Does It Make Sense To Autograph Ebooks?

from the does-it-make-them-special? dept

One of the things we've seen that has been used, quite frequently, by content creators in offering "premium" packages, is getting something physical "signed" by the content creator -- a CD case, a book, etc. In fact, we've made use of this ourselves, and sold a bunch of signed books. However, in a world where so much goes purely digital, is there still a way to do a signature? And if you can, is it still valuable? It seems that some are starting to experiment with the idea. Famed best-selling author Robert Kiyosaki (of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame) is trying out a new offering in which he'll digitally autograph some ebooks. Basically, readers who get this ebook will get an extra digital page inserted in their copies, which will have his signature. And each signature is unique -- he can even add personalized messages.

There are some limitations. It's only available on one day and only via a live online chat. Also, it only works on the Kindle, which raises questions concerning just how "future proof" it will really be.

I'm certainly intrigued by the idea, but I can't see it really catching on to quite the same level. I would bet, for many, that it doesn't seem nearly as "real" or "authentic" to make it valuable. Perhaps I'm wrong and some will find it really compelling. I guess we'll see.

What I find much more interesting is the overall technology behind this. While we all knew it was coming, we're finally starting to see the technology put into place that can create customized and interactive books, rather than limiting them solely to the static word (not that there's anything wrong with that in many cases, but I like to look at what new and innovative ideas can come out of these things). If you can personalize content in an ebook, it seems that builds up a range of possibilities. Perhaps, rather than a signature, some people wouldn't mind an eBook that comes with a personalized message of the day, or via which the author can respond to questions. On top of that, it suggests a day when it will be more common to create more customized books, and even allowing for updating books that continue to evolve. We're really just on the cusp of what the technology will allow, and I don't think doing digital autographs is really the key killer app here.

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    One_of_the_Norm (profile), 20 May 2011 @ 6:26am

    I don't see the concept of a digital signature by itself adding an significant value to digital media. In general, anything that is digital can be replicated to infinity both legally and illegally. So any uniqueness due to signatures, as with physical book signings, is lost.

    However I do like the idea of personalized messages. If the messages are somewhat unique (not just all "to my best fan 'insert name'") then it does add a personal feel for that buyer. And isn't that one of the various reasons people buy premium items, so that they can own something unique that connects them to the creator somehow?

    While a novel idea, being digital it probably won't add any real perceived value past the original buyer. Thus while it will allow for a few higher priced books/albums/etc to sell to some, it probably won't ever become a ground breaking concept that everyone embraces.

    I see this as a nice "add-on" to more traditional digital avenues when marketing and selling items. A good additional option to help connect with fans, but nothing that would stand purely by itself.

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