As a book-lover (obviously!) I really like having my books signed by the author, and my many connections on Twitter have allowed me to build quite a collection in a small time. You feel you have a connection with the author, however small, knowing they've handled the actual book you're reading.
It's a common criticism of e-books that they can't be signed, a dilemma for which nobody (to my knowledge) has yet come up with a suitable answer. I've seen a few people have an author sign their Kindle in permanent marker, and I guess if you could get a whole list of authors to sign your Kindle that would be pretty cool, but then you'd be worried about rubbing the signature off (those permanent markers aren't as permanent as you'd think). Plus, there's no way of buying a book remotely with that signature (unless you splash out on a whole new Kindle).
I think I may have the solution.
Starting this week, I'm offering anybody who wants to buy the Kindle version of The Long Second (only Kindle for the moment, I'm looking into the other formats) to have either:
1. A personal dedication typed into the front of the book - it'll be on the first page, immediately after the cover image - or
2. A personal handwritten message, signed by both Marshall Buckley authors, then scanned and the image placed at the front of the book.
The only caveats? The e-book has to be purchased via my website, not via Amazon, and there is a small extra charge for doing this (because I have to create a new Kindle file for each dedication). The handwritten dedication will be slightly more expensive than the typed one (there's more work involved), but I'm planning to keep the cost sensible.
(I did have a third idea but decided to drop that as it would have been much too much work, and I would have had to charge a lot more).
Once complete, the e-book will be emailed to the purchaser, who can then copy it to their Kindle via USB or using Amazon's email facility.
I could be wrong, but I think this is totally unique, and it's something I can offer specifically because I'm self-publishing (and, to be honest, probably because I'm a techy at heart so the extra work isn't too difficult for me - other less-techy authors might struggle).
So, am I blazing a trail here, or am I trying to sell to a market that doesn't exist?
Edit: I've just seen this announcement on Twitter: http://www.geekwire.com/2011/kindlegraph-authors-sign-kindle-books
One the one hand, I can't believe this has been announced just as I'm talking about it... but on the other hand, does it vindicate this as an amazing idea? Plus... KindleGraph doesn't actually embed the signature inside the Kindle book like I will... do my idea is better, right?