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Ask Slashdot: Rugged E-book Reader?

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the toughbook-is-copyrighted-though dept.

Books 126

First time accepted submitter Augury writes "I'm about to undertake a lengthy trip involving travel through dusty, damp and drop-inducing environments. When it comes to packing for such a trip, reading is a fundamental need, to help while away the inevitable hours spent in transit lounges, at bus stops and on beaches. The weight and bulk of the dead tree approach makes it impractical, so an e-book reader seems ideal — does anyone have any experience with ruggedising an e-book reader for such conditions?"

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126 comments

I don't know ask Obama what he uses. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40929981)

Iran marching toward a nuclear weapon

Egypt and Libya handed over to the Islamists on a silver platter

45% increase in debt.

Regulatory policies strangling business

That perfect health care for all, casuing businesses to not hire and drop coverage to put more people on the dole.

Unemployment above 8%

GDP Growth below 2%

Changed his mind four times on that OBL kill, which was set up by the hardwork of Bush, Bush worked 8 strong, Obama got the save.

Domestic energy production hamstrung, while billions of tax dollars wasted on masturbatory green energy companies, run by his cronies.

A racist running the Justice Department.

Hundreds of Mexican citizens and a US law enforcement officer dead because of Obama/Holder's agenda on guns.

Photo ID laws being challenged because they interfered with typical Democrat voters, the Dead and Illegal Aliens.

Chrysler bondholders screwed out of their money so the UAW could receive a giant wad of cash in the illegal government takeover of the Auto industry.........

Yeah, he's a raving success.

Re:I don't know ask Obama what he uses. (1)

wesharris6 (2514704) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930215)

What in the hell does this have to do with an Ebook reader?

Cases (4, Informative)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#40929989)

If you get a proper hard case, and a waterproof bag (there are plenty out there intended for tablets, ebook readers and the like), then you can probably choose any ereader, while being protected against impact while travelling, and dirt/moisture when using it on the beach.

I've had a couple of Kindle screens die on me simply from being bent slightly while in my rucksack to/from work. They were in a case too, but it wasn't the sturdiest of cases. I have a 10" tablet anyway, so now I use that for reading when I travel. Obviously the battery life is nowhere near as good, but it's fine if you're able to recharge every day or two.

Re:Cases (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930087)

And as for the waterproof bags, quart-size ziploc freezer bags work fine for Kindles; gallon-size ones work for 10" tablets. $1.50-$3.00 will get you anywhere from 10-30 bags, too.

Re:Cases (4, Informative)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930227)

In addition to this. I used them for a trip trough Kazakhstan and India and it keeps the dust (and moist) out perfectly. I had my nettop in a soft(foam rubber) shell, and that in a ziplock bag. The nettop is still with me :-) Passports/tickets/spare credit card where also in a ziplock bag. I tested it first in the sink with some tissues, it is as water tight. Pro tip: When packing, put the ziplock bag on the mattress, press the air out with a pillow and then seal it. That way you'll save space.
Oh, and another thing: Be sure to have a dead-tree-travelguide with you. Ive seen many stranded because their kindle was out of power/broken/stolen and didn't know what to do. In a book one can make notes and plan routes easier too. Oh, and make sure you avoid LonelyPlanet if you go for dead-tree, those absolutely and utterly worthless :-S

Re:Cases (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930649)

I disagree. LonelyPlanet maps are very good (much better than RoughGuides or any of the American things) and the book is full of places that you can avoid.

Plus they give the best advice on public transport.

Re:Cases (2)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931437)

Lonely Planet used to do a good job until their redesign around 2003. Critical information was centrally located, and important items (such as language reference and major maps) were at the covers.

While it is easy to bag on the people who look at the guidebook as an itinerary, they do serve a useful purpose of consolidating information about a place. Never would have found places like Sihanukville, or how to get out of Phou Khoun when the bus broke down without one. It is also hard to get a sense of what a city has to offer in 3-4 days, or find other places to go when the weather changes.

Re:Cases (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931073)

Quite right, and I use them myself occasionally to read in the bathtub - the issue with freezer bags though is they're not really designed with redundancy in mind. Do a side by side comparison between a freezer bag and a quality transparent drybag and you'll notice that the heat-fused seams on the drybag are considerably wider, possibly doubled, and quite likely have rounded corners that avoid the high stress concentrations that occur in a square corner. The material is also likely to be thicker and more abrasion and puncture resistant on the drybag, and the "zipper" sturdier, tighter-sealing, and more difficult to accidentally open.

Basically they'll work equally well, but a dry bag will be *much* more resistant to failure.

Another thing to be aware of - dry(or freezer) bags and IR-based touch screens like those commonly used on e-readers can interact in annoying ways, with "false" touches frequently being detected wherever the bag touches the screen . So if you decide to go that route you might want to consider a non-touch reader, or research bag/reader combinations that don't suffer from false touches.

Re:Cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40932789)

Something like this?

http://www.amazon.com/Version-TrendyDigital-WaterGuard-Waterproof-Generation/dp/B0026GJHVY/

Re:Cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40931493)

What a great idea.

Try this:
http://www.pelicanprogear.com/product/Pelican-ProGear-1055CC-HardBack-Case-with-Liner/eReader-HardBack-Cases

Re:Cases (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#40932179)

If that was sarcasm, note that he'd still need the ziplock bag on top of that case to be able to read in "harsh" environments.

