February 27, 2012

Making a mark on books

Filed under: Futures,Innovation,Technology — by xrematon @ 8:05 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

One of my favourite ‘treats’ to myself is browsing in charity shops for books. It is very easy and cost-efficient to buy books on Amazon, but ultimately a functional experience; it is very lovely to smell new books in a bookshop, but I get distracted by the amount of tempting choice on offer and end up being unhappily overwhelmed, often walking out empty ended.

But in charity shops, who knows what you will find? To be fair, most of the books are pretty easy to dismiss: chick lit, Mills & Boon, Wilbur Smith, Dan Brown etc. You also tend to find more high brow books, which have clearly hit public consciousness and are guaranteed to appear in most charity shop shelves, often in multiple quantities. How often I have sighed to find yet another  ‘Curious Incident of a Dog’, ‘Atonement’, ‘Captain Corelli’, ‘White Teeth’, ‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’ etc.

What I like best is to find something which I have sort of heard of but never got round to buying or getting from the library; or even better, something which intrigues me – an unexpected opportunity to be challenged and stretched.

Last week, I got a double-whammy of unexpected pleasures: I found a book which seemed unusual but interesting and, as I looked inside to get a better feel for the writing, I found the volume to be signed by the author (see picture below for proof!).

Looking at this signature made me wonder – how do you get signed copies of eBooks?

To be fair, some real books have less than real signatures – I am thinking of Margaret Atwood and her ingenious LongPen which enables her to sign a volume without actually being present in the room.

In doing some more research, I did come across a way in which it is possible for authors to make their mark on a virtual book. Using Kindlegraph as a platform, authors can send personalised inscriptions and signatures directly to the electronic reading devices of their fans.

But how about this for something even better? Stephen King gave people the opportunity to personalise a book with themselves. For the UK edition of ‘The Wind through the Keyhole’, you could upload your photo through the appropriate facebook page and there is a chance that you could appear on the back cover.

Nifty but I think I would prefer a signed copy!


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