Of course this article applies to my Nook Tablet, but as I wrote it I realized it might be useful to folks with Kindle Fires or really any portable device that is picky about file formats and such. Here I have two wonderful and free pieces of software that, once configured, make getting cool stuff onto my tablet so much easier.

handbrake-logoThe first one is Handbrake. Now there are a lot of video encoders out there, and I have tried a number of them. Usually the free ones, which shouldn’t surprise any of my regular readers. Handbrake initially seemed too technical, but turned out to be quite simple. You just need to create a new set of settings, and configure it based on instructions found here. Set it once, save it, and forget about it. After that you just pick the files you want to encode one at a time, pick the default output location of your choice, and add the job to the Encode Queue. Once all your video files are set up this way, it would be best to start the encoder when you don’t plan on doing anything else with your system for awhile. I’d recommend at night while you sleep. From personal experience, I tried playing Minecraft once while this intensive process was running. It was not good. Of course, many folks have better systems than I do and probably don’t need to worry.

Calibre_LogoThe other piece of wonderfully free software is called Calibre. This is an e-book management tool. This is a necessity for me, since I had various sources for my e-books and some didn’t come with covers or in the right format. This tool will convert between all the common formats for you. It makes it easy to edit the metadata behind each file. It even helps you sync them to your device. Their website has a 10 minute demo video that’s worth the time to watch if you download this.

I hope these software tools work as well for you as they do for me. It took me a bit of time to pick these out from among their respective crowds, and sparing you that headache is my goal. Happy reading!