Re:Cases (1)

fafaforza (248976) | about a year and a half ago | (#40932241)

I've been carrying my Sonly PRS-505 and now the PRS-650 in the back pocket of my jeans since like 2008 and never had an issue. Maybe the metal case makes the whole thing more rigid. But Sony too has gone to plastic casing with the PRS-T1, and a coworker's screen died after 3 months of ownership after, according to him, lightly pressing against a subway turnstile while it was in the bag.

Re:Cases (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | about a year and a half ago | (#40933459)

I second this. I have one of the leather covers from amazon itself on the kindle touch. The kindle stays on my bicycle at all times. Except from water, the hard cover does the trick (it surrounds the kindle in plastic on the back, and hard leather on the front.

Get a waterproof case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40929993)

I have used this on kayaking trips
http://www.rei.com/product/833250/seattle-sports-dry-doc-kindle-case
It is cheap and does the job

Re:Get a waterproof case (2)

errandum (2014454) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930289)

The problem with the kindle is that it is extremely easy to ruin by a backpack with books. I've had 2 die on me that way, so I'm guessing he needs a hard case more than that :\

Re:Get a waterproof case (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40931359)

The problem with the kindle is that it is extremely easy to ruin by a backpack with books. I've had 2 die on me that way, so I'm guessing he needs a hard case more than that :\

Backpack full of books kind of means you aren't using your Kindle right.

Re:Get a waterproof case (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931939)

Mah I can see someone having both: textbooks + fun reading on the ereader. Admittedly not an extensive test but I dropped a Kindle 3 from about 6' onto a cement surface screen down, picked it up and not a scratch. Still you'll want a case and if you are actually using the thing in the dust or rain storms than you'll want something like a freezer bag over the screen. I'd vote for bringing a microfiber rag or something to clean the screen too. Don't use your hand or something I've gotten a few minor scratches on my screen from using papertowels or such. I guess it drags the dirt across the surface rather than picking it up properly.

Re:Get a waterproof case (2)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930305)

I have used this on kayaking trips
http://www.rei.com/product/833250/seattle-sports-dry-doc-kindle-case [rei.com]
It is cheap and does the job

Otterbox [otterbox.com] appears to make a variety of cases for many different devices. However, they don't come cheap and might be a substantial fraction of the cost of the ereader.

For DIY, if your concern is just while the reader is in transit/packed (ie, not in your hand), have you considered just using (small) bubble wrap? Its light and two or three times around should provide adequate protection against all but a hammer. Seal inside zip lock bag(s) and for good measure toss in a couple of those silicone moisture absorbing packets. If you have a small styrofoam shell from product packaging you might be able to adapt that and close with duct tape.

There's so much to do at Burning Man (0)

xee (128376) | about a year and a half ago | (#40929995)

There's so much to do at Burning Man. Don't read a book, go volunteer at the post office or get into some crazy shit.

Re:There's so much to do at Burning Man (2)

rvw (755107) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930335)

There's so much to do at Burning Man. Don't read a book, go volunteer at the post office or get into some crazy shit.

Plus ebooks don't burn that nice. Bring a book if you need a break and burn it at the end!

Re:There's so much to do at Burning Man (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930713)

>> and burn it at the end!

I recommend a bible.

hard cover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930011)

Buy Kindle. Get a hard cover for it. It flips open and closes with a strap.

Oh, and learn not to drop it.

Whatever you've got plus pelican case (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930013)

Just pack the kindle, kobo or whatever with your camera gear in a hard case.

Re:Whatever you've got plus pelican case (0)

DroolTwist (1357725) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930663)

I have a Kindle, but rarely use it. I find it easier to read everything on my cell phone, which I always have with me. Get the Kindle app for your phone, a nice case (I use Otterbox), and you have all your books without extra gadgets to carry around.

Re:Whatever you've got plus pelican case (1)

Altanar (56809) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931131)

  • Couple questions about the Kindle app for phones:
  • How well does the screen/font sizes work? I imagine that if I had the text at a font that was readable without holding the phone 4 inches from my face, I would have to change pages every 30 seconds.
  • How much power does the phone app use? For a 2-3 hour reading session, will I need to be tethered to a wall to keep my phone from dying?
  • How well does outdoor reading work? Is the text legible on a bright, sunny day?

Re:Whatever you've got plus pelican case (1)

DroolTwist (1357725) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931327)

How well does the screen/font sizes work? I imagine that if I had the text at a font that was readable without holding the phone 4 inches from my face, I would have to change pages every 30 seconds.

I have a Droid RAZR (4.3" display I think?). The text formatting has a few options. You can raise/lower the font size, choose how it is displayed on the screen (width), and also choose spacing (3 different modes). You do, even with tight spacing/wide screen/small font, have to turn the page often, but it only takes a tap on the screen of the direction you want to go, or you can set it to use volume controls to turn pages. I prefer small text, so I enjoy reading from the phone, and the page turning isn't noticable really once you use it a while.

How much power does the phone app use? For a 2-3 hour reading session, will I need to be tethered to a wall to keep my phone from dying?

Not much power at all. I usually read an hour or two before bed at night, and with the RAZR of all phones, it doesn't wear the battery much at all. This is in combination with using the Smart Actions app to turn things off I am currently not using (4G, etc).

How well does outdoor reading work? Is the text legible on a bright, sunny day?

