and enjoyment from it if you load up modified firmware. The process for updating firmware is very robust because it executes before any OS is loaded, so there’s basically no way an OS update can cause problems.
I’d recommend heading over to and making your choice. I am using "Alternate PDN firmware (7/24, 8/6, 8/20 versions): Market, volume hack built-in" (the 8/20 version), and it’s just great: with Kindle for Android, Aldiko and exPDF as readers plus Opera Mini for browsing I find the Novel to be genuinely usable and enjoyable.

Barrie October 23, 2012 um 12:00 pm

Okay now its nearing the end of 2012 . 2 years after the above comments.. Does anyone have an update of being able to download books in Canada from Barnes & Noble or Kobo or any source? This is for a Pandigital tablet. Any other recommendations.

Nate Hoffelder October 23, 2012 um 12:02 pm

There’s a hacked firmware update which you can install. It adds the option of both ebookstores as well as Android Market.

Jackie August 2, 2013 um 11:09 pm

My Mom gave me her Pandigital Novel and I cannot access Kobo on it. It has the Kobo app but it wont do anything. I have reset the Novel to factory status hoping that by putting my own information in it I would be able to proceed. Unfortunately nothing has happened. Could someone help me?

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