Hoodwinked from afar by Margaret Atwood.

I think the LongPen is a big fat ridiculous scam.Longpen_20

Here’s your LongPen.

  1. Have author sign one book.  Something generic: "Best wishes! Yours, J.D. Salinger."
  2. Publisher faxes signed page to bookseller.
  3. Bookseller uses "the long photocopier."  Maybe some nice resume-quality paper.  If it’s around.
  4. Technology-hypnotized readers line up for their pseudo-autograph.

What’s that?  The LongPen puts the "signature" right in the book, plus I get to see what the author looks like on television, no doubt a connection replete with technical difficulties?  Oh, well, in that case, never mind.  Great idea.

I would never in a hundred years line up for a photocopy of a signature from any author.  For an author to agree to participation in such a "author appearance" or "book signing" ("event", "reading", "respectful interaction with readers") makes me much less likely to feel any interest in that author’s writing.

One Reply to “Hoodwinked from afar by Margaret Atwood.”

  1. But who is being scammed? Maybe, possibly, those book collecters who want to believe that when they pay big bucks for a Signed First Edition the book was in contact with the venerable writer’s very own personal fountain pen.

    It’s only a cheat if you think that the experience of the author *actually touching* your copy of her book has some kind of mystic value.

    The work is all that REALLY matters. And what’s so wonderful about the LongPen is that it nullifies the fetishization of the “autograph.” When you get a LongPen autograph, you DO get to chat with the author on video (an experience that is somewhere in between getting a letter and an in-person visit) and you get a note in your book actually meant for you, in a reasonable facsimile of the author’s handwriting. It’s an experience at least as legitimate as mailing the book to the writer and getting an autograph that way, actually.

    But again: the work is ALL that matters. All this other stuff — readings, signed editions, handshakes, posing with the author’s arm around your shoulder — is all garbage. Be done with it, and let the writers stay home and write.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s