Friday, July 23, 2010

And in Place of Signed Books We Will Soon Have ...

Well, that's one of the burning questions for e-books, isn't it? One author who recently visited us said people had asked her to literally sign their reading devices. Instantly I pictured one of those plaster casts that someone gets for a broken arm or leg, and how teens and other social beings ask their friends to sign them, draw on them, use colored inks. And then -- ah, it's a curse to have a novelist's brain! -- I saw the same cast a week later, smudged with chocolate, drippings from hamburgers, you name it. Alas.

So I don't think signing the plastic casings is going to be the route for e-books. Will there be an "app" that allows you to have an author sign the e-file? Will there be different versions for "in person" or "via e-mail"? What will this signify -- since at the moment you can't share or pass along an e-book, so a signature can't add "value" because there's no transaction for the item. SO many questions.

Dave's had an agonizing couple of weeks, with shipments of books arriving damaged, some of them clearly packed that way, so he's spending large chunks of each day doing "returns." It's especially pertinent right now as we prepare for Eliot Pattison's visit, scheduled for Sunday August 1 at 7 p.m. (my phrasing is careful because Pattison is an attorney whose schedule sometimes changes abruptly). Several of Pattison's Shan novels are now in short supply in hardcover; Soho Press authors tell us that Soho deliberately keeps the hardcover print runs tight, with the intention of selling out of them. Makes sense. However, both The Lord of Death and Prayer of the Dragon are becoming tough to find as fine-condition hardcovers. And the first volume of Pattison's other series, Bone Rattler, through Counterpoint, is also short in that condition.

But we're stacking up what we can, anticipating a good gathering of fans here and a list of people who want signed books shipped to them the next morning. Please do let us know what you'd like to reserve.

And meanwhile ... have you asked anyone to sign your "reader" yet?

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