This is something I've been thinking about for some time now.
I was at a conference in January where author Ken Doctor gave a presentation about the future of journalism. He was giving out copies of his newly released book, Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get and offering to sign them for us. Of course, being the news junky I am, I got in line and had my copy signed.
As I approached the front of the line, the person in front of me didn't necessarily want a printed copy, but said "how about signing my Kindle (copy)". Of course he was joking because it was not yet available in digital format, or at least he didn't have it on his digital reader, but that got me thinking about the phenomenon of the digital book reader. Further, what it means for book stores and author signings in general.
So, I searched online about "signing my Kindle" and have found some information where people are actually having people sign the back of the reader.
With more and more of these devices coming onto the scene (iPad, Kindle, Nook, etc.) what will happen to the "first edition signed copy" of a book? These hard-printed, signed items, if they are out there 50 years from now, will be worth even more as the digital revolution continues.
I wonder if these digital devices will eventually come with the ability to sign a digital copy somehow. I'm not sure if that's even possible, but to preserve this ability, you would think there would be.
Book stories have historically held book signings, not only to have the public be able to meet the author, but also to get people in their stores. More people in the store usually leads to more sales. With retailers shifting a lot of their sales to online (at least the larger ones), I wonder if they have lost some of the value of physically getting people in the store. I know we've been at the book store several times where they didn't have a copy of a book and told us to go online to get it. It's usually cheaper online as well. Seems counter productive to business, but with higher margins online, it makes sense.
I'm not saying there's not a place for the digital books. If I had more time to read, I'd probably be one of those who would go the digital route. My sons, however, are not. Both of them have a large library of printed books. Everything from Harry Potter to A Series of Unfortunate Events to Geronimo Stilton. Both of them love sitting down and re-reading these books again and again. My oldest even had an opportunity to get a digital reader and passed.
I guess that's good. Even with me being as technical as I am and passing a lot of this onto them, they still realize the feel of a good book.