Fledgling authors understand well the process of marketing. New and even established authors are obliged to go on book tours and sign copies of their latest works to not only enhance the reading experience with face-to-face discussions, but also stir-up consumer enthusiasm. Such events amount to increased profits for publishing houses and value-added services for consumers who not only get to buy their favorite books, but have them signed and personalized by their favorite writers.
But in an era in which e-books are becoming increasingly popular, publishers have been wrestling with how to marry long-time tradition with high technology. For DAW Books, the answer has come in the form of new technology. The independent science fiction and fantasy publishing house introduced e-book autographs, a first in the publishing market. Not surprisingly, DAW Books was also the first publishing company ever devoted exclusively to science fiction and fantasy genres. So it seems, the publisher is making futurism more of a possibility than even some of its most creative novels dare. DAW Books veteran founders, Donald and Elsie Wollheim, are also making history.
In association with Palm Digital Media, DAW Books premiered the latest autograph features for e-books, during which a two-hour e-signing session commenced. Prior to the debut, no e-book publisher has ever offered authors the ability to autograph electronic book editions with quite the same ease and personalization as signing in print. But by using Palm Reader software, autograph images are encrypted directly into e-books, which can be archived for posterity or reuse.
Author Julie E. Czerneda initially proposed the idea several years ago during a meeting between DAW Books and Palm Digital Media. Since 1999, Czerneda championed e-autographs, saying that her readers enjoyed having personalized autographs in their print editions, so why not digitally? Taking Czerneda's lead, Jeff Strobel and Mike Segroves of Palm Digital Media started working on the concept in their MA-based headquarters. They eventually made personalization a reality by writing a unique code that would allow signatures to not only appear on hand-held devices, but also retain them permanently.
Upon completion of the coding, Palm invited Czerneda to be the first DAW Books' author to use it. The publisher implemented the technology in conjunction with her latest launch of electronic and print editions of In the Company of Others this month. DAW-author Steven Krane was also added to the celebratory roster to christen his highly own successful novel, The Omega Game, which was a number one best-selling thriller for Palm Digital Media last fall. The novel went on to become the number three e-bestseller for 2000, right behind two works by horror genre icon Stephen King.
"It's extremely encouraging to see our authors playing an important part in the advancement of e-book technology," says Sean Fodera, directory of subsidiary rights, contracts and electronic publishing at DAW Books. "We have always taken great pride in the creative efforts of our authors, and their enthusiasm and success in this new medium is just another example of their vision of the future."
-Natalie Hope McDonald