I can't speak too much to this, as any 'outdoor' reading I do is either on my back covered patio, or sitting in a car. You can control the brightness of the screen, as well as use one of three different color schemes: white background and black text, beige backgroupd with slightly darker text, or black background and white text.

Re:Whatever you've got plus pelican case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40931443)

Posting anon so I can still mod. Personally I think Aldiko is a much better app than Kindle, but you lose out on the Amazon ebook store. I have quite a small phone screen and for a while I used a small font, but extended reading sessions gave me a headache, so I switched to a larger one where there are only 17 lines of text, 7-10 words per line. So yeah, I flip several pages a minute when I use my phone, but you get used to it. Outdoor reading does not work very well if it's sunny since I have to jack up the brightness all the way and find shade. Without shade, though, it would be impossible to see my screen. Indoors I can usually get by with having the brightness at the minimum setting (part of the reason I love Aldiko, by the way, is that you can adjust the brightness in-app by swiping up or down the left side of the screen). My phone lasts pretty much all day when I read indoors.

Re:Whatever you've got plus pelican case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40931983)

"Couple questions about the Kindle app for phones:"

Really? Do you already own a phone? The app is FREE. Just get the damned thing and answer the questions for yourself - you probably won't believe the answers anyway. Jeez.

A Case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930019)

Seems like something like this [amazon.co.uk] or this [clove.co.uk] is what you're after. These cases are generic, so most ebook readers will fit in them. I guess you'd still need to be a bit careful dropping them, but from the post it seems like you want the device to be protected from moisture/dust/sand rather than rough handling.

Ebook readers are one-trick ponies (1)

fhknack (104003) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930021)

I loved my Amazon Kindle. For about 3 weeks, after which it broke. It wasn't abused; I just wasn't willing to spend another 30% of the purchase price for a cover. I replaced it with a smartphone and haven't missed the Kindle since.

Re:Ebook readers are one-trick ponies (2)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930475)

Contrary to your personal preferences, many people who read a lot prefer a dedicated reader and do not want (or desire) the added distractions of a tablet. And an e-reader will last for a couple weeks on a charge. Will your tablet or smartphone? In fact I'd suggest that anyone who is travelling in unconventional ways should bring an older 'dumb' phone which can last close to two weeks on standby with similar talk time as things like iPhones.

Re:Ebook readers are one-trick ponies (1)

melikamp (631205) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930715)

Actually, your Kindle was broken when you bought it. Unless you want your books to disappear while you are reading them, I'd suggest this rugged beast [zareason.com].

Re:Ebook readers are one-trick ponies (2)

Altanar (56809) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931215)

Neat! An LCD screen *and* a battery life of 14 hours? Let me throw away my Kindle that I can use outside in the sun and that I have to charge once a month, and replace it with this bad boy. Because I will *gladly* pay $349 for a tablet instead of buying a $99 Kindle for a bunch of extra features that I don't want or won't use.

Re:Ebook readers are one-trick ponies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40931223)

While it is a very cool machine I don't see how this is any more rugged than any of the others.

Re:Ebook readers are one-trick ponies (1)

Altanar (56809) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931177)

30% of the purchase price for a cover.

Which says more about the prices of Kindles than it does for covers. Average price for a Kindle cover is $20.

Re:Ebook readers are one-trick ponies (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931439)

I loved my Amazon Kindle. For about 3 weeks, after which it broke. It wasn't abused; I just wasn't willing to spend another 30% of the purchase price for a cover. I replaced it with a smartphone and haven't missed the Kindle since.

Must have been something dreadfully wrong with your Kindle out-of-box.

I've been using my eReader for three or four years now. I don't have to charge it as often as once every three weeks, much less worry about breaking it. I've dropped it several times, including twice onto concrete (three of the corners are dinged, it still works), I just stick it into a hip pocket when I head out....

Re:Ebook readers are one-trick ponies (1)

osssmkatz (734824) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931453)

I'm confused. Your device is covered under warranty if it broke after three weeks. Use it.

Don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930035)

away the inevitable hours spent in transit lounges, at bus stops and on beaches. The weight and bulk of the dead tree approach makes it impractical, so an e-book reader seems ideal

Don't forget to pack a lead acid battery or a crank alternator... just in case the inevitable hours are longer than expected. You know... "anything that can possibly go wrong, does".

Re:Don't forget... (1)

guppysap13 (1225926) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930295)

My first thought (without reading the 'weight and bulk of the dead tree approach' part) was that the paper in books doesn't always take too kindly to water either, and it's easier to keep an e-reader completely enclosed while reading than a book.

Re:Don't forget... (1)

PhotoJim (813785) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931547)

True, but while you can dry and probably read a slightly moistened book, slightly moistened Kindles rarely power up again.

Get a cheap one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930061)

Some of these readers are becoming cheap enough that unless you are doing things that are sure to destroy it, it's not worth spending a lot of money ruggedizing it. Get a $99 Nook and a $20 case for it and call it good enough. It will survive rips to the beach unless you throw it into the water.

Nook Color (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930075)

I took my Nook Color with me to annual training at Camp Shelby with the National Guard. It rolled around in the back of a humvee for a week and a half and was fine. There was some pretty intense rain for a couple of days, too. With a case from Wal-Mart I didn't have any problems. Obviously, I wasn't standing out in the rain trying to read a book, so I'm not going to claim it's waterproof, but being a little damp didn't seem to faze it.

