Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Who says authors can't autograph ebooks?

By Judith Yates Borger

Yeah, but you can't autograph a Kindle is the response I often hear after I've listed all the reasons why an ebook is a perfectly fine way -- the best, in my humble opinion -- to read crime fiction, or any other, for that matter.

The honest truth, though, is well, yes, and no. There are at least a couple of fledgeling ways to offer an autograph. They just aren't refined enough yet. Autography is one, Kindlegraph is the other. I've also run across a couple others, but it doest appear they've been used much yet. If you've had any experience with these, please let me and other readers of Crime Fiction Collective know about it by posting a comment.

I first learned about Autography from a link in the New York Times last April. I check on the website and placed a call to the phone number listed more than two weeks ago. I said I was researching Authography for a blog. As of this evening, no one has called me back, so I'm wondering if Autography is operational yet. If you have any experience with Authography please let us know.

The second, Kindlegraph, is owned by  ... wait for it ...  Like everything else Amazon, Kindlegraph is fairly straightforward for authors, with one exception. It must be accessed through a Twitter account. I don't understand why, but that's how I got to it.

Then I followed the simple instructions. Instantly, almost, I was listed among the new authors. Then at about 5 p.m. central time today, November 29, 2011, I asked myself for a personalized inscription and autograph. Again, instantly Kindlegraph confirmed that I had fulfilled my own request and showed a PDF to prove it. Every hour since I have checked the beginning of both books looking for my groovy inscription and autograph on Where's Billie? and Whose Hand? in my Kindle. So far, I see nothing.

According to information released last spring, Barnes & Noble upgraded it software in a fashion that uses Autography, but I haven't seen any concrete example of that. Again, if you know anything about that, let us know.

And then there's Bookiejar beta, a 2011 ebook publishing company. According to the company's release from September,  authors can set up generic or dedicated inscription and autographs for their ebooks. "A reader is now able to have his/her copy of an ebook personally signed by the writer at a book signing event. This has never been possible before, "says the company's president, an ex-Microsoft guy. Has anyone heard of anyone doing this?

This experiment begs the question: Who pays for eBook autographs? There are really only three options, the reader, the writer or the distributor. I can see someone advertising "Get your own personalized eBook for only 10 percent more."

Can authors autograph their books? I haven't seen it work yet, but I sure would like to. No one is more important  than our readers.  I suspect readers would react warmly to a personalized dedication that shows they are always top of the mind for us.

If you know more about this topic, please comment so we can all share in the knowledge.


  1. I'm listed with Kindlegraph, and I've signed quite a few books with them. I've also written to the company and asked that they make it easy for non-Twitter readers to sign in. Another option is to simply put an autograph into the digital file of the ebook when it's created. I've considered this, but haven't done it yet.

  2. Here's what I think would be cool (but it would mean going back to the days of book signings): The ability to transfer a photo of the reader and the author to their e-reader. I've seen something similar, but without the e-reader upload.

    Supposedly, a signed copy of a first edition DTB carries more value than an unsigned copy, at least to collectors. I wonder if anything like that will happen within the digital realm. . . .

  3. Hi Judith,

    Autography is indeed up and rolling. We recently learned our high tech phonemail system has had some 'gremlins' (politely speaking) so I apologize if you left us a message. We had several complaints and have now replaced it.

    Several authors are using our service. We did an online event with HP Mallory a couple of weeks ago with Jonathon King used our system for in person ebook signings at Bouchercon in St Louis a couple of months back. Blake Crouch was there too - doing impromptu signings in the hotel bar using our autographed sample feature.

    Per the posts from Ms Sellers and Ms Brantley, you can also insert an autographed picture of the author and fan into the ebook with our system.

    I'm happy to send you (and your readers) more information and/or a signed ebook so you can see what we're about. Email me directly at!! Again, I'm sorry we didn't get your message, but rest assured it's fixed!!

    Tom Waters,
    CoFounder, Autography LLC

  4. I'm so behind already :) I keep thinking, what will they (the techies) come up with next? And it seems there is always another tool, which is wonderful but overwhelming!

    I'll get in touch Tom as I would like more info on this capability. Thanks for these posts keeping us informed of the latest and greatest!



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