The Open Book Project Aims to Develop Open Hardware eBook Reader


The Open Book Project

There’s an interesting article over on Hackaday about how someone is trying to develop an open source ebook reader that doesn’t lock users into a closed platform.

As the The Open Book Project page at github describes it, “The Open Book aims to be a simple device that anyone with a soldering iron can build for themselves”.

The first prototype was recently finished and things are moving forward in a positive direction.

The device is made with simple, inexpensive parts, and it has a 4.2-inch E Ink screen.

It’s still in the early stages of development but the idea of building your own ebook reader is now a concept that might be obtainable in the near future.

What do you think? Would you like to build your own ebook reader? Is this kind of thing even necessary when ebooks can be easily liberated and converted to other formats? Why not just install open source software on a $69 Kobo Aura?

You can follow Joey Castillo’s Twitter feed for updates on the project.

The Open Book Project

14 Responses to “The Open Book Project Aims to Develop Open Hardware eBook Reader”

  1. Honestly sounds a little dumb… And a waste of time.
    I would prefer someone just make a cheap (comparably speaking) Android reader that runs really well… With or without front light (preferably with). The Boox ereaders are really appealing… Just a bit expensive.

    • It really is not meant for the average person. If you are the sort to question why, then it isn’t for you. It is meant for tinkerers, who want to know how each part works, and have full control. It is for people who like making things.

  2. I’m surprised it’s taken this long for the concept to find makers/doers. A Raspberry Pi Zero W is $10. Buttons and other hardware, even without volume discounts, under $10. Batteries, I can’t say. The screen is undoubtedly where the money is at, but when they eventually come down, the viability of this project goes way up. And if you’re someone with really niche requirements, this might be the only way to get exactly what you want. This will be interesting to follow!

  3. System ate my first comment.

    Short version, this is great and an idea that’s long overdue for fruition. This opens the door for modular builds that let people with specific tastes build the “perfect” e-reader. I’m excited to follow this.

  4. There is a nifty upside to this. There may be those who make crazy versions that can do things the ‘official’ readers cant and then sell them online.

  5. First of all, there no exists Open Source hardware. It uses proprietary chips and proprietary engines to build the boards, then it is not open source.

    Second, do someone remember “OpenInkpot” and, for example, Hanlin ebook reader? Death and under ground.

    This seems another “Prima Donna Open Source Wannabe”. Once owner will get tired or find some annoying bugs, will abandon the project, as happens with 99.999999999% of Open Source projects.

  6. This is a niche product for a niche market.

  7. It’s not necessary but it will be a nice thing to have for folks with overlapping hobbies: people who like to tinker and Ali’s like to read. It is not dumb, as one commented suggested.

  8. Such a device won’t be as easy to handle or as long-lived as, let’s say, a Kindle, but I myself have been thinking about creating “reading glasses”, e.g. a device that sits on your head, with a small display, that displays text sequentially, possibly with a timer for easy on-the-go reading and speedreading, but so far little know-how has kept me back.
    Maybe I can adapt this project for my own 🙂

  9. A great idea especially if you don’t mind tinkering – which I don’t – spare time would be my main issue. Still if it takes off and there’s an option to build a 10+ inch reader, then definitely.

    Large screen ereader are far too expensive, but which I would be willing to pay if everything was excellent: software, operation of the device, build quality and design, materials used and functionality etc. I paid £560 for a Boox note plus – returned it in a few days – in terms of all-round quality I’m not even sure it was worth £300 – UI set to English yet occasional sys msg would be in Chnese, very bizarre! – one of the many things that just weren’t good enough.

    I’m hoping Remarkable release a ver 2 with 2019 hardware – from what I’ve seen their UI/software seems far superior to Boox and the like…

  10. I have considered “flashing the ROM”in my Nook Color and my Kindle 4. OEM provided system software is inferior to Calibre Companion running on Android. I would like e-ink device with page turn buttons. Am I a niche user in my desire for simplicity?

  11. I was going to make an e-ink dash for one of my motorcycles until I realized I had absolutely no clue how to do that. Now that I have a little more programming and computer knowledge and this is a thing, maybe my dream of an endlessly modifiable e-paper gauge cluster can become a thing.

  12. I want a ereader that supports a USB mouse for turning the pages to use when I’m in bed and want to keep my hands under the blankets. Seems like a simple request, but no ereader out of the box supports it, although please correct me if I’m wrong. If this build it yourself ereader can support off the shelf USB mice, I’m interested.