Ruggedized Cell Phone (2)

Synchis (191050) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930101)

I think it would likely be easier to find a ruggedized case for a popular cell phone than an eReader, and then you could load the eReader app of all the popular sites onto it. (Amazon, B&N, and Kobo all have Smartphone apps that work with their services)

I'm actually quite fond of reading on my cell phone. I carry it with me everywhere anyway, so any time I have a few seconds to read, I've got it out with a book open.

Nothing like that exists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930105)

...a lengthy trip involving travel through dusty, damp and drop-inducing environments.

does anyone have any experience with ruggedising an e-book reader for such conditions?

There is no ereader that meets those criteria.

And if there were, you'd be paying over $1,000

So, I say, get your $99 ereader, use it until it breaks, and then get a new one - B&N allows for backups on a PC.

Let's face it, we live in a disposable world.

Kindles are pretty tough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930109)

I wouldn't worry too much. I have a plain pleather case for my Kindle ($10), and I'm never particularly kind to it. In fact, I left it on the top of my car, and had it fly off at about 40 km/h. It survived intact and unharmed.

I'd worry more about how convenient the case is. If you're going to have to dig through a Pelican briefcase to get to your Kindle, you're never going to read it--and it's going to weigh a ton.

A plain bag ? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930113)

I use a ziploc bag to read on the beach. Simple, cheap and efficient.

Rugged Smartphone (1)

vw_bob (117531) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930115)

Personally, I'd only take a smartphone with a protective case. I really enjoy reading books on the kindle app for iPhone and Andriod. This saves you the trouble of caring around yet another unnecessary bit of hardware. Virtually all phones have cases you can get that ruggedize them.

Nook Simple Touch (1)

YackoYak (153131) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930125)

Advantages:
* Cheap (dispensable), $90 on eBay as a refurb. If anything happens you just take your microSD out and put it into a replacement.
* Rubberized case is easy to hold with one hand
* Lots of case options (neoprene, hard front to protect the screen, etc)
* Next/Back buttons are part of the skin, not individual keys that take in dust.
* Screen is inset from frame, adding some protection
* Roots easily so you can add more options (RSS readers, customize screen refresh options, dictionaries, PDF and other ereaders).
* No other ports/connectors other than micro-usb, If you're really worried, you could hack together a micro-usb plug to close off the port.

Cons
* On/off is handled using a push button on the back of the case.

Re:Nook Simple Touch (1)

Altanar (56809) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931021)

Why bother rolling the dice on a $90 refurb on eBay, when a brand new one from B&N is $99?

Re:Nook Simple Touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40931505)

Why bother rolling the dice on a $90 refurb on eBay, when a brand new one from B&N is $99?

Because he's selling his on eBay? His has too much wear to pass as "NIB—just opened to confirm it was in the box!!!!"

Re:Nook Simple Touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40931063)

Kindle only cost $50-60 as a refurb. $80 new. (BTW rooting a nook is forbidden. I've seen lots of stories of B&N refusing to help customers in stores when their Nook was rooted.)

Re:Nook Simple Touch (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931307)

Considering that the Simple Touch retails for $99 w/free shipping and full warranty I'd say $90 for an ebay refurb is a complete ripoff. Not to mention that price doesn't really win it any awards - pretty much any entry-level ereader goes for that price or less. And if you know you're going to be in electronic-hostile environments where a dust/dry-bag will make sense then a non-touch reader (which won't detect "touches" by the bag) and quality bag will set you back about the same amount.

It's also worth noting that for a fair portion of the population, even among geeks, $100 isn't exactly "disposable"*, or it's a sad commentary if it is. How many hours of your life does that represent in take-home pay? Or perhaps even more relevant when on an extended trip - how many additional days of expenses would that cover? Maybe not enough to get obsessive over, but if you think of it as disposable you'll be throwing away a whole lot of years over your lifetime.

* I assume that's what you meant - sure, I've seen high-dollar electronics vending machines, but that's not really relevant to the discussion.

PocketBook (1)

boristdog (133725) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930187)

I've had good luck with my PocketBook e-reader. I've traveled a lot with it and it has taken a lot of abuse.

Re:PocketBook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930291)

My PocketBook has proven to be very tough too. In fact when I got really angry over not being able to open its battery compartment, I tried smashing it unsucessfully. lol

Nook Simple or other eInk reader (1)

carlhirsch (87880) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930225)

It seems to me an eInk display is a good idea here because of its performance under open sunlight.

The Nook is rootable, fits in a cargo pants pocket, and has incredible battery life.

There's waterproof cases to be had on eBay, but I prefer a pleather booklet cover. The Nook's front face seems pretty watertight and I use a drybag for watertight storage.

It's only barely useable for browsing, but it's a beast for ePubs and passable for PDFs.

Solar Powered E-reader (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930277)

Sounds like you doing something like this might be useful for you. Takes a small bit of technical know-how but nothing serious. I've been thinking about making my e-reader solar powered for a while I just have'nt had a good enough reason to do it yet.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-charging-ereader/

Re:Solar Powered E-reader (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931605)

I can see how that might be handy if you were camping in the back woods for weeks/months at a time, but even with heavy usage an e-reader is unlikely to need to be charged more than once every few weeks, odds are they'll spend half an hour someplace with a free outlet long before they're out of charge.

