After years of resisting (and, frankly, lack of interest) I've finally broken and started borrowing ebooks from the library to read on ebook hardware. What's the most free software version of this I can be doing?

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My current set-up uses a basically ancient Kindle that still works just fine. But of course I'd love to excise Amazon from the equation entirely!

@xor i was just reading some HN thread about this (i know, i know) and it sounds like the kobo hardware is relatively easy to override the firmware and put on. i think i own a kindle that it's also possible to jailbreak and do this on, but every time i look at the instructions i'm like "maybe later".

there's also the pinenote:

of course i don't know what kind of DRM nonsense is on library ebooks...

@brennen @xor Although yes, I did just completely ignore the borrowing from the library part of this... 🤦‍♂️

The *most* free-software version is to use the open library, but as far as I know there isn't ebook-reader hardware that integrates with that. Are you looking to get a FOSS ebook reader unit, or read in a maximally-free way on existing hardware?

@enkiv2 I'm interested in the options on both prongs there. For, like, e-waste reasons I'm resistant to buy new hardware while the old thing works, but that's one factor and the free software friendliness is another!

@xor @enkiv2
Most commercial e-readers are android devices & can be jailbroken. There are some decent FOSS ebook readers for android (available via fdroid even). I'm not sure about integration with library lending systems (like overdrive/libby, which seem to be proprietary?)

@xor I was looking at this (and the inkplate) last year - but it seems likely to be tricky to integrate with libby.

@xor I recommend the Kobo. It's Linux-based and they allow third-party software on the device.

@xor There's always going to be DRM involved in anything that comes from Overdrive/Libby. It's up to you how much of that you want to deal with, but if you plan on reading mostly while you have an Internet connection, most books available from Overdrive/Libby can be read in any web browser of choice on any OS of choice. If you're looking to read offline, you'll likely have to work with the Libby app to get to local, then do whatever needs done to get the book to your desired device.

@TheyOfHIShirts @xor note that Libby has no accessibility features and likely never will

@scruss @xor Define "no accessibility" as you're using it, please?

In the app version, at least, and on the web reader, for the books themselves there's text resizing options, typeface choices that include OpenDyslexic, and some contrast choices that can be made. I have zero idea how well Libby interacts with screen readers, however, so everything I mentioned above might not work for someone who needs that functionality to navigate the menus and websites.

@TheyOfHIShirts @xor it doesn't play nicely with switch input for people who can't use touch screens on their tablets

@scruss @xor Thanks for clarifying.

I couldn't find anything past "we have keyboard navigation support" for Libby and accessibility. There's also no official Libby app in the Amazon store, *still*, so if the device in question is a Fire tablet, there's already sideloading and extra difficulty involved. It would be nice to have lots of options and stores to choose from, but the library world has a lot of oligopolies when it comes to getting materials. It sucks.

@xor I have a Kobo reader. It reads ePub natively and mounts as a USB drive, and Calibre will handle all the book management needs. Also has a bigger screen than a Kindle, and is waterproof so I can read in the bath or at the beach or by the pool.

@xor ...Oh, and I can borrow books from the local library right on the device.

@xor not quite what you're asking, but my libraries have apps (Libby & SimplyE) which are adequate readers on my Android phone (for me). It means I can download directly, and don't need to mess with sideloafing.

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