Biocatalytic nucleoside (trans-)glycosylations catalyzed by nucleoside phosphorylases have graduated to a practical and convenient approach to the preparation of modified nucleosides, which are important pharmaceuticals for the treatment of various cancers and viral infections. However, the obtained yields in these reactions are generally determined exclusively by the innate thermodynamic properties of the nucleosides involved, hampering the biocatalytic access to many sought-after target nucleosides. We herein report an additional means for reaction engineering of these systems. We show how apparent equilibrium shifts in phosphorolysis and glycosylation reactions can be effected through entropically driven, biased esterification of nucleosides and ribosyl phosphates with inorganic borate. Our multifaceted analysis further describes the kinetic implications of this in situ reactant esterification for a model phosphorylase.