The Seattle Mystery Bookshop is pleased to announce a major advance in the new frontier of electronic books.
Beginning with the first day in April, they will be the first bookseller to offer signed e-books. While e-books have become a huge player in American bookselling, they have heretofore lacked one of the crucial and time-honored elements in the world of books and book collecting: the author’s signature.
“We will make it simple and easy for anyone buying e-books from our website”, explained SMB webmistress Amber Miner. “We’ve updated our website with a fantastic new program that will track what e-books are bought and who bought ‘em and it’ll automatically send the author’s signature to that customer electronically. Anyone who buys an e-book from us will have an e-signature to go with their book. It’s going to be fantastic.”
Shop manager Fran Fuller commented “Our customers are used to getting their books signed from us. That’s one of our most important services and it’s something that has always set us apart from our competitors.” With the industry moving so quickly and breathtakingly into electronic books, the author tour is something that is very likely to go away, she explained. “After all, there’s no point in swallowing the expense of sending an author out on tour – the airfare and hotels and taxies and restaurants – if no one is buying a printed book any more. But this way we can still provide our customers with what we always have – the author’s signature.” “In the now 22 years we’ve been here selling printed books, we’ve been very fortunate in how many authors we’ve hosted. We’ve not kept track, but it must be thousands, both local, national and international. We’ve always had an autograph book for them to sign (what we call our ‘Rogues Gallery’) and we’ve digitized all of those signatures”, detailed owner JB Dickey. “Those that we didn’t have we were able to find on-line at the sites that show signatures for comparison. Now anyone can have a signed Chandler e-book or a personalized e-copy of the first Lord Peter Whimsey.”
Adele Avant chimed in: “That’s another great about this new program. It doesn’t matter if the author is alive or not. It doesn’t matter if the author doesn’t tour or you’ve never actually met them. Chances are we have their signature in our database. In fact, we’ve been able to get lots of signatures from non-mystery authors, so that we can have autographs for our special orders. And we can send them in whatever color the customer wants. Tired of Judy Jance’s name in red? Now you can have it in that rarest of colors, navy blue!”
Dickey went further – “One of the geniuses of the program is that if we have run across inscriptions from authors and scanned as much of the author’s handwriting as we can, the system can reproduce it for brand-new inscriptions. It really is flexible and remarkable. That’s how we will make our unique mark in the marketplace of electronic books: personalized signed e-books. With readers moving so dramatically into electronic books, this is, we hope, what will allow us to continue selling books for another couple of decades. If we don’t adapt, we’ll go the way of the dinosaurs. Standing still while the world of books moves away from the printed book, we’d be left behind, like the dodo. Don’t want to look like fools.”
We're pleased, gratified and amused to report that this year's April Fools once again hoodwinked three authors, one sister and a couple of collecters (so far). While we consider this to be a ridiculous concept, we have no doubt that someone is going to seriously start offering this service, believing it will add 'cachet' to their 'product'.
It won't but looking like fools doesn't stop some people!