Suspend Your Disbelief

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How to sign an e-reader

Aside from copyright and industry-related questions (will they make pirating too easy? Will they kill/save publishing?) e-readers have sparked one other conundrum. If you meet the author, what do you ask them to sign?

Some readers have asked the authors to autograph the e-reader itself—David Sedaris, for instance, inscribed “This bespells doom” on one. Those who’d like more than one author’s signature, however, now have a new option. Florida resident T. J. Waters has developed a program, Autography, that allows authors to sign an ebook:

“Basically, what you do is pull up a copy of your book as the author, and it inserts a blank page behind the cover and you sign whatever you’re going to personalize for somebody,” Waters said.

Waters can sign from his iPad, and that message will show up on the eReader within a couple of minutes on a newly created page.

“What we’ve also been able to figure out is how to do this remotely,” Waters said. “So an author could be sitting in his home or a facility like this and doing a book signing in Cleveland.”

The company’s website suggests other ways the technology can be used by authors. For example:

Authors can personalize an ebook purchase after the transaction has taken place. After purchasing and downloading the ebook the author is notified electronically of the customer’s desire for a personal saluation. The customer can request a generic greeting or something specific, perhaps a birthday or anniversary dedication to a loved one, which the author then compeletes at a convenient time. The personal salutation is then inserted into a new copy of the ebook and transmitted to the customer’s device. The signed copy then replaces the customer’s originally downloaded ebook and they are notified that the ebook has now been signed.

Personally, I love having signed copies, especially by authors I know and love. But will e-signatures be the same? Would you go through the trouble of having your e-book signed?

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