Tips for Dealing with a Cracked E-reader Screen

One of the most frustrating but common problems with e-readers is a cracked screen. Sure, lots of people will say that the top contender for the worst, most frequently reported problem is an e-reader that’s been dunked in the water. That happens all the time. But these days there are a few wonderfully engineered and designed devices that are totally waterproof. With one of those, your waterlogged problem is solved before it even happens. Still, nobody has come up with a screen that is unbreakable. So if yours breaks or cracks, it is good to know your options.

3 Basic Remedies

1) It may be returnable to the manufacturer for a replacement or repair. 2) You can take it to a professional or business that specializes in repairing digital electronics, including e-readers. 3) You could try to fix it yourself…although that is not advised unless you have experience. Let’s take a look at what each of these fixes or potential solutions have to offer.

Warranty Remedies

If you purchased your device new, it may be covered by a manufacturer’s or seller’s warranty. In that case, you’re in luck. You can return it for a free repair or replacement. But it pays to read the small print in any warranty. Most of them will not cover damage done to an e-reader if the damage was caused by the owner of the device. Maybe you accidentally dropped it on the sidewalk and the screen cracked. Chances are, that’s not covered unless the manufacturer or retailer has a really generous warranty policy. Study the warranty and talk to the seller to find out if they will fix it for you, for free – or for a nominal charge to cover such things as the cost of shipping.

Professional and DIY Fixes

Replacing a broken screen with a new one is also a possible solution. But be prepared for “sticker shock,” because the price may be way more than you expected. E-reader screens may look like ordinary glass, which is relatively cheap. Looks can be deceiving, though. The fact is, the screen of an e-reader may actually be the most expensive component of the entire device. The screens are not simple glass, but are sophisticated components capable of supporting an electronic ink display. If you have the work done by a repair shop, the cost of the screen plus the cost of the labor may actually add up to an amount nearly equal to the price of an e-reader.

Should You Buy a Replacement?

That’s why many people faced with the prospect of laying out that kind of cash for a repair decide instead to just buy a previously owned or new model. One of the better options is to buy an e-reader that has been professionally refurbished. Shop for one certified by the manufacturer or their authorized representative, that has at least a short-term warranty. Sometimes you can also find Amazon Warehouse deals on really good e-readers. Those gadgets are typically new, but just have cosmetic damage. In some cases the damage may only be to the packaging, not to the device itself.

Issues with DIY Repair
If you decide to buy a screen from a distributor and then replace it yourself, make sure you purchase a screen for the exact device that you have. The screens will differ from model to model and generation to generation, and without the specific one you need it may not fit well enough to work. You’ll also need special tools. Those include a set of small screwdrivers that fit the screws on your device, and an item called aspudger.” It is used to pry open the cover without damaging it or the electronic components inside. Depending on the model of e-reader, you’ll then have to unplug any wires or clips attached to the screen.

Reverse Engineering

You also need to make sure you take notes to remember which goes where, for putting them all back together correctly. There may be many tiny components attached to the internal circuitry of the device, and disconnecting all of them can be very difficult. Putting them back in place can be even harder. Screens are also super fragile, especially when they are not snugly attached to the device. So great care has to be taken not to crack the new screen as you handle it.

Considering the difficulty and risk of a DIY repair, coupled with the high price of the screen and the additional cost of tools, DIY repairs aren’t a great option. Before attempting a DIY project, see if you can find a helpful “how to” video on YouTube that walks you through each stop of the procedure, for your particular type of e-reader. It may be easier for something to go wrong – and for you to damage the costly new screen – than it is to make a successful repair.