Official site for the high/dark fantasy books of authors Barb Hendee and J. C. Hendee, including the Noble Dead Saga (a.k.a. The Noble Dead series), the Mist-Torn Witches series, the Vampire Memories series, and TNDS: Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga.

Reader’s Corner: Back-up Your eBooks! [Part 2]

#ebooks, #e-books, #fantasybooks, #nobledeadsaga, #misttornwitches, #jchendee

It has been a while since the last entry in the Reader’s Corner, and some of you may be joining this series for the first time. If so, you might wish to read “Back-up Your eBooks! [Part 1].”

It is lengthy but provides a foundation to take control of your e-books, your purchases, and your property. That article may help you understand the challenge in doing so, for there are more challenges herein. Grab a cup of coffee or tea…

Last time, I mentioned that downloading a pc application from your e-book vendor(s) is not enough. Loading your e-books into your machine through such applications does not qualify as a back-up. Each time you launch the application to update e-books on your pc (which includes a Mac), scripts run at the vendor’s end which can affect your account and its content. In most cases, this is a benign clean up, but not always.

The only true back-up is one that you control completely and cannot be touched by anyone (or anything) else. The problem is, exactly where are those purchased and downloaded e-books stored on your pc? I wish I had a simple answer for you, and it may be worse than you think.

It certainly was to me after some research, though I live outside the box. I use a rooted Android tablet for e-books with full access to all file / directory structures on the device. [Hint, hint.]

ways-to-overcome-fear-and-confusion-surrounding-digital-prope_16001470_800900162_0_0_14001309_500The location of e-books on your computer depends on…

  1. the vendor and its ereader application,
  2. where you downloaded that application,
  3. your pc’s operating system, and in some cases
  4. the version of that operating system.

Numbers 2 and 4 will confuse many of you. And no, I am not fooling with you. Time to clarify what little I can before we try to find where your e-books are hiding. We start with #2, as it relates to previous comments in the first installment of Reader’s Corner.

Install a “True” eReader Application

Never install e-book applications from an “app” store! That includes both Windows and Apple online stores. Among anomalies such as incorrect version numbers across opposing sources and alterations to app store versions, the location for your downloaded e-books can differ because of these factors.

Yes, even when the application’s two sources seem to deliver the same version number, they may not be the same application. For example…

Some versions of the Kindle application from Apple’s “app” store placed e-books in a subfolder under “~Library/­Application Support/.” And more fun, the name of the subfolder therein might differ from one version of OS X to another. The same application version direct from Amazon (Kindle) placed e-books in the “[My] Documents” shortcut to a different folder / directory. That is where your e-books should be stored for convenience and back-up. 

arrows-confusionDo not get me started on “why” there are differences. It has to do with much more than just changes coming and/or implemented by producers of operating systems in conjunction with e-book vendors and their applications.

App store convenience is not convenient for your rights. Cut them out of the loop, especially if run by an OS manufacturer. Get your ereader application from the e-book vendor! If you did not, uninstall it and get the right one before continuing.

WARNING: Several e-book vendors now offer a “web” version of their ereader application that runs in a browser. This will not load your e-books to your pc in most cases. When it does, it is saving the ebook temporarily in the browser’s “cache.” That is not easy for most people to access, control, and/or back-up accurately.

This dire shift will grow for the future in limiting your right to possession of your e-books. You can add in that I was unable to find the Nook application for Mac OS X on the Barnes & Noble website. All I found was ereader device apps… and a new browser web app. B&N/Nook is showing a tendency toward obfuscation access to your property.

Yes, vendors are moving toward a way in which the only copy of your e-book will be in your ereader or your online account. And the latter is not even true and never has been.

The e-book listed in your account is only a “bookmark” to a file that will be pulled from the vendor’s data server as needed. The next step will be to shift all future ereaders to little more than a web browser app where the e-book file is “cached” for offline use in some cases. It is coming, and it has already started in small ways.

Prepare for Back-Up

If your e-books are stored in “[My] Documents” or “My Files,” then you might be in luck. Check right now. Of course, this only protects them if you have a regular back-up process that copies your personal data / files to a location outside of your physical pc.

If your e-books are stored with your primary user data, your back-up process is copying them… but only if you are downloading all of your purchases to the pc. If all of the above is true, take that coffee or tea and go read a good book! Well, at least for now, as coming changes might circumvent your back-up process. The rest of you need to figure out where your e-books are hiding… or being hidden.

The Hunt Begins

Here are clues, but beware that variations exist between OS versions, ereader application versions, and the vendors themselves. Annoying, yes? Start with the following and root around a bit to find those e-books. Be mindful that some operating systems hide the specific directory / folder for your e-books, but it is in there somewhere. See your OS’s help system for how to “unhide” all directories and files before you search. (This mostly pertains to Apple OS X… but newer versions of Windows are trying the same tricks.)

Kindle on OS X

  • [root]/[user]/Library/Application Support/
    Kindle (Books, eBooks, etc.)
  • [root]/Library/Application Support/Kindle/
    My Kindle Content, etc.
  • [root]/[user]/Library/Containers/
    Data/Library/Application Support/Kindle/
    My Kindle Content
  • [root]/Library/Containers/
    Library/Application Support/Kindle/My Kindle Content

Kindle on Windows

  • C:\Users\<MyUserName>\Documents\
    My Kindle Content
  • WARNING: There are multiple reports that Kindle does not store all e-books in this location for some users. For whatever reason, some e-books downloaded that display in the application were not physically found in the mentioned folder / directory. It could be the files were there but hidden, and the readers in question did not realize this.
  • WARNING: Accessing “My Documents” in Windows is accessing a shortcut to the actual, physical directory and may not show you all content therein. Find the directory / folder itself.

