Publishing and book marketing newsletters frequently mention the decline of the traditional author book signing tour as we know it. Articles are appearing on the subject too. Here’s an example of one that appeared in The Christian Science Monitor a couple weeks ago.
Of course there’s something to be said for meeting an author in person and getting an autographed copy of their book, but virtual book signings and tours have many advantages. For starters, anyone anywhere who is interested in the book’s subject or the author’s work can hop on to the Internet and watch the interview. How many people in one city will attend a traditional event versus those who can “attend” from their computer at home? Or, as the article above mentions, you might see a recorded message from the author in your local bookstore. If this is played in dozens of bookstores throughout the country, imagine how many more people can view the message than if the author traveled to each of those cities.
The Abraham Lincoln Book Shop has a nice Virtual Book Signing program set up where viewers can interact with the author and interviewer live during the event by emailing in questions and orders for the book. After ordering a copy, the author will even personally sign the book to you on screen. Pretty cool. Our books Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 and The Maps of Gettysburg have recently been featured in these events. With travel expenses to think about and no guarantee of how many people will show at each event, this is a great way for publishers and bookstores to change with the changing industry.