American based company Autography LLC has come up with technology that enables authors to sign eBooks–be that in person, or remotely.
Apparently the technology works using a touch enabled tablet computer–a copy of the eBook is loaded, a blank page is inserted behind the front cover, and the author is able to write, sign and otherwise personalise the page for the customer. According to Autography’s Facebook page they are looking to roll out a software package in the next few weeks and are working on an Android based solution (currently I believe they have an iPad version already working).
With the rise in eBook sales, this software could potentially give eBooks one of the precious abilities that was until now restricted to print books–the autograph. That said, the eBook still can’t rival the print book for ‘show off value’ as my boyfriend might say. He’s one of those people who likes to impress with a well stocked bookshelf (preferably in hardcover), but for those drawn to the lightweight, compact and mess-free (or privacy saving) world of the eBook, this is certainly a welcome development.
I also wonder if this sort of thing would be beneficial in terms of combating eBook piracy. Obviously an autographed eBook copied away from the original owner is now a distinctive, individual object which can be identified as such–and identified as pirated. It may also prove a disinclination to share, or an incentive for someone to go out and purchase their own eBook copy, although I am aware that these changes (if present) in consumer behaviour would be just a very small proportion of those people out there who pirate creative IP–most likely it would affect the segment of the population who use piracy as a ‘try before you buy’ option, or a ‘get because I’m poor and can’t afford a book right now but I plan to buy it someday’ crowd.