Friday, February 04, 2005

Just sign right here, Part Deux

You'd think some truths would be self-evident, but we live in a very strange world.

In Monday's post I told you about author Margaret Atwood's involvement in designing a remote autographing machine. Amazed by Ms. Atwood's apparent failure to understand just why her readers wait in line to get her autograph on a book, I thought the machine was a profoundly dumb idea.

Now, an online bookseller, has put up a poll for its customers. At this writing, 467 people have answered the question, "Will a book signed via machine be as valuable as one signed in person?" 96% of the respondents have said -- surprise, surprise -- no.

I'm guessing that the remaining 4% simply misunderstood the question.

I found this gem in yesterday's* The Globe and Mail:

"We quite understand the idea behind Margaret
Atwood's invention because, as she says in interviews,
she is an old-age pensioner [who doesn't want to face
the rigours of book tours], but the intriguing thing we
found is that it's not so much the signature that fans
care about, it's meeting the author in person, that's
the real thrill," said Richard Davies, a spokesperson
Gee, Mr. Davies. Ya think?

* Once again, when I posted this link it was a freebie, but now you'll be redirected to a "you must register" page. More and more newspapers are offering their "fresh" news for free, but after a day has passed, you must register to view articles. That's a pain because bloggers like me link to news items without realizing that by the time our readers head over there, they'll be confronted with one of those annoying sign-up screens. Aargh. This particular article was very short, so you're not missing all that much.


Susan Kaye said...

The trek to have a book signed by the author is not about obtaining reading material. It's about the experience of seeing the writer and interacting with them. (True, you won't be doing a whole lot of that, but you will be able to say, "She's shorter than I thought." "His hair is not that color anymore." "You'd think they could dress a little better.")

The book is a memento of the occasion. Much of the value, whether monetary or sentimental is in the provenance. You know without a doubt that at a particular time, on a particular day, in a specific place, you and Favorite Author were sharing air, concentrating on the same thing. That's where the magic resides.

I'm not sure why anyone would think standing in front of a machine would be in the same league.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't have said it better Susan,;D

Brenda Coulter said...

Never thought I'd admit this publicly, Susan, but you have provoked me. ;-) Before I left for my first Romance Writers of America conference (Denver, 2002) I studied the photographs on the websites of all the authors I had made plans to meet there. I'm bad with names and faces, so I thought that would give me an edge.

It didn't. In Denver I learned that authors look NOTHING like the photographs you see on their websites.