The Sunday Times August 14, 2005 Plastic books invade beach A BEACH-PROOF book that can withstand sand, sun, seawater and suntan cream has gone on sale at airports. Britons heading for the seaside have already snapped up 20,000 copies, writes Claire Newell. The Beach Book, an anthology of short stories, is made from plastic resin instead of the wood pulp used in most paper. Pages are heavier than in a traditional book but are no thicker and are more difficult to tear. They do not yellow with age or stain when drinks spill on them. “One day I was on holiday and I noticed that everyone was reading the The Da Vinci Code around the swimming pool,” said Charles Melcher, the book’s American inventor, who has also produced variants for reading in the bath. “I thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if I could make a waterproof book that people could take to the beach or the pool and not worry about getting suntan lotion on or the book falling into the water’,” he said. While The Beach Book overcomes most holiday reading problems, the pages can sometimes stick together if they are allowed to stay wet. If this happens you just squeeze out the pages and blow them with a hairdryer for a few minutes. The book includes short stories by Roald Dahl, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jeffrey Eugenides, a Pulitzer prizewinner. Its spine is reinforced so that pages do not fall out in the heat of the sun. Its heavier weight may also make it useful for fending off unwelcome interruptions in mid-story. The theme of the anthology is the sea, and the stories are set in locations such as Africa, Thailand, the Caribbean and California. The book will soon be on general sale in Britain. Melcher’s waterproof books have already sold more than 750,000 copies and he now wants to expand the subject matter into novels, outdoor and travel guides, diving manuals and greaseproof cookbooks and children’s books.