How (with some help from Nate Silver), I outinnovated Amazon

2013-10-17 01.08.11

My Kindle signed by Nate Silver

Amazon appears to have a new idea:

So with e-books quickly becoming the norm, how can you still have the authors sign their books? Well, Kindlegraph from Amazon can be the answer, at least to some extent. At least you can get the author’s signature, but you might have to settle for missing the excitement and the butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling when meeting your favorite author for the first time. There’s still no way to arrange for interacting with the author and asking questions, or hearing the author read aloud from the book…this is how it works; readers will have to log into their Twitter accounts and make a choice of the e-books on which they would like to have the author’s signature. The author or the publishers will need to have opted for from their side as well. Once the author receives a request, he or she would do the actual singing using Docusign’s API. This is then sent back to the users Kindle e-reader as a separate file.

I’m underwhelmed: this feels more like having a picture of the author’s signature than actually having them sign the book.

However, I think there’s a better alternative: have the cover of the reader signed. When I went to hear Nate Silver speak at the Union earlier this year, the organisers managed to run out of books for him to sign. As it happened I had my kindle – complete with a copy of Signal and Noise downloaded onto it – and just got him to sign that instead. According to both Silver and his minder from his publishers; this was the first time they’d seen anyone get a Kindle signed. Which all in all, seems more satisfactory way of getting an author’s signature than getting sent a file of it.