People are always talking about e-books over on Charlie Stross' blog, and occasionally the subject of reading in the bathtub arises. I'm rather a fan of this practice myself and, having switched much of my reading over to an e-book reader, yes, I read mine in the tub.
Everybody worries about dropping the darn thing in, of course. But this is also a worry for a paper book; the real difference is that it costs you a lot more if you drop the reader in. But I think that the risk of dropping an e-reader is less, so from an economist's point of view it more or less evens out. I've dropped paper books in the tub only a couple of times, and the reader is easier to hold, lighter than some books, and, because it's expensive, I tend to be a lot more careful with it. That's not to say if I'm feeling tired I won't hold it over the edge and outside the tub, anyway.
And the nice thing about it is that it's a lot easier to hold and use one-handed (especially when it comes to turning pages) than a paper book. Not only does this avoid the inevitable cramp I get in my hand when reading a paper book unidexterously, but also leaves a hand free to play with my rubber duck.
Alas, we don't yet have a waterproof reader (wouldn't that be prefect for onsen!), though I've heard that some people use plastic bags.
But it occurs to me, we already have radios, televisions and DVD players designed for the tub. Why not an e-reader, too? In fact, what's put me off the tub-DVD-players has really been the low resolution more than anything else: I want a full-HD BluRay system with surround sound for my tub! I've also wanted a computer in my tub for a long time. This would be Douglas Adams' dream bath.
I'm doubting we'll see a waterproof reader in 2010, but I wouldn't be surprised to see one in 2011, and I'd be surprised if we didn't have one by 2012.