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30 May, 2009

Just enjoy the books

Why do people want books signed by authors who sign lots of books?

Personal contact? I doubt it.
Writing about an event yesterday, Neil Gaiman says:

I did a signing – I had an hour to sign for 100 people, and somehow managed to sign for over 170 people in the hour, personalising books for most of them. Not sure how I did it, and was braindead when it was done. Saw lots of old friends, too, who all thought that me-signing time would be a great time to chat, and all of them were sadly disappointed.
That's an average of 21 seconds per person: an opportunity to ask a brief question, I suppose, but not really enough for it to be considered and answered.

Collectibility? As I qualified above, there's no scarcity value if an author signs thousands of copies during festivals and multi-national signing tours.

Or is it no more than a self-serving souvenir: a token denoting "I was there; I queued for several hours [people do; Neil frequently encounters signing lines of 700+] and I have a signature to prove it".
Not exactly meaningful. It's a lot like people taking photos of themselves in front of the Grand Canyon or Mona Lisa, rather than appreciating the moment and whole point of being there.

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