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Friday, September 03, 2010

One Thing I Didn't Think Of For E-Books


This post by Agent Kristin of Pub Rants made me think of something I haven't considered for the future of eBooks.

How do you get your eBooks signed?

This customer apparently thought signing the back was appropriate. And while I like the idea of a single tablet signed by your favorite authors (the equivalent of a guitar signed by the band) there's only so much space on the back. These eReaders are intended to hold thousands of novels.

Apparently, getting your book signed by the author is a big deal in the reading world. I never understood it myself--a signature is just a signature. But I do know why people do it. Reading is a pretty solitary activity. Humans need social interaction, even the most introverted of us. So book signings are a way for like-minded people to meet, make friends, talk about something they have in common, and meet the person who's talent brought them together.

And authors are probably one of the most accessible of all the celebrity types. They're never on location shooting in Australia. They're not in the studio working on their next album. They don't have entourages or security to turn away people. In fact, they have to be friendly, because they're self-promoting. They're the sole producer of their work (marketing, publishing, distribution, etc. is peripheral), so they have the biggest stakes in loss or win. Work don't sell, author don't eat. The marketers, publishers, and distributors will find another book to read.

But back to signing. I'm sure this isn't a make or breaker for the eReader, but it is something that should be considered by their manufacturers. Maybe you could have a file in memory for signatures. They can be signed on the digital pad, like that credit card thing you use in the grocery store. Then you could save them all in the eReader and show them off to your friends. You could collect them like trading cards. I thought of this, and now you must pay me for my idea.
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