Tech in the Tub: An E-Reading Field Study

My Beloved often extols the restorative powers of a good bath. Following a night which could have been better, a morning of tedious errands in grey, wet weather and a bus ride home shared with a gaggle of noisy children on their way to the bowling alley, I needed some restoring. I was already wet anyway from the stormy weather, decided to test out this bath business … and to take some techy toys along with me for the ride.

I’ve heard that a simple Ziploc bag is all I would need to keep my e-book readers safe, dry and happy. But would they perform? Would the Ziploc shield protect my reader, not just from the water, but from my hands as well? That was the question! I answered it by outfitting a Kindle Touch, Kobo Touch and iPod Touch in full Ziploc armor, and taking them into the tub with me. Here are the results:


Even with the Kobo encased in Ziploc, I was able to select a book and get it open. Still, I tapped in vain and could never get it to turn the page for me. I might have experimented for longer—I am sure others found the sweet spot on their devices to get it working—but I had two more options, so I put the Kobo aside.


I had mixed success with the Ziploc-protected Kindle Touch. The touchscreen recognized my taps, all right. But it didn’t always translate them into the action I wanted to perform. A few times, the page did turn. Other times, the font would randomly go up or down, odd things would get highlighted, and so on. It worked, but not reliably.


Oh, iPod Touch, what a champ you are! My little iPod veritably swam in the sandwich-size Ziploc bag, but I could run the full monty here: open the app, choose a book, turn pages, go back a page and so on. It was business as usual for Mr. Touch. I don’t find the iPod Touch as good to read on as the big boys while on dry land, but as far as my bathtub experiment goes, he was the clear winner.

As far as dryness protection, I had no problems with the Ziploc bag, and I anticipate that it would work quite well for non-touchscreen devices. You could easily slide a Kindle Keyboard in there and use the buttons to read and relax.

Have you ever tried to read in the tub or the pool? What were your results like?

About Joanna Cabot (1594 Articles)
"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."

7 Comments on Tech in the Tub: An E-Reading Field Study

  1. The solution of course is a reader that has physical page turn buttons. The Nook and the basic Kindle both meet this requirement. As does my comparatively ancient Sony PRS-505.

  2. My iPhone does the biz.

    As I posted a week ago here, my Kindle Touch went berserk at the touch of the plastic in the ziplock :(

  3. I have heard people say they will never use an ereader because they love to read in the tub, but I think a paper book is worse because you can’t keep it totally dry and still turn the pages. Besides, I find that the water gets cold after a while anyway.

  4. Book holder. GREAT when you’re in the tub, too. (I had 20 books with 1″ spines and 4″ opposite from they dropping in the tub.)

    Ebook adapter:

    Saved my reading life. Pricey but worth every cent.

  5. I’d never thought of using my e-reader in the tub with a ziploc bag, but now I’m going to try it.

  6. I’m a huge fan of the restorative bath. But I skip the baggie. I never put my paperbacks in a baggie, either. Works fine.

    I haven’t tried iPad-in-a-shower yet.

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