More to the point - even if you could completely cover it with solar panels a "standard" ~15x12cm e-reader only covers 0.018m2, which gets at most ~30W of solar irradiation if perfectly aligned on a sunny equatorial day, call it 3-6W of electricity, absolute best case, probably closer to 0.5-1W in practice with spliced-on panels and opportunistic sunlight - about on par with charging off a miserly USB port, and a small fraction of what a USB charger delivers. Meanwhile you have to leave your fragile, easily liquidated electronics lying face-down in the hot sun to get that charge. Now if you could get it to charge while reading then maybe you'd be on to something... didn't someone recently announce they had developed visibly transparent solar glass? How about using that for a protective layer on the screen?

my experience with a classic Nook (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930403)

I've traveled a little with my e-ink (B&W) Nook from a few years ago, including a couple week-long road trips on my motorbike. The basic e-ink models are pretty cheap and the battery life is better than the color ones. That's about as "ruggedized" as you're going to find.

You want to be a bit protective of the screen; if poked hard by something else in your bag (such as a corner of a hard object pressed against it), it can damage the layer that changes black-to-white and leave a permanent dark spot. I got a couple of those which aren't too bad, but a little annoying to look at. So I'd recommend fitting a sealable durable freezer bag with a same-size rigid shield of some kind (firm plastic, thick cardboard), and put the Nook in that (with the screen facing the board) for protection, and hope for the best.

The simple solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930463)

Just bring along two paperbacks(or even just one). When you've finished reading one of them, seek out a cheep secondhand bookshop and offload your read book while buying another one. Repeat for each book you finish reading. Not only is this a cheep, rugged and light solution, it will also encourage you to explore the areas you find yourself in as you look for secondhand bookshops. Finally, because of the eclectic selection these sort of shops tend to have, you should have plenty of choice but may still find yourself reading interesting, diverse and off-the-beaten-track sort of material.

If you find a book that you don't want to loose, either hold onto it, post it home, or write the title down and and buy it online (digital or otherwise) when you get back.

In Saudi Arabia, Sony Read You (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930493)

Erk, I mean, I live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and I prefer the Sony Reader PRS-T1. ( http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/PRST1 [mobileread.com] ) It's the slimmest one on the market, and is easily hacked to handle the Amazon, B&N, and other online stores, as well as your local library. It has a microSD slot, and you can easily convert your e-books with the Calibre software. I picked mine up for $100 at Best Buy. It's worked well in the sand, dust, and heat here in Saudi, and the Reader and other eInk devices hold a charge for around a month. It definitely beats having to recharge every day or two with LCD devices.

E-books ar DRM ridden and you better off... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930653)

E-books ar DRM ridden and you better off boicoting this crapware.
 

Re:E-books ar DRM ridden and you better off... (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931039)

Anti-DRM = cheap bitchy bastards. Pay for stuff you use or at least write books, music, movies, TV shows or games to contribute to a community of free content. Bitching about DRM and being a leech of content is waste of everybody's time.

Re:E-books ar DRM ridden and you better off... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40932517)

"Anti-DRM = cheap bitchy bastards"

No. I've run into problems where Amazon's Kindle app decides my main computer has an issue, so every few days, it needs to be re-authorized, which eats another of the five allowable licenses. After a couple of weeks, when I go to read it, it tells me I need to buy the book again if I want to read it. Oh, yeah, I can just go in and de-authorize all my devices and start over again, but why should I have to put up with that crap? This is what I get when I play by their rules? No. This is not acceptable, and it is only because of their damned DRM.

Kindle with a case (1)

Zouden (232738) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930685)

Get the basic kindle and invest in a decent case. I have the official amazon case with the built-in light which is very handy for travelling. The light uses the Kindle's battery, which still manages to last for several weeks.

I think it's rugged enough. There's no glass in the screen, and no vents for dust to get in. No, it's not waterproof, but it's only $100. Anything more rugged (if it exists) will be more expensive and just as prone to theft.

smartphone option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930689)

If it not too small for you a Motorola defy would work the screen is sharp, battery life is reasonable (not it the same league as a kindle but a solar charger would sort that) plus it waterproof and it pretty shock shock resistant. Its also pretty cheap too

Cheap way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930747)

I work in the bush 260+ days a year and what works great are zip-lock bags with the double seal. You put your electronics in them and then close the bag most of the way and then suck out the air to vacuum seal it. Touch screens still work through the plastic at least for blackberry torches and iphones. My kindle is first gen and doesn't have touch, only buttons. The nice thing about the bags are they are a lot cheaper than pelican cases.

HOW IS THIS NEWS???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930781)

Just making sure we cover all the bases here.

Kindle. ZipLock bag. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930883)

Next!

Fisher Price Ebook Reader (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930913)

If it can withstand the brutal torture of a 3 year old, it can withstand anything.

Re:Fisher Price Ebook Reader (1)

couchslug (175151) | about a year and a half ago | (#40932121)

"If it can withstand the brutal torture of a 3 year old"

Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

If you use an iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40930923)

http://www.lifeproof.com/ipad

A paper book or two paper books nothing special (2)

BetaDays (2355424) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930945)

If you are traveling you may just want to pick up a few paper books. Several reasons for this. 1) cost. Although some paper books can and do cost a lot if you pick something cheap it makes sense. 2)you don't have to worry about power 3) Stealing something valuable. Where ever you go you have to be on your guard since they see you have this high price item and will be thinking you got a lot of cash, time to liberate it for themselves. 4) Safety. See #3. If you have something nice and shiny, depending upon the people around you someone could follow you and want to take it way, putting you in harms way. Although as everyone knows it could just be something else they are looking at like your watch, cloths and so on. On trips I always try to look nondescript so no one thinks I got any cash or valuable stuff on me. In my car I got a lot of trash in the back seats so people think my car is crap and wouldn't want it.

