thanks blkhawk. Your method of etching sounds much easier than ones I've found online requiring UV lights and transparencies - that is, unless thats what you mean by "etch the board.."
To use the bus pirate for the serial port, how do you configure it? Based on reading I've done, seems like you need to use the open collector and UART mode and feed the bp a constant 1.8v source? Do you have an easy suggestion for the 1.8v beyond a bench supply?
As should be clear I have very little electronics experience. I see there's now a much easier way to hack the kindle 3 but this looks like a good way to learn and have some fun.