The Open Book PCB on Tindie #ebook #CircuitPython #Feather #SAMD51 @tindie @josecastillo

Two unpopulated circuit boards, one black and one blue, each about the size of a large index card.

Back last year, you might recall hearing about an open source hardware project called the Open Book: a do-it-yourself, Feather-compatible device with e-paper, designed for reading books. Well as of this month, the bare printed circuit boards for building this project are available on Tindie!

The Open Book took a winding road to becoming reality, but it’s always been tied very closely to Adafruit’s Feather platform. The first incarnation, the E-Book FeatherWing, was an accessory board with many of the features of the Open Book, designed to pair with a Feather. The E-Book FeatherWing is still a board you can make yourself, using one of those blue PCBs. I like it because it’s a bit easier to build compared to the Open Book, with simpler parts and fewer of them to place.

Close-up photo of two devices; at left the Open Book displays the project's name; at right, the E-Book Feather Wing displays a page of text in Russian.

The Open Book has been a passion project of mine for over a year now, and at every turn, Adafruit’s products and learn guides have inspired and informed what the Open Book would become. Early prototypes used an eInk Breakout Friend to operate the screen, before I knew how to design a PCB. Then once I learned, I was able to adapt aspects of Adafruit’s open source schematics, from power supplies to microphone preamps, into the design of the Open Book. Design cues, like the shift register D-pad buttons and the trio of STEMMA ports, come directly from the PyBadge. I even learned surface mount soldering from Collin’s Lab.

It takes some patience and a steady hand to build your own e-book reader. But once you have, you can run Arduino or CircuitPython on it, stack it with wings to add Wi-fi or GPS — and yes, of course, use it to read. The book-reading software is still pretty basic, but we’re working on it!

Learn more at the Open Book’s project page on, or pick up one of the PCB’s on Tindie!

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