eReader + Sunscreen = Whoops

Summer is rapidly approaching (in the northern hemisphere, at least) so today I thought it would be useful to post this story as a public service announcement.

I’m sure lots of people will be taking their ereader on trips this summer and that includes the beach. But you might want to rethink that; it seems that plastic shells used on ereader  and other gadgets don’t exactly get along with some types of sunscreen. One Atlanta native had to learn that the hard way.

She reports that she had applied spray-on sunscreen while on the beach. While she didn’t get any spray on the Nook itself, she did hold it when she was reading. As you can see from the photo above,the sunscreen on her fingers ate away at the shell.

One the one hand, this is an old story. Plastic often reacts poorly to chemicals, as anyone who was a teenage boy could tell you in some detail. And having gadgets destroyed by the chemicals on your hand is again not new.

On the other hand, this is the first time I’ve ever seen this kind of story about an ereader. The Kindle has been out for some 4 years now so I’m slightly surprised that this kind of damage hasn’t made its way around the tech blogs.

In any case, be careful.




Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder 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. Mark9 May, 2012

    Excellent tip, thanks!

  2. Jared Brandon9 May, 2012

    And people put this stuff on their skin?! Yikes.

  3. Lark9 May, 2012

    Oops. That also makes one wonder what the sunscreen is doing to one’s skin…

  4. […] merkt Nate von The Digital Reader zurecht an, dass ihm eine ähnliche Geschichte in den 4 Jahren, in denen es den Amazon Kindle eReader gibt, […]

  5. Mary9 May, 2012

    I always used a plastic protector for my Kindle whenever I am at the beach. You can buy various kinds and I think it is money well spent for keeping sand and water off of it and now sunscreen. I always read in a beach chair right at the edge of the ocean. No fears with my kindle cover. It is sealed up to something like 15 feet deep and has a clip so you can clip to your towel or wear like a lanyard around your neck…no losing in a big wave.

  6. Bob9 May, 2012

    Why would we be using sunscreen anyway? Its not exactly good for you.

    1. Logan Kennelly9 May, 2012

      Sunscreen is “bad” for you in the same way that seatbelts are “bad” for you: the extra protection may give a false sense of safety and result in more dangerous behavior.

      Unless you have some other information saying that exposure to solar radiation is safer than exposure to sunscreen. Most of what I have seen is anti-chemical fear playing off the argument that the science isn’t in on a _definite_ link between the ultraviolet light and cancer.

  7. kevin stephen10 May, 2012

    It looks like the chemical reaction is with the coating on the case & not the plastic case itself. I am assuming that it is some sort of rubberized coating? Just a matter of getting the proper material to resist common chemicals. A nice case would seem to be in order anyway.

  8. […] Consider the implications of sunscreen for your electronics… […]

  9. […] merkt Nate von The Digital Reader zurecht an, dass ihm eine ähnliche Geschichte in den 4 Jahren, in denen es den Amazon Kindle eReader gibt, […]

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