Just my thoughts.

Re:A paper book or two paper books nothing special (0)

Archon-X (264195) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931029)

Honestly, you must not travel much, or not very light, or - you've never tried travelling with an e-reader.

Books take up huge amounts of space, space that most travellers have optimised with tiny tents, compact stoves and minimized clothing.

They're heavy, they're akward, and when you're finished with them, you're stuck with them.

The kindle (and its ilk) - are tiny, non-flashy looking, slip into any pocket, have months of battery life, can be pulled out at a moment's notice, and can even act as a web surfing / email checking device when you need.

I travel extensively, and the kindle is a must-have device.

Re:A paper book or two paper books nothing special (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931503)

I camp quite a bit and I don't travel light, I have 4 man tent of the 4 season type (yes I do camp in the middle of the winter), gas stoves that I use to cook for 4 people, 5 or 6 solar lights that I stake into the ground for night light (I have a kerosene lamp as back up), the usual tarps, ground cloth, clothing, gas heater buddy for winter camping (keeps the tent warm), gas heater for the shower (used a solar shower this is just better), although I did buy the 1 lb sleeping bag that is good to -20F, And I take a book or two with me. Camping with electronics is a pain. Waking up with morning dew all over a camera (and in it) or phone since it was left sitting out all night, or still on you for when you fall a sleep around the camp fire is not nice. Or when it rains or if there is a lot of fog in the air again not good for the device. It's really about having one less item to worry about keeping safe. I take several books on outdoor lore that I've had for years and some reading books with me.

The reading ones I sell back to a second market book re-seller which I then put towards my next book. http://www.hpb.com/ [hpb.com] I actually sold them my Borders e-reader when I upgraded my android tablet to a 7" Polaroid which I carry with me all over the place (yes in addition to the paper back books that I still read) but I leave at home when I go camping. Also I have a Sylvania android tablet that I plan on getting rid of soon.

Now if my trip only involves me staying in hotels then that's something else I take my e-reader to do my e-mail and such. But for when I'm out in public I still use a paper book because getting mugged is not fun. If the devices cost 10 dollars and were as cheap to replace I wouldn't have a problem of showing my wares to everyone (and locked down for id safety purposes)

And e-readers still lack things. Things like sun light (although haven't tried the kindle) and the problem with falling asleep at night because of the back light affecting me. Also the whole dirty hands trying to make the pages turn, and not to mention keeping the thing clean from dirt and sand from the beach and so on. It's just easier to take a paper book.

Re:A paper book or two paper books nothing special (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | about a year and a half ago | (#40932035)

Honestly, you must not travel much, or not very light, or - you've never tried travelling with an e-reader.

Books take up huge amounts of space, space that most travellers have optimised with tiny tents, compact stoves and minimized clothing.

They're heavy, they're akward, and when you're finished with them, you're stuck with them.

The kindle (and its ilk) - are tiny, non-flashy looking, slip into any pocket, have months of battery life, can be pulled out at a moment's notice, and can even act as a web surfing / email checking device when you need.

I travel extensively, and the kindle is a must-have device.

Huge amounts of space? Heavy and awkward? We're not talking about a student with a pile of text books to be lugged from class to class.

We're talking about a couple trade paper backs to fill the occasional down/waiting time.

My wife's kindle (not the latest generation) has an approximate volume of a single paper back and the weight of 2 or 3. So yes, 2 or 3 slim paperbacks will probably be more space and weight than your e-reader, but they also don't require cables or chargers. Yes, I know the kindle has a long battery life (a month I've seen; "months" of use is a bit of exaggeration), but do you really travel without a way to charge?

As for "when you're finished with them, you're stuck with them," I think you have it backwards, unless your kindle is disposable. The e-reader you're probably going to want to being home with you. The paper backs, you can recycle when your done--either use the paper for a fire or some other use, or pass the book along whole. Also, the kindle is all or nothing--it doesn't get lighter or smaller if you delete books after reading. You can reduce your load of a few small paper backs if you release each book as you read.

I agree a reader such as the kindle is much more travel friendly than a tablet or laptop, but don't exaggerate the utility of a few light paper backs. I'm not suggesting you take your signed first edition in to the jungle, but why not hit a used book store for a few slim paperbacks?

Re:A paper book or two paper books nothing special (1)

slim (1652) | about a year and a half ago | (#40932629)

Huge amounts of space? Heavy and awkward? We're not talking about a student with a pile of text books to be lugged from class to class.

We're talking about a couple trade paper backs to fill the occasional down/waiting time.

You're clearly not a very voracious reader.

Around the time the Kindle was announced, I was on a two week work assignment in Tokyo. There's lots to do in Tokyo, but in the evenings I was usually pretty exhausted, so all I really wanted to do was read in my hotel room. I finished two fat novels in the first three nights -- I'd run out of stuff to read. Now, if I'd been in an English speaking country, I could probably have bought another book easily. But as it was, I had to plan a schlep across the city to Tower Records where I knew they had an English Language book department. So I did that, and for my journey home, there was an extra kilogram of paper in my suitcase.

