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.

Filed Under: autographs, ebooks, personalization, robert kiyosaki, scarcities


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  1. icon
    Raphael (profile), 20 May 2011 @ 6:50am

    Re:

    Exactly. What makes a customer who's torrented a perfect copy of your product WANT to pay for another one? The connection the customer feels to you as an artist/artisan.

    It is, as always, a matter of respect: the willingness to share ideas demonstrates respect for your audience. It is then a simple economic question: are there enough people willing to support a respectful ecosystem to keep it afloat? The truth is that there are enough, as examples here show repeatedly, but the maximalists are insufficiently respectful to believe it.

    As someone pointed out on an earlier post, we're good at recognizing people of the copyright-maximalist type in our daily lives. They're the people who take and don't give, and because they operate that way, their decisions are based on their fear that everyone else does, too. That attitude should be regarded as a lamentable social disability, not allowed to control policy.

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