How to Install Nook and Kobo Apps on Your Kindle Fire

Reading an E-book
Till Jacket / Getty Images
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Yes, You Can Read Nook Books on Your Kindle Fire

Nook on Kindle
Here you see both the Nook and Kobo apps on my Kindle.

One of the unique things about the Kindle Fire is that it's a dedicated Amazon eReader that runs on Android. You may want to read Nook, Kobo, or Google eBooks, but you may run into difficulty. Part of the problem is that most readers, like the Nook reader, use ePub format. Amazon uses its own .mobi format as well as Adobe PDFs, but it doesn't read ePub books. You can convert your Nook and Kobo books by using Calibre, but that's a bit of a pain if you want to keep your books in sync on all your other devices, like your phone or other eReaders. 

Note: Although you cannot find apps for competing bookstores (Nook or Kobo, for example) in Amazon's Appstore for Android, you can find third-party reading apps like Aldiko. If you don't mind the extra step of loading your book purchases separately, just install an e-Pub friendly book reader from the Appstore and call it a day.

Because the Fire runs on a modified version of Android, you can actually install and run the Nook or Kobo app and keep your purchased books in sync that way. You can't download those apps from the Amazon App Store, but you can still install them by sideloading the apps. 

Your Nook and Kobo books will not show up in the Kindle Fire carousel. Only the app will show up, but you can see all your Nook and Kobo books within their respective apps, and you can make in-app purchases to buy new books.

This method will work for installing just about any free app you can't find in the Amazon App Store.

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Go to "More Settings"

Go to settings

The first step you need to do is enable your Kindle Fire to run third-party apps. When you first purchase your Fire, you can only install apps from the Amazon App Store by default, but you can fix this. The screen captures shown are for an older version of Amazon's operating system, but it is a similar process for newer models.   

Tap on the settings button on the top of the screen. It looks like a little gear.

Next, tap on the More button.

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Allow Installation of Applications

Allow third party app installation.
This is under the Device settings.

Ok, you've gone to the settings. Now there are two more steps to enable third-party app installation. That will allow you to sideload apps from sources other than Amazon. I should warn you that sideloading apps isn't always wise. If the app is in the Amazon App Store, Amazon has tested it and approved it, so it's less likely to crash your device or contain a virus.

Your steps so far were to tap on settings and then tap on More.

Next, tap on Device.

Once you've done that, you'll see the toggle labeled Allow Installation of Applications from Unknown Sources. Toggle that to the ON position as shown.

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Install GetJar

Install GetJar

You've enabled apps from unknown sources. What do you do? Use a third-party app store like GetJar. GetJar only lists free apps. However, you're still going to have to install an app in order to use GetJar. This is pretty similar to the process you use if you install Amazon App Store apps on your non-Amazon Android. It may take a few tries for the app to properly install, so be persistent. It does work.

  1. Use your Kindle Fire and navigate to m.getjar.com.
  2. Download the GetJar app.
  3. Once it's downloaded, tap on the alerts at the top of the screen to install the app.
  4. Now that you've downloaded and installed GetJar, it works like any other app store. You can download and install the Nook app or any of their other apps.
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Alternative Methods

Install Dropbox

There are some alternative ways to install apps on your Fire. You don't need to use a store like GetJar if you have the app itself. However, using this method is slightly more complicated. 

You could email the app to yourself as an attachment (using an account you check on your Kindle.) You could download the app directly (if you have the URL), you could use a cloud storage app like Dropbox to transfer the app, or you could transfer the file to your Fire by connecting it to your computer with the USB cord.

You can download Dropbox from Amazon, or if you've enabled third-party apps, you can go to www.dropbox.com/android on the Kindle's Web browser, and tap on the Download App button. Since you've already enabled apps from unknown sources, installing this app will look a lot like any other app installation.

Once you've installed Dropbox, you can use your computer to put the .apk file in a folder in Dropbox, and then tap on the file on your Fire to download it. Very simple.

Just so you're warned, sideloading is probably the most dangerous way to load apps. When you use an app store, be it Amazon's or GetJar's, they can generally yank an app that turns out to be a piece of malware in disguise. That's why you have to download an app in order to download apps from most third-party app stores. If you just sideload apps directly, you don't have that protection. Note that the more third-party stores you use to load apps, the greater your chances to stumble across a malicious app. 

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Agree to Permissions

Give permission

When you install the Nook app, whether it's from GetJar, by emailing it to yourself, or by dropping it into Dropbox, you'll see the same permissions screen that you do on every other Android app. Once you agree to the permissions, tap the Install button, and your app finishes installation.

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Read Nook Books on Your Kindle

Reading Nook Books on the Fire.

Once you've installed the Nook app, it's just like any other app on your Kindle. Register your Nook app using your Barnes & Noble account, and you're all set.

You won't see your Nook books on your Kindle's bookshelf. You will see them within the Nook app itself. That means you can still take advantage of your Nook's common library, and it means you can bargain shop for books through any bookstore with an Android tablet app.