If I'd had a Kindle then:
  - my luggage weight would have stayed low
  - I could have added books without leaving my hotel room.

Re:A paper book or two paper books nothing special (1)

bware (148533) | about a year and a half ago | (#40933259)

If I'd had a Kindle then [...] I could have added books without leaving my hotel room.

and I wouldn't have met Julie from the American Embassy on a rainy Armistice Day evening at the Shakespeare and Co. on the Left Bank, nor the two Basque climbers who showed me around Rodellar for two days, nor the Frenchman from San Francisco in Railay. Nor, again in Paris, 15 years later, the Australian couple from Perth who bought my dinner and offered to put me up in their beach house next time I'm in the neighborhood.

Time to start shopping for plane tickets, I think.

Bars and bookstores are the best places to meet people, and reading a book in a bar is a great conversation starter. People can't resist talking to you when you're reading a book. I have an iPad, but there's a lot to be said for taking a few paperbacks and trading them along the way. And not caring too much if they're lost, wet, or beat up.

Having only the collected works of Tolstoy on a trip, and having nothing else to read, is a great way get through something you might otherwise be distracted from.

People traveled with books for centuries, even when they were travelling light. And the glory of cheap books is that you don't have to bring them back. Pass them on. I thank all the travelers who left me books. Except for the Dan Brown. Ugh. That book actually lowered my IQ.

Re:A paper book or two paper books nothing special (1)

RealGene (1025017) | about a year and a half ago | (#40932429)

They're heavy, they're akward, and when you're finished with them, you're stuck with them.

I just leave them where I stayed for the next guest.

Keeping it safe (1)

Hermit Squirrel (2702673) | about a year and a half ago | (#40930971)

For just storage use a formed hard nylon case then when your using it make sure its in a waterproof case with strap so you can wear it and protect it from falling and water damage.

If you can get around bringing the ebook reader just get some books on tape and put them on a tiny mp3 player or phone. If find this much easier to get my stories while traveling and one less device to lug around with me.

Back in the PDA days I had an awesome rugged case for my compaq [google.com], the case was really thick, enough to absorb shock from falls and sealed enough to protect it from a little water. Tried finding something like it for ebooks or tablets but no luck, maybe you can google some more and find something.

Kindle Non Touch (5, Interesting)

Archon-X (264195) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931007)

The Kindle Non-Touch could be your device.

Background
The shell is metal (titanium? aluminium?) - and can withstand serious knocks.
The device itself is very slim, so easier to slide into the back of backpacks, pockets, etc.
The e-ink display seems to take substantial abuse before it cracks - and if it does crack,amazon replaces the device for free.

Jusitifications
You're asking for something rugged - most people don't abuse their devices.
I've just got back from a 12,400KM trip on motocycle from France to Kazakhstan - my kindle was in the top of the tank case for the entire trip.
It endured being dropped on concrete multiple times ( the shell has chunks missing, but the device marches on ) - and also a small accident when I put the bike down - the tank case ripped off, flew through the air, had a solid impact - and the Kindle marches on. There's a tiny black dot (e-ink equivalent of 'dead pixels', I guess) - where there was significant pressure, but works perfectly.

You can telnet / SSH to the device without modification, you can replace the screensavers, you can download / pirate books if it's your fancy.
It's a pretty damned amazing device, especially for the price of $99.

Re:Kindle Non Touch (1)

jimmyswimmy (749153) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931409)

I have a Kindle 3G and, although I love the device, it is not nearly as robust as parent suggests. Even with a [thin] protective device, the screen driver has died on me twice. Once while in a remote location where I had literally nothing else to read but tech manuals, and the other time it fell off my dresser. Both times I was seriously annoyed. Amazon is very reasonable about replacements, and the first was free, the second was half price. I am still in love with my Kindle but recommend a spare e-reader at minimum and strongly suggest a few lengthy printed tomes as backup, something you don't mind reading twice (perhaps a classic, a compendium of fiction, etc.).

So, I lived on a small sailboat... (1)

Havenwar (867124) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931089)

Last year I spent a few months living on a small sailboat. One of the issues I had was that, well, I'm a geek. Solar panels, batteries, laptop, android phone, kindle... it all had to survive. As for my phone I just got a motorola defy, no further protection needed... it's worked great and have taken no end of abuse without a hiccup. As for my ebook reader, I got myself a cheap kindle and a cheap waterproof bag from some dealer on amazon. I think it's called TrendyDigital or some such. It has a neckstrap as well, so I'd just carry my kindle with me, sit around reading, and was able to drop it at a moments notice without worrying about it falling and breaking. I'm not recommending any particular brand here, I'm sure a regular ziploc bag would do the trick, and you could probably add a strap to that as well with some thought to it.

And true, if it had fallen, or slammed against something hard when I bent over, it would have been bye bye kindle. It's not a hardcase... but honestly the kindle is so cheap that it would be a waste of money to protect it with a hardcase. If it breaks I wouldn't even call up the insurance company - the deductible would be the majority of the price of a new one. Just treat it with some care, and if it breaks - get the next model and treat that one with some MORE care.

In the bath (1)

burning_plastic (164918) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931111)

I regularly read on my Kindle in the bath. I just double-bag with regular ziploc bags, and I've never had any issues.

