Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Book Signings--and the future of signed paper
I am super-excited to announce my upcoming joint book signing event here in the Dallas/Ft Worth area with Jenny Milchman, author of COVER OF SNOW (out in hardcover from Ballantine), on Sunday, April 28th from 1-4 PM at Lucky Dog Books in Dallas (the Lochwood location)! If you're in the area, please come. We'll have cookies!
Are you surprised that book signings are still happening? I know people have been wondering about that, what with the proliferation of e-books and the seeming dominance of e-readers. Still, there's something about an in-person Meet and Greet and Get A Paper Book Signed event that appeals to the fangirl/fanguy in everyone. It's really cool to go to one--and even cooler to be behind the table talking about and signing your own books! I can't wait to have people looking at copies of NICE WORK.
But do autographed copies even make sense in this digitized world? People don't keep large print libraries any more (except me, but I know I'm an exception), and I can't see them hanging on to the copies they've had an author inscribe to them when they can sell the books on eBay. (LOL!) Maybe it's fast becoming a curiosity. Or perhaps there'll be a resurgence of interest in printed books, much like the rebound of vinyl LPs and turntables. The media isn't the message, after all--it's not the vehicle that counts, but what it delivers.
However, I still find it more difficult to read on my e-reader than on paper or even on this large flat screen connected to the desktop PC. I can't recall an e-book for very long after I close the file, unlike the way I can remember details from a print book I've read. We can't assume that others are like us in this sense, so I did a bit of Googling, and there have been studies that have confirmed I'm not alone.
Researchers have found that different parts of the brain process the visual input, in fact. Here's an article about the Reading Brain and how it might work, for those of you who are like me and don't do as well with e-text:
Even more daunting is the idea that as people become accustomed to skimming webpages and reading on e-readers, "deep reading" (deep engagement with the text, the flowstate as described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) will fade away. This topic is explored in The Shallows by Nicholas Carr (a great book that I commend to you, BTW) and in Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf. The latter author has posted an intriguing article:
There's a lively debate between other researchers here:
How about you? Do you notice any differences in your processing of e-books as opposed to print books? How old are you (this makes a difference, I'll bet)? Do you still collect author autographs? Or do you settle for an e-autograph?