56 Broken Kindle Screens: book and video

Here's a bit of wry gadget iconography: a book and video devoted to the sad sight of a smashed Kindle screen. Speaking as someone who broke three Kindle screens in as many months (and then gave up on carrying one), I can empathize:

“56 Broken Kindle Screens” is a print on demand paperback that consists of found photos depicting broken Kindle screens. The Kindle is Amazon's e-reading device which is by default connected to the company's book store.

The book takes as its starting point the peculiar aesthetic of broken E Ink displays and serves as an examination into the reading device's materiality. As the screens break, they become collages composed of different pages, cover illustrations and interface elements.

Order the book on Lulu.

56 Broken Kindle Screens - Silvio Lorusso and Sebastian Schmieg (2012) (via Beyond the Beyond)


  1. This seems like it would be good for practical jokes, with less chance of actually shattering your mark’s device than, say, the iPad “bathroom scale” app.


  2. I’m interested ! Was it the poor build quality if anything or unfortunate events? If I ever had to buy 3 of something over a short time…..

  3.  With the greatest of respect Cory… Breaking gadgets is certainly not good for the environment [since they get chucked out], not good for your wallet, and not good for your soul. If you’ve broken 3 in 3 months, perhaps take a moment to adjust your habits / packing / bag, etc, so this does not happen. I have mine with me 24/7 and so far so good – planes, trains, cars, offices – maybe you just need a better bag. LowePro and Alienware make great bags.

    1.  I’ve had my Kindle (Fire no less, cheap small imitation ipad) for almost a year.  I carry it everywhere (ok, in nice little protective cover). Use it every day and have once or twice dropped it face down on the tile floor.  Still works.

    2. If it weren’t for the existence of that other gadget that shall remain nameless, you’d have a point.

      As it is, it seems to me that the Kindle needs to do a better imitation of that nameless gadget’s amazingly rugged screen, and maybe google “gorilla glass” for tips.

  4. i’ve carried my kindle everywhere, for almost a year. i’ve sat down with it in my back pocket, i’ve carried it in the same pocket as cigg’s/lighter or keys, i’ve dropped it, several times, on surfaces ranging from bathroom tile to concrete to carpet….not so much as a crack.  I’ve been lucky.  So what the hell are you doing to yours? 

    1. I stepped on one (not mine) and the other I let sit for too long without charging, which apparently can break it. Admittedly this was over longer periods of time.

    2. When you sat down with it in your back pocket, you’ve been indeed lucky. Or have a really weak gluteus maximus, I guess.   

      (Assuming, you don’t use a case.)

  5. I don’t have a kindle, but I do have a Sony. I bought a metal box just larger than the Sony to put it in, for two pounds; the box is scratched, dented, dinged and discoloured. The Sony is in mint condition. Far superior carry case than anything official for any eReader I’ve seen. Go lo-tech and off-brand; stick it in a little metal box.

  6. So I brought my Kindle on vacation… first day in, it cracked. I spent the rest of vacation reading a huge stack of books on my wife’s iPhone, which was NOT a nice experience.

    Next time, I’m going to encase my new Kindle in carbonite and it will hopefully survive.

  7.  The Flintstones age actually came after the Jetson’s.

    They were a “modern” stone age family.

    After the sprocket/cog corporate wars. The earth was left in ruins. No more flying cars, no more high rise apartments.

    All Digital Media was lost..music, books, education texts. What remained was hard copy print films, books and LPs. Forgotten in the vaults of ground based libraries.

    Using that media which did not require specialized players the ground dwellers rebuilt a society based on the 50’s and 60’s decades of America. LP/Film Movies/and hard copy books were the template to imitate cultures and styles.

    Appliances were simulated using escaped bio engineered animals—and trained to preform specific tasks.

    This is how that started: “I got a Kindle”

      1.  Be my guest. I’d love to see a Flintstones reboot based on ‘after jetson’ world. With a corporate wars intro.  And Barney and Fred going into a ground city littered with fallen Jetson age towers and tossing away broken, kindles, Iphones, Pads, pods.  And coming back with hard copy films, LP’s and books….and a poor little Dino escaped from a zoo that follows them home.

    1.  I like this suggestion, but I would never actually use it. Just like I won’t install those apps that simulate a breaking screen. It just seems too much like tempting fate, y’know?

  8. 3 in 3 months? If it’s physical damage you’re officially a clutz and should be wearing a padded helmet 24/7. If it’s not physical damage you probably have iron-rich blood and need to be degaussed daily.

    1. Yeah, whenever I read about people who “are tough on their gear” I always imagine them as permanently enraged palsy sufferers, furiously slamming their poor possessions around while howling like a T-Rex.

  9. Kind of surprised Cory would have been a Kindle guy, as Amazon purposefully avoids using the more open epub format for a proprietary one.

    1.  Statistically irrelevant sample of one. Some people are just hard on equipment. Maybe out there somewhere is an unbiased, scientific comparison of the survivability of different devices; it would be useful information.

    2. I’d recommend (as Ray does) taking a larger sample. For your collection: I have a Kindle 2 (five years old now) and a Kindle 3 (almost a year old, because it does Wi-Fi and that’s necessary to borrow from my library).

      I’ve taken them to the beach (in a plastic bag), on airplanes (in both a roller bag and my purse), and on road trips. I’ve dropped them, though never off a building. Neither have carrying cases or broken screens, though the Kindle 2’s five-direction … thingie did break. (I could have fixed it easily with some super glue, but think it’s kinda cool to use the exposed hardware.)

  10. how can you kill 3 in 3 months, mine goes everywhere and is only kept in a cheap neoprene case, its been hauled in backpacks on motorbikes, planes etc only damage has been two cosmetic cracks in bottom of casing and a tiny square of dead pixels where an ipod diving off the desk hit it (on the floor) corner on.
    that being said i always were combats so its in the side pockets, never use back pockets for anything.

  11. Any chance to get some broken e-ink displays? It may be possible to extract the layer with the microencapsulated e-ink and place conductive glass on one side and electrodes on the other and have a homemade e-ink display. Just apply +-30 volts and see the changes happening, the theory says…

    Even broken LCDs are useful. You can salvage the polarizers and the backlight diffuser panel, and reuse them for other purposes:

  12. I find it necessary to use  protective covers and carrying cases  for phones, pads, laptops and Kindles to protect them from day to day use. The vendors and manufactures do not provide buyers with one and will not tell you this as they get to sell more. Why reporters and reviewers do not advise the consuming public of the need to protect these devices is unknown, perhaps it is just ignorance or laziness.

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