Turn a $15 MicroSD Card Reader Into an eBook Library On the Go

zsun card readerThis blog has always been a fan of hacking together truly mobile ebook libraries, and now I have an even cheaper option.

The Zsun wifi smart card reader is a stamp-sized, cheap microSD card reader that sells for as little as $11 (or a couple bucks more if you want to order from Walmart or Amazon rather than runthe risk of buying from a Chinese retailer). It’s designed to be plugged into your computer’s USB port and act as a flash drive while at the same time serving up files to devices connected to its Wifi network.

It’s a pretty nifty gadget, but when it is fresh out of the box you have to have Zsun’s app to access the files over Wifi. That works, but now hackers have found a way to improve on the original design.

Liliputing reports that a team of Polish hackers have ported OpenWRT to the Zsun card reader. They’ve replaced the original firmware with a Linux-based alternate.

Designed to run routers and other embedded devices, OpenWRT is open-source and is not for the faint of heart. Installing it can bork a piece of hardware, but once you’ve successfully installed it you will have additional control over a router’s settings and performance.

OpenWRT is used to power the LibraryBox file server mentioned in the second link in this post, and you can use it for a similar purpose with the Zsun card reader. And if you plug it into a USB powerpack, you’ll get a truly portable and pocketable ebook server:


But again, this project is not for the faint of heart. From Liliputing:

On the other hand, installing OpenWRT on the Zsun card reader is kind of tricky, but you can find detailed instructions at the project’s Wiki page. The most foolproof methods involve some hardware hacking, but there are some software-only solutions… it’s just that they’re very risky and if something goes wrong you could kill the device.

I’ve killed a router while trying to install OpenWRT, so I would advise caution.

CNX-Software via Liliputing

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

1 Comment

  1. […] with mobile ebook library solutions like LibraryBox, or the Zsun microSD card reader (which can be hacked and turned into a file […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top