I did not realize until today that there were tea-centric apps available for smartphones. Yay! It isn’t every day that I can combine two different interests, such as tea and technology in this way. These apps largely fall into the following categories:
- tea timers
- silly games
- brewing/collecting apps
- recipe collections
- visual/theme/wallpaper apps
Others are so silly that I refuse to mention them. They are the dregs at the bottom of the cup.
Let’s start things by looking at multiple apps that contain/present one single book. The particular book in question is “The Book of Tea”, written in 1906 by Kakuzo Okakura, it is out of copyright, and so fair game for use by anyone. Due to that fact, there are multiple version available online. This book is considered a classic, and is beloved by tea and History enthusiasts alike. The author was writing at a time of East-Meets-West tensions, where a love of tea seemed the only common ground. If you would like to read this book without installing an app, you can do so freely on the Web.
This first app is just a book. It is a standalone app book that does not require some other reader software. The cover image is really ugly, with a bright solid orange color, with red and black writing on top. Looking at the permissions gave me pause. What does a book need full network access for? It turns out that it needs this to plaster banner advertisements across the top of the screen while you read the book. There are day/night reading modes in the app, and a table of contents for navigation. You can set the font size and color, but you cannot create a bookmark.
Verdict: You are installing advertisements on your phone to make money for someone else, to read a free book that you can already read for free online. Pass.
This app also has a couple of questionable permissions. It requires access to phone status and identity of callers and access to your usb and memory storage. It seems fishy for a book to need to see who is calling you. There is no required network access at this time, but I’m disturbed enough by the access to who is calling, that I am giving it a pass. It also costs you 99 cents to install this app that lets you read a book you can find for free on the web.
This one also monitors who is calling you, and costs 99 cents to read a free book. Um, no. This one does claim to allow you to make bookmarks, however.
Yet another app that charges 99 cents to read a free book and spy on your phone calls. Nope.
Instead of buying one of the above apps, I would simply read this book on the web, or get it from a true ebook store:
- The Book of Tea – free from the Nook Store
- The Book of Tea – free in the Kindle Store
- The Book of Tea – in epub, kindle, html, txt, and other formats, free from Project Gutenberg.
If you download this book from Project Gutenberg, I suggest you use one of these free book reader apps to read it on your phone. Also check out the TON of other free books Project Gutenberg offers as well!