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Does anyone know how to build an ereader, something that can handle any format? A color screen for images would be nice Answered



The companies who make e-readers, obviously.
Are you seriously thinking about making one?


Yes very serious. Im not talking about writing the code, just building the hardware if someone had plans for it

Dear White Thatch,

did you do any progress in building the hardware or not yet? Im trying to do the same. I want to share with you this link:


and hope to have a feedback from you also about your current status in this project.

It looks like you've finished up a couple of eReaders. Do any of them have a way to report out your location in whatever you're reading to an external service?

hi cameron,

unfortunatly Im not the author of that project. It's also quite old. I tried to contact them but I didn't recieve any reply.

For something functionally convenient & worthwhile, I can't see any sane person having built one.
These things have a lot of design and factory manufacturing in 'em, and crammed into a small space. It would certainly cost more than just buying one, but I can share your enthusiasm for the idea.


No need to build software the web abounds with free versions for most platforms - Iphone, Android, I pad, PC etc.

Amazon give a selection away fro their Kindle reader. Caliber for the PC works well and has an E book reader incorporated -


If you mean can You build the hardware - well can you build a very small hand held mobile phone or PC?? if not then you can't make an e book reader either.

Thanks for your response but I ment the hardware and maybe a open soucre software for it

Hi White. I kind of have a project similar to yours mentioned. I would like to know how far you've gone with your project. Thanks.

On the software front you need quite a variety to handle "any" format. I think you need separate stuff for txt, doc, pdf, epub, mobi, cbr and I am sure there are several other formats that need specific programs to read.

As for the building it.. If you can build a laptop or tablet than you're pretty much there already but if that seems like a bit of a stretch for you than I don't really think you can build an ereader either (I wouldn't be able to)...

For what you would be down in parts you should be able to buy a Kindle or something (only black and white and reads pdf and mobi). I've had one for a couple months now and I really can't complain (pro tip: Project Gutenberg has a great archive of classic books free of charge and in several formats)

There is software that can handle all non DRM files for a computer (and some DRM). The difference between an ereader and a laptop/tablet is like the difference between a book and a library. Sure both contain information but one is more convenient to carry. I dont want to have to boot up a laptop and wait for it to load or have to find an outlet right at the good point in a book. A DIY reader could swap out batteries and back to reading besides if I have a laptop Im going to want to surf the web or play games. I want to be able to download instructables and take it out to the garage and work on projects. A garage is no place for a laptop, with to much dust and grime getting into it.

If you are really serious about this, you probably will need to consider getting a development board for some kind of processor or microcontroller (arm, avr, pic, etc) and learn how to program for it in assembly or c. After you have that down, you can worry about getting a screen and input controls and making them work (i.e. putting say a picture on the display, and making the controls work to switch pictures). When you've got that working, then you can add some kind of storage (eeprom, sd card, etc).

It's a very complicated process to build from the ground up. For an example of something limited, that's still not easy to make, see this -> http://www.ladyada.net/products/microtouch/.

If you want a inexpensive, short term, result, just go buy a device. The amount of time, work, and money plus a willingness to learn that goes into building any sophisticated diy device is significant. In any case, it might take years of work to get what you want if you only work on the weekends and don't have a particular interest in electronics.