A couple years back Hunter S. Thompson went on a book signing tour, I forget for which book. I didn’t go to the event, but I heard that basically he sat behind a table with a rubber stamp of his signature and just chunked it silently down on everyone’s book as they filed by. At the time I thought that was about the most rude and creepy thing I had ever heard of at an author signing. (of course, this was HST, so rude and creepy is kind of par for the course, but anyhow)
Margaret Atwood has outdone the rubber stamp for bad booksigning ideas. She has this idea for a machine where she can view and talk to her readers from the comfort of her own home, scrawl out an inscription and a signature on a tablet, and the machine will duplicate what she has written in the actual book thousands of miles away. Author signing by computer. Yeah, I’d love to wait in line for that.
Author tours are really horrible — I did one once, it was misery, five cities on both coasts in two days, no sleep at all, bah — and I appreciate wanting to find some other way. But this is really creepy. Margaret, if you aren’t going to actually go out to stores to meet your fans, please don’t send a machine. Just stay home.
(I got it from Neil Gaiman’s Journal.)