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. identicon
    asherp, 20 May 2011 @ 3:49am

    A modified bitcoin protocol for signing digital work: introducing ArtCoin

    Here's an idea that borrowing a lot from the unique properties of bitcoin: The way bitcoins are transferred from one owner to the next is by verifying the chain of ownership all the way up to the first owner. The same can be done with any piece of data. For instance, a band like Radiohead could "release" their next song by posting it as the genesis block on the market (for a very high price). This "original" song can then be transferred from one owner to the next just as bitcoins are (or any original work of art). The only difference would be that each owner would be able to spawn subsequent generations of the song: ideally, the protocol should insure that exactly two copies exist for the second print (for half the price), while the third print has four copies, etc. This way the number of "legit" copies expands geometrically, to be sold on the market at proportionally lower prices. Initially there is no incentive to torrent your version because yours is unique and will appreciate in value if you don't. Fans will want to buy earlier generations, while others can buy later generations for a reduced price. This way the author makes all their money off the originals, while the used market takes the rest. What do you think?

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