When Johnny Carson was host of the Tonight Show (yes, I’m that old), he would do a countdown of 10 top this or that. I am now shamelessly “borrowing” that routine here (as others have done before me) with my top 10 ways those print version tea books are much better than those e-book versions.

Image viewing this photo on a tiny e-reader screen. Ugh! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Image viewing this photo on a tiny e-reader screen. Ugh! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

10 Taking your time – Gee, maybe it’s just me, but that printed book, especially one about such a topic of interest as tea, makes me want to slow down and take my time, leisurely absorbing the color photos, page layout, and general ambience that the e-book version doesn’t have. Call me nostalgic, old-fashioned, or just downright dinosauric – I will answer “Yes, yes, and yes, and proud to be” and then leisurely turn another page.

9 Larger size – We’re not talking about font size here. One area where e-books shine is being able to decide how large you want the print to be. Here, though, I mean the overall size where you can see that entire tea garden photo in all its large-sized and brilliantly colored glory, sometimes in a “spread” that goes across two pages. You can see lovely setups of teapots and tea leaves and all things tea without having to either reduce the size or view a small chunk at a time.

8 View of pages – Sure, in an e-book version you can jump from one page to another and do searches, but if you’re taking your time (as stated in #10 above), you may want to look back at an image or section in chapter one but not lose your place in chapter 17 and even be able to look at each back and forth quickly to see and compare things. Tea books are often meant as reference, not straight reading, but you will also find yourself referring back to something.

7 Less jumping around – Not to contradict myself, but printed books, even those about tea, are less distracting (no hyperlinks tempting you to jump to some other point in the book before you’ve fully read the part you’re currently looking at). But if you do need to find something, you can reference the index. Yes, the index – a vanishing art (creating an index can often take longer than writing the book did).

6 Static layout – Those e-books change depending on the device, so you miss half of the experience in a tea book (at least, one that is well-laid out and meant to have this visual appeal). In the printed book you see a beautifully thought out arrangement of text and images that doesn’t change. This is especially good for keeping photos with their relevant text (not just the photo captions).

5 Availability – Due to digital rights management, you could find yourself unable to even download the book, let alone read it. The printed book can usually be ordered online and shipped just about anywhere.

4 True ownership – That tea book is yours – all yours – assuming you bought it. With an e-book, you just have an e-file on a device that can go “poof!” if things go wrong (yes, they can be downloaded again, but what good does that do you at midnight while you’re reading in bed in your PJs?).

3 Lendable and resellable – You can lend the book to someone. Why on earth you would want to is another matter. An e-book covered by digital rights management cannot be lent to anyone outside of your own account. Printed books can also be resold were the e-books cannot since, per #4, you don’t fully own them.

2 Sensory elements – There is just something about the smell of a book that you can’t get from that e-reader. It’s the paper and the ink and any odors absorbed from where the book was made plus where you bought it from and from in your own home. Think of that new car smell or when you walk into a spice or perfume or candle shop. Plus there is the feel of that book – the cover, the pages, the very motion of turning them. Aaahhh!!

1 No batteries – Your printed book will never have the batteries run down and need a recharging.

While e-books are fine for some topics, I’ll stick with printed versions for my tea books!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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