Business Columns & Blogs

Putting old books on a new Nook

Q: My old Nook e-reader died. Did all the books I purchased on it go with it? Can I get the books again on a new Nook?

A: The demise of your Nook hardware does not mean that the e-books you purchased from Barnes & Noble’s online store are lost forever. Like other e-book shops (including those for Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s iBooks app and the Kobo eReader), the titles you purchased are connected to your account with the company — and not tied to any particular device.

When you purchase a new tablet or e-reader and set it up for the first time, log in with the old username and password you used on the previous device. Once you have logged in on the new screen, you should see the list of titles you previously purchased with the account. If you wish, you can download each book again to keep on the new gadget.

Keep in mind that files not stored in your online account — like documents you copied manually from the computer or had stored locally on a microSD card — will need to be recopied (or the memory card moved) to the new device.

Barnes & Noble sells a variety of Nook-branded devices on its website and in its stores, including a $50 basic color tablet model with a seven-inch screen, several Galaxy Tab Nooks made by Samsung and a traditional e-reader with the monochrome screen. The company also makes free mobile reading apps that you can download and use to read your Nook books on Android, iOS and Windows hardware.

Securing AirDrop on an iPhone

Q: I was adding a photo to a note on my iPhone while I was on the train and noticed I could see the names of other iPhone users listed on the screen. I assume these were people nearby. So, can they see me and isn’t this a security risk?

A: When you tap the Share icon in the Photos app on your iPhone to attach the picture to a note or message, the iOS software shows you all the other ways and places to share files. One of these options is AirDrop, Apple’s wireless file-beaming technology, which can sense other compatible iOS gadgets in the area and transmit a file directly from device to device if a sharing request is accepted. AirDrop can also swap files with Macs that have the feature enabled.

AirDrop, which has been a part of Apple’s mobile operating system since iOS 7 in 2013, has had at least one major security issue over the years that Apple has fixed, but the ability to see other iPhones (or be seen yourself) in the Share menu can be controlled in the settings. To get to the AirDrop settings, swipe your finger up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center panel.

Tap the AirDrop button in the Control Center. In the default setting, AirDrop makes your device visible to others in the Share menu to “Contacts Only,” meaning just the people listed in your Contacts app.

However, if you have “Everyone” selected in the settings instead, anybody within range can see your phone in their own Share menu and request to send you a file. As one might expect, the opportunity to harass with explicit images is a temptation some cannot resist, and security researchers have been noting incidents of “cyberflashing” for years. More whimsical trolling with a photo of a sloth in an astronaut suit has also occurred.

To disable AirDrop — and your phone’s visibility — select “Receiving Off” in the Control Center’s AirDrop settings. As further security measures, turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (which AirDrop needs to function) in the Control Center when you are not using them, and change the name of your iPhone to something vague and less personal.