Saturday, February 19, 2011

In the Ebook Age, What Happens to Signings?

Book signings are fun. They are a tradition. They are a way for authors to market and sell books. They are a way for readers to meet the author and vice versa. They are a way for the bookstore to sell its inventory and customers to get something they want. In theory, a win-win-win.

However, today ebooks are easily distributed. No more worries about shelf space or sell-through rates. Write the best story you can, simply put it up online, design an eye-catching cover, make it affordable and promote.

From an author's perspective, does it make more sense to stay home and market ebooks online or take an expensive cross-country tour (paid for out-of-pocket) and sell a few print books (here and there)? Well, duh.

So ... how likely is it that the traditional book signing will give way to this instead?

Sure, some authors will sign gadgets. Nothing wrong with that. I'd do it, too. If I had a publisher who paid the freight. But I don't.

So, the authors who do this routinely will be the A-list New York Times bestsellers and those with the heftiest advances and biggest promotional budgets. Period.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of authors will be promoting their books through means such as this site. Cute, huh? :)

PS: Even so, I still do book signings, as long as they're local like the one coming up tomorrow at Barnes & Noble in Annapolis! And, yes, my latest novel LEAST WANTED will be available for sale. (The shipment made it in on time. Whew!)

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