August 17, 2009
The Joy of Ordering and Receiving "Real" Books
I was poking around in C.S. Lewis’s Letters the other day, looking for something I recall reading years ago, and I came across a passage in a letter to Arthur Greeves. Lewis is speaking of the fun of ordering and receiving books in the mail. He writes:
But in the brave new world of Kindle, Amazon will deliver “books in less than 60 seconds.” On a crowded commuter train, if that’s your wish. It’s not quite the same thing though, is it? No more expectation sharpened by delayed gratification. Not very much planning and scheming. No more unwrapping the package (or opening the box). Can’t you feel and smell the brown paper enclosing that “neat little parcel”?
Some folks get a defensive rash from just hearing someone muse on what is lost in the new technology. If that’s you, chill for a moment. We are constantly hearing the benefits of the biggest new thing. Try to imagine the smallest old thing in a different time. And consider how foreign Lewis’s experience will sound when read on a Kindle fifty years from now.
The next time you open a box of books from IVP or Amazon, savor the moment. You might be living in the twilight years of this experience.
Oh, and take your time scheming and placing your order. We’re all about giving you joy. In a neat little parcel. On the hall table. (And even on Kindle if that’s your pleasure!)