6 Months with the Boox Palma

Since day 1, e-reading hasn’t exactly been easy. There is always some kind of chore that stands between where the books are and where you can read them. It’s gotten better over the years as devices, applications, and libraries are more widespread and accessible. And as good as e-readers and digital libraries may have gotten, there are still those out there who create “dick move” devices that probably hurt more than they help.

My first Kindle was one of those monstrosities with the keyboard. It is a nightmare to use. It wasn’t long before I jumped to the Kindle Fire thinking a touchscreen would make everything easier, but I rarely read on the thing. It was definitely a video-box and too heavy to comfortably hold. Over the years I bounced around between tablets and phones as the tech ebbed and flowed before resolving to find the ONE thing that will work.

The general criteria:

  • Access to ALL of my reading apps and libraries – Kindle, Libby, Everand (what used to be Scribd), PDFs in my Google Drive, bookmarking apps and Substack. All reading in one place.
  • It’s gotta be portable as fuck.
  • Something lightweight and without a screen, so I can read in bed.
  • Rocksolid battery life.

I was ending out my tenure with an 8″ Kindle Fire even though it met none of my criteria. Even if you side-load Google Play onto a Kindle Fire to get to the non-Amazon apps, the device throttles the app performance. It can take forever to load a book from Libby or search through Google Drive.

Of course, this is exactly what Amazon wants to happen. They make next-to-nothing in terms of profit from their Kindle devices because they want to reduce the amount of friction between you and Amazon content/advertising. Which, frankly, is gross. I’m of the mind that once you pay for something, it is yours to do with as you please (which is why, ironically, I am not a fan of buying ebooks. More on that later).

Additionally: the Kindle is heavy, it needs a charge every two days, and it’s got a glare-heavy screen.

I found my way to the BOOX Palma after reading up on e-ink devices. And while every single targeted ad wanted me to pick up a Remarkable (with the stylus!), Remarkable was severely limited in the kind of apps it could run. But the BOOX Palma checked every box.


Imagine something the size of a Galaxy S22Ultra, at a third of the weight, with an e-ink screen running on Android. No frills, but also no limits on what it can do.

Every single book app works and works the same.

Testing some apps.

The touchscreen is nice and exactly what you expect for an e-ink refresh.

There is a camera, but no camera app. This is more of a document scanner than a photography tool.

This can host all of your music apps, but I’m not keen on keeping that loaded.

Battery is solid. When the wifi is off, you can read on this thing for fifty hours and it holds a charge for weeks.

Scribd (now Everand) app.

Completely adjustable backlight screen – brightness, font sizes, and even color tone. This screen is very easy on the eyes.

The drawbacks only show up when you try to use this device as something more than an e-reader. Wifi enabled, but no data or cellular connection. It can text through things like Whatsapp, but likely can’t pick up calls or texts without some kind of fancy re-routing. But that’s fine, because this isn’t a phone.

It’s an e-reader.

And I love it.