Nook on OS X

  • Guess? There are multiple claims and very little information of use in the Nook online manual. The direct question was even evaded in the FAQ in referencing online Nook account storage instead. This has become rather typical of B&N. Check for similar directory / folder paths as mentioned for Kindle… but using the term “Nook” or “Barnes” or “Noble.”

Nook on Windows

  • /Documents/My Barnes & Noble (Nook) Ebooks/(your email address)/
  • WARNING: There are multiple reports that removing the Nook app may alter your pc’s e-book storage depending on the version of app and/or version of Windows.
  • WARNING: in most variations of Windows, look in “My Documents” and/or “My Files,” but the actual subfolder therein may be hidden by default. Minor variations per Windows version / edition are too numerous to iterate at this time.
  • WARNING: There are multiple reports that when attempting to sync purchased books via the Nook application that the connection will time-out after 5 or 6 books are loaded; repeat sync until certain all books are downloaded.
  • WARNING: the Nook app for Windows 8 / 8.1 is one of the worst things I have ever seen. Then again, Win8 is the worst OS that I have seen in 27 years of computing. Multiple reports claim that purchasing an e-book through this app (after loading / keeping a preview version) did not load the full purchased version as of February 2013. Hopefully this has been corrected by now.
  • WARNING: Accessing “My Documents” in Windows is accessing a shortcut to the actual, physical directory and may not show you all content therein. Find the directory / folder itself.

Kobo on Windows

  • C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Kobo\Kobo Desktop Edition\kepub\
  • WARNING: After multiple searches, the above location is the only one openly reported since 2011.
  • WARNING: Accessing “My Documents” in Windows is accessing a shortcut to the actual, physical directory and may not show you all content therein. Find the directory / folder itself.

Kobo on OS X

  • For the most part, search in similar locations as mentioned for Kindle and Nook. Be mindful that your are looking for “kobo” referenced folder / directory parts.

A word about Linux

At this time, I do not have e-book applications loaded into my varied Linux virtual machines… or the one machine in the house that runs LinuxMint and ElementaryOS natively. Perhaps other Linux users can share something, though not likely.

Over the years, there have been many promises but no results in vendors producing Linux editions of their applications. Linux scares them, for it puts complete control of everything in the user’s (reader’s) hands. Oh, and Android is a hacked version of Linux / Unix (sort of), though only fully accessible if you root it.

I do not use brand name ereaders but instead an Android tablet for all e-books, regardless of the vendor. And no, you do not get the same kind of access to your e-books through an iOS device. [Hint, hint… hint!]

At this point, I pause. In most cases, vendor FAQs were next to worthless. Scant data herein took multiple searches using multiple online engines… and no, I did not use Google for most of this. Google does not want you to have this information either.

In OS X, try searching through “Spotlight” for one keyword of your specific Vendor (“Nook”, “Kindle”, etc.). Be mindful that even when you unhide hidden directories / folders / files, Spotlight may not show you results for such areas. Apple did that on purpose. In Windows, similar considerations apply by whatever (crippled) global search service is available.

If you are diligent enough to find the location of your e-books, the actual filenames may look quite weird. This is also intentional by the vendor, so you cannot identify which file contains which e-book. You do not have to.

WARNING: Some files therein may be hidden while others are not. Yes, some users have encountered a mix. Some were fooled by the visibility of some files and did not know there were other hidden ones. Once again, make certain you have exercised all options to unhide all folders / directories / files, so you make certain you back-up everything.

Old School Back-Up

For those without a true back-up process to customize (tsk, tsk), you can insert a USB stick / drive and drag those files to it from time to time, overwriting previous versions. This will also protect you against any of your e-books being deleted by the vendor. I have heard of three instances of global deletion of a text from all reader devices; two had to do with a copyright violation by the e-book's provider, not the vendor.

A Real Back-Up

If you have a true back-up process in place, then likely you know how to add an additional directory / folder to the process. Or the person who rigged it for you will.

If you found your e-books, then add that folder (not the files) to the process. Be mindful of any settings for “sync” and turn them off for this folder. Such might compare the back-up version to the live version in the pc and delete files in one that are missing in the other.

If you know how to set a one-way sync to “add” but not “delete,” then do that for the back-up destination. You want a backup that does not delete anything in the destination based on changes in the source, so old e-books no longer in your pc are still in your backup.

In the End… But Not

0c1675c4-04cc-4bea-a113-4de795994aeaI encourage you to report successful findings to help others find and back-up their e-books. I will take notes to later share with everyone.

Use the “Contact” page at, though I also have auto-notification for comments on all articles at the site, as well as for comments at our Facebook satellite page (@TheNobleDeadSage) and the one on Google+. Please include the following:

  • OS and version number
  • eReader application and version number (see “About” in the applications menus) by Vendor.
  • full folder / directory path in which e-books are stored.

Before you lose all hope, there are other ways to back-up your e-books… and they are your e-books. These include using a free, cross-platform program called Calibre and plugging your ereader into your pc via a USB port. I will get to such options in the near future, dear readers in my corner.