Anyhow, the flite text to speech system and the accompanying Bard Storyteller epub reader appear to be a perfect fit for the zipit. If you don't like the "kal16" voice you can set Bard to scroll lazily through the document (still hands free) instead of reading aloud. That's a step up from my cheesy links2 based ereader. The only issue I've run into so far is the poor rendering quality of the pictures at the 320x240 resolution of the zipit. I might take a stab at fixing that someday.
Here it is reading a relaxing bedtime story acquired from the archives at Project Gutenberg. I feel sleepy already...
For some reason the name and the sound quality of the kal16 voice made me think of "Karel the Robot", the intro to programming book used at CMU way back in the early eighties. Or maybe it was just that story. I don't know.
I put the zipit patches for this on github, so pretty soon now the nightly build should generate some official ipk files. I really wish git would make that easier, instead of giving me trouble every single time I try use it... Meanwhile, here are some openwrt ipk packages that work for me.