Re:In the bath (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40931951)

My kindle touch got accidentally left outside for several hours during heavy rain. It was completely exposed - on top of a concrete gatepost, not sheltered in any way.

When I discovered it, the screen was still displaying the screensaver. I wiped it off and put it in a big box of rice overnight (rice absorbs moisture, for anyone who doesn't know), and it has been completely fine ever since.

Also, I regularly use it in the bath without encasing it in anything - hasn't been dunked, but hasn't given any problems due to that either.

Truly rugged option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40931237)

If you are going to use you phone as a reader get the droid commando by GzOne it is shock resistant and water proof not water resistant. All ports are sealed with rubber gaskets.

Take my example, if you will... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40931433)

Reinforcing a 7" Android tablet was easy for me; a $20 semi-hard cover with a built-in USB keyboard provides ample impact and pressure protection - said combo gets bumped and rattled in my backpack to and from work and work-sites every day. An inexpensive tablet, if you're careful about which one you buy, is significantly cheaper than a dedicated e-reader these days and makes an excellent e-reader + movie player + plus web browser (wifi or 3G/4G) + music player. The complete combo, including a decent set of headphones and a 32GB microSD card, ran me $150 after shipping - a good name brand e-reader with similar accessories will cost you at least $200 new and frequently doesn't include an SD slot. I also agree with the others about using a ziploc bag (or even a double-bagged ziploc for serious dust and moisture protection) to provide cheap and easy waterproofing.

Forget Rugged... (1)

slk (2510) | about a year and a half ago | (#40931577)

And go Cheap. Buy the cheapest Kindle Amazon sells, skip the bulk of a heavy case. As long as it survives most of your trip, call it disposable. If you can find one used, do that. Sometimes rugged is not worth the hassle.

Panasonic Toughpad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40931809)

Battery life will be significantly worse than an eReader, but a Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1 should be able to withstand the conditions you describe.

Kindle Fire + Otterbox Defender = Battle tested (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40932015)

I have a kindle fire which I immediately put in a Otterbox Defender case. With the front cover on the Kindle Fire its very resilient. Not only did I take it through a year and a half in Afghanistan (thrown in my pack or body armor), but I have been letting my 3 year old, and 12 year old boys (affectionately known as FOD's or Force Of Destructions) use it. They have had it for a year and it works great, is small enough to fit in the oldest back pocket (and sit on unfortunately), and uses so little power I was able to charge it with a mobile solar charger while in Afghanistan. Its also a cheap option... Kid and battle proven.

DIY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40932041)

In terms of protecting e-readers, I've found that a 4x6inch resealable plastic bags (look on eBay for sellers offering 100 micron / 'extra heavy duty' ones) is more useful (& much cheaper) than an Aquapac or similar for anything short of actual submergence. Both these bags (and aquapacs) soon pick up pinholes in general use, if you have a set of spare bags, it's seconds to change. They're also useful for phones, gadgets, tobacco, toothpaste, cosmetics, food etc in any vaguely extreme environment.

In terms of cases, all the commercially available faux leather ones have been a joke. I have a 'case' made out of two pieces of 1.5mm thick aluminium sheet with a duck-tape hinge, covered in tape to avoid scratches.

Hazing/Fogging/Scuffs tip! (2)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year and a half ago | (#40932351)

With most of the dry lock bags they start getting scuffed and become fogged and translucent instead of transparent. A quick wipe with Armor All and transparency returns. I use some double tough ziplock freezer bags as well and the Armor All works to clean them up as well.

Learned case is important (but dooms 7" tablets) (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about a year and a half ago | (#40932781)

I was semi-excited when cheap 7" tablets came out. I didn't ever understand the appeal of tablets, but when they dipped under $100 I decided I might
as well get one and see what the fuss is about, and 7" is the right size -- it fits in my pocket so that I will actually have one on me.

Bullshit. It fits in my pocket? No, it breaks in my pocket (cracked screen; still works but it's just a matter of time, now). Whether that's because I bought cheap crap (I did, so it's somewhat possible that's why it cracked, I'll admit) or because of the stresses (particularly when sitting in car, with chorkie on my lap), I'm not sure, but I am pretty sure it wouldn't have happened, if I had used the cheapo case that I bought but never use. The problem is that with the case, it doesn't fit in my pocket anymore, thereby undermining the entire "tablet experiment." (If the best computer is the one you have, then the most useless computer is one you don't have.)

And that's why I've reversed my opinion on 7" tablets -- they're losers too, just as bad as 10" ones. And if you have to use a case and therefore can't pocket it anyway, then 10" isn't really any worse than 7". My next gizmo will be 5" maximum, plus case. And that's for ruggedness reasons, which is why I mention it here.

Use case. Make that part of your spec. Then shop around, within that size-increasing constraint.

XO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40933127)

Get one of the OLPC tablets they just released. Rugged enough for a bunch of third world young'uns should be perfect.

Craft store (1)

djchristensen (472087) | about a year and a half ago | (#40933183)

Find a lightweight aluminum box at a craft store (try the rubber stamp aisle) that will fit the e-reader, line it with some foam from the same store for a snug but not tight fit, then put the e-reader in a ziplock bag inside the box. That should protect it from just about anything you can throw at it. Should be very inexpensive, also. If it gets broken, you've got bigger problems to worry about.

My wife has used her Kindle in the bathtub inside a ziplock bag without any complaints. A clean ziplock does not obscure the screen enough to really even notice.

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