While a signature on a screen might never be the same as pen on paper for some, to others, book signings are about the experience and the memento. If that memory is stored in a digital file instead of a shelf, well, that only adds portability to the fun and bragging rights.
While digital signings (or signings of e-readers along with print books) are not the norm in North Jersey yet, expect to see some sooner than later. At the Book Expo America (BEA) convention this week in Manhattan, at least 15 signings will be digital.
Many of those will be handled by Autography, a company founded by Tom Waters and Robert Barrett. The program works across all e-reader platforms and can be signed in-person or remotely. Autography, which debuted at last year’s BEA, allows an author to use a stylus to sign on an iPad; a link to that e-book with the inscription is then emailed to the reader, who can download it instantly. Autography becomes the book retailer, selling the personalized version of whatever book an author wants to offer.
“Author signings are sort of an antiquated notion, in a sense that having a print book and [meeting] the author and having them sign it,” says Evan Jacobs, who created a website called Kindlegraph. The site lets people write to authors for a document containing a photo of the book jacket, an inscription and a signature for their Kindle. “People still want that connection [but] the format of it, whether it’s actually an inscription in a book or something you tweet back and forth … the specifics of that might change over time.”
In the year since he created Kindlegraph, Jacobs has amassed nearly 4,000 authors and more than 16,000 titles, including the wildly popular “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy
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