by Cynthia Ruchti
“This is driving me crazy! I’ll never get the hang of it!”
Two months later: “What did I ever do without it?”
We’ve seen the pattern before. From open fire to fireplace to cast iron stove to gas stove to electric range to glass-top range and microwaves and convection ovens. From barefoot to bareback to open wagons and buggies to stagecoaches to motorcars with a 4 mph speed limit to sleek hybrid and electric cars to…
When an innovation comes on the scene, despite its advantages, we’re skeptical and clumsy with it.
When I first started writing radio scripts, I wrote longhand on legal pads. The swirl of the letters, the scratch sound of the pencil on the paper seemed part of the creative process. When I was given my first typewriter, I was convinced I couldn’t be creative on “that thing.” It was pretty. The keys felt nice under my fingers. But how could I create a storyline on a machine? It drove me crazy…until the deadlines came so fast that writing longhand was no longer an option.
When the electric typewriter hit my desk, I fussed and fumbled with liquid paper to cover my mistakes or with the correction ribbons that refused to turn right or correct, which was ironic. “I’ll never get the hang of this!”
Then came my first clunky computer. “What? I just lost my whole document! Where did it go? This is driving me crazy!”
And then a better computer. And a laptop. And a thinner, lighter, more powerful laptop. I write my grocery list on my smartphone so it’s always with me, never back home on the counter in the kitchen when I’m at the store. Never thought I’d see the day.
Do you deal with people who are having a hard time embracing digital technology for books? Are they in the “This is driving me crazy!” phase? I wonder if those very people will soon say, “What did I ever do without it?”
Change for change”s sake can get gimmicky. Change for the sake of adaptation (open fire to fireplace, typewriter to computer, stone tablets to parchment and back to tablets again), ease and efficiency of communication, and ability to reach those who need the words we have to offer, the stories that express what Christ has to offer, holds merit.
You have a Bible in your home-or more than one, as most of us do-because God’s words are no longer chiseled in stone, as they once were. We aren’t limited to the one set of scrolls in the temple. If we want a copy of the Bible, we don’t pull out quill and an ink well and start copying word for word, as scribes once did, expecting the project to be finished in two years if we’re diligent about it. Instead, we visit our local bookstore, our church bookstore, or an online outlet to purchase a Bible in print, audio, or digital form with an additional copy for our smartphone or tablet.
Some innovations are just plain crazy-like bacon-flavored toothpaste. Although…
Back to the point. Some innovations don’t last long. Most are improvements, even if they do drive us crazy until we get used to them.
If you or people you know feel clumsy or awkward with a digital book (or the innovation that likely came on the scene between the writing of this blog and its posting), or say, “I don’t like that new-fangled thing,” show grace. They’re just going through a phase, that space in time between “This is driving me crazy” and “What did I ever do without it?”
The Survey Says…
A recent informal survey of ACFW members who use e-readers listed these advantages to digital books:
• No books needs to go completely out of print anymore. Backlist books can be resurrected in digital formats.
• E-readers make it easy to carry many books while traveling or in waiting room situations, with no more than the weight of one small item.
• Those who need a larger font or brighter page in order to read with ease find the digital option an answer.
• E-readers offer instant access to books. Start reading now.
• Readers can carry a while library in the space of one thin, book-sized item.
• E-readers allow for uploading multiple versions of the Bible for study and comparison.
• Are you a mood-reader? If the book you took on vacation doesn’t appeal to you, on your e-reader are a wealth of other choices.
• No more bent book spines. E-readers pick up where you left off reading the last time.
• Those who like to read in bed appreciate the lighter weight of an e-reader compared to a heavier book.
ACFW member and Professional Relations Liaison Cynthia Ruchti is typical of many readers surveyed. She prefers a print book for the feel, smell, and texture, but embraces the benefits of her e-reader, too. She’s grateful that all her current books in print are also available in digital format, including the recently released When the Morning Glory Blooms from Abingdon Press Fiction. Connect with her at www.cynthiaruchti.com or check out her list of novels and novellas at http://www.fictionfinder.com/author/detail/162