Before I received my first e-reader, I spent a very long time on the fence about whether or not I wanted to convert. On the one hand, I love the feel of books. But on the other, I was seduced by the idea of having 100 books with me at all times. In the end, I needed surgery and was housebound so my Mom bought me one for convenience purposes. Turns out it was the best gift ever.
Now, almost 3 years later, I am a huge advocate of e-readers. They are light enough that my wrists don’t hurt and I’m never without a book (or options for a new book). I still love my paper copies and will buy them when it is by a favorite author or is a first edition (obviously), but other than that I love my e-readers ( I have a Kindle and an iPad mini). Unless it’s a signed book.
One of the big arguments against e-readers is that you cannot line all of your titles up on a bookshelf. I used to be one of those people, but I read so much that it became impractical to have every book on a shelf (I oftentimes buy books I loved at library sales so that I can have them). But when it comes to signed copies, I totally get it.
I love signed copies. Getting one always makes my heart race and I always buy the hardcover edition. There’s just something about the creator of a wonderful book putting their pen to the paper and permanently marking their work for me. My favorite authors are my biggest celebrities. I have this thing about how actors and actresses will never reach the creative genius or bravery of an author because they are acting out someone else’s work, whereas the real leap of faith comes from publishing what comes from within yourself. But that’s another post for another day.
So back to signed copies. I love them and I collect them. I will, one day, have bookshelves with glass doors that house my precious signed books and my future children will run their fingers over the ink on the paper and be amazed (or at least that’s the plan).
So when I hear about these virtual author signings, I laugh. A virtual author signing? I may as well download the author’s signature and paste it onto a .pdf file and call it a signed e-book. Granted, it’s exciting that you can Skype the authors and, yes, it helps connect readers with authors they might otherwise miss out on (which is awesome). But….. at the end of the day it’s a printable insert that doesn’t measure up to a real autographed book. It may be exciting and I’d probably participate for the right authors, but a digital copy will always come in third (second is stumbling across a signed book in an actual bookstore).
I’m sure the younger generation will tell me that I’m wrong and that virtual signings are all the rage, but it won’t sway me. That probably makes me an old-fashioned snob, but I am a traditionalist when it comes to author signings and want my physical books with actual autographs, not inserted pieces of paper. Plus, what if someone 30 years down the road gets a copy of the book with the inserted autograph? Who’s to say that the autograph wasn’t second-hand and the owner never even interacted with the author? For me, it cheapens the sentimental value of the book.
But enough about me. What about you?
What do you think?
Do you like virtual book signings or do you stick with the paper copies? Or do you not care?