Electronic books are taking off like wildfire. At ThrillerFest I heard someone say that for thrillers, ebooks already account for 50% of sales. (Romance is also hot for ebooks; nonfiction and children’s books, not so much.) The steadily declining price of dedicated ereaders such as the Kindle and the Nook, the ubiquity of smart phones and iPads which can also be used to read books, and the convenience of carrying hundreds of books with you everywhere you go are convincing millions of people to skip paper and go e.
But some things are lost when paper books, especially hardcovers, are abandoned for pixels on a screen: the smell and feel of a book, the pleasure of displaying one’s library to visitors, the ability to loan a copy to a friend (I know, e-solutions are available for this but it’s too complicated for most of us).
Ebooks also deprive authors and readers of the bonding experience we call a book signing. Authors are telling stories of fans asking them to literally sign their Kindles with a marker. But clearly this is not the solution and a number of innovators are offering technical answers to the ebook signing problem. In a series of posts for both authors and readers of ebooks, I’ll describe some of the key features of various ebook customization and signing services.
Part 1: Kindlegraph
Kindlegraph offers a simple, free, easy-to-use solution to the ebook signing problem. Here’s a summary of what Kindlegraph can do, from reader and author perspectives. Or, you can watch a nice 4 minute screencast by the creator demonstrating how Kindlegraph works.
- Reader may or may not own the ebook and may purchase it from any source.
- Go to Kindlegraph website and log in user Twitter credentials. Because not everyone has a twitter account, nor does everyone want to share that info, this form of logging in may limit the number of readers willing to use the service.
- Find the book and click “request Kindlegraph”
- Wait for author to respond.
- The single page pdf showing the book cover and author’s personalized message should be sent directly to your Kindle. It will NOT be associated with the ebook itself, but you can file all your Kindlegraphs together as a collection.
- If you do not own a Kindle, you can submit a regular email address with your request and receive your “Kindlegraph” as a pdf to use wherever you like.
- Log in to Kindlegraph and find page with list of all reader requests. You will see the date of the request, requester’s twitter name, real name, and which book.
- Type in a message. There does not appear to be any way for the reader to communicate with the author so the author will have to say whatever comes to mind.
- Click to send. Author’s previously entered real signature will be attached to the page by DocuSign.
- Personalized page is automatically delivered to the reader.
- Easy for both author and reader
- Free to both author and reader
- Reader can own the book before signing, or can purchase it from wherever they wish
- Reader can get a signed page as a pdf file even if they don’t own a Kindle
- Must have a Twitter account
- Signed page is not electronically associated with the ebook; it’s a totally separate document
- The personalized text written by the author is rendered in a standard script font; only the signature itself is the author’s writing