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I'm interested in purchasing an e-reader of some kind (i.e. must use e-ink tech, no LCD screens) and wondering if anyone has any suggestions about which reader lends itself most to tinkering/extending/hacking? Are there any that make it possible to install your own software? (It would be cool to see i.e. Emacs running on one.)

In a way this is also a question about which reader supports the most ebook formats, and is therefore least likely to become bricked if the manufacturer spots supporting its preferred format. It's also a privacy issue, as some readers (looking at you, Kindle) are so tightly integrated with their sales platform that they seem to overstep a privacy line, in terms of the data they collect about you. The more open the reader, the more likely a user is to be able to control their privacy level.

Opinions welcome! Thanks.

asked Jun 02 '11 at 08:58

textchimp's gravatar image


The new Nook (just called "nook" though people are nicknaming it the nook "touch" to differentiate it from the original dual screen eink and minilcd nook, the new touch screen nook is a single touchscreen e-ink reader with the same processor as the Nook Color) runs android and is equally hackable. (though obviously the screen refresh is not suitable for animation, the device is lighter and cheaper and has much better battery life and sunlight readability)

Don't think there's a cyanogen for it yet but you can change the launcher and load arbitrary android applications (including the kindle app if you like having choice between the two stores). Also as always, all the Nook readers support ePub book format which is an open format and you can convert just about any other format to ePub via the excellent open source PC app "Calibre".


answered Jun 11 '11 at 21:02

eduprey's gravatar image


edited Jun 11 '11 at 21:06

Nook Color, hands down. Your eInk criterion limits you to cheap Chinese knockoffs. If you're willing to go LCD, you won't be disappointed with an NC; Cyanogen makes the ROM for it, and they are nearly impossible to brick. Heck, you can run a custom ROM right off the microSD card, never putting your warranty in jeopardy. And, because it's Cyanogen, you can read nearly anything, and have full Android Market access.



answered Jun 04 '11 at 16:05

Christopher's gravatar image


Stay away from any DRM-like sellers, this is anything but open.

I suggest to try Ony Boox http://www.onyxboox.com/ which runs linux kernel and it is hackable if you know how to do it. There is also an active comunity to support this: http://booxusers.com/


answered Jun 12 '11 at 23:44

Argia%20Sbolenfi's gravatar image

Argia Sbolenfi

Umm, but the Nook and Nook color also run a Linux kernel with an open source boot loader (x-loader / u-boot), are much less expensive and seem to be higher quality hardware. You can load your own books if you don't like the DRM in the online shops, and you can use the open source fbreader app on android if you don't like the stock reader software. You can compile and boot your own Linux kernel on these devices if you like.

3 years, 7 months ago
eduprey's gravatar image eduprey

I don't know about Nook, I have just added another choice, since I am a happy owner of Onyx Boox since 2 years. Cheers :-)

3 years, 7 months ago
Argia%20Sbolenfi's gravatar image Argia Sbolenfi
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Asked: Jun 02 '11 at 08:58

Seen: 9,560 times

Last updated: Jun 13 '11 at 00:44

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