Barnes & Noble’s eBook-Signing Experiment

I thought I’d remembered something about Barnes & Noble experimenting with author ebook-signing events — so I did some Google searching to satisfy my curiosity.

On May 2, an event was held at Barnes & Noble’s Upper East Side store in New York. The event, which was a chance to spotlight Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Color eReader, featured children’s book author Sandra Boynton and The Going to Bed Book (first published in 1982). The event was billed as “The World’s First ebook App Signing Event”*

There’s some additional details from the official press release from Loud Crow Interactive, here.

The choice to opt for a children’s book for the ebook event experiment seems as if it made for a fun multimedia sort of 2.0 author event for the kids — but I did wonder how many small kids were Nook owners (or, more accurately, used Mom and Dad’s Nook). It wasn’t all that easy to find many details of the event itself (although there was no shortage of news buzz prior to the event), but I was able to find this from Publishers Weekly:

“Some kids sat rapt, chins in their hands, while others mouthed the words along with Boynton, and a couple more seemed preoccupied by Cheerios and other distractions. Boynton finished the book — “The moon is high. The sea is deep. They rock and rock and rock to sleep” — and that’s when the normal book signing took a turn … Boynton demonstrated the book’s companion app on a NookColor tablet, which was projected onto a large screen behind them, while the pianist played some background music. The app, created by Loud Crow Interactive, lets users move the book’s characters down the stairs to the bathtub, turn the water on, hang up their towels, get some exercise, and do other interactive activities.”

“… The event was ostensibly doubling as the debut of a new technology that lets an author sign an e-reader; Boynton was available to autograph people’s Going to Bed Book on their Nooks. But most attendees in line to meet Boynton after the reading were clutching well-worn board books, not leather-bound electronic reading devices, and while Boynton did get to demo the new technology, her ink pen seemed to be getting a lot more use.”

Well, it does sound like a fun thing for the kids (here’s a link to the ebook app in question, which appears to be for iPhone and iPad). So, what now? I wonder what Barnes & Noble’s plans are for future author ebook events. I couldn’t find any indications of future events on the horizon — was this an one-off experiment, or the start of something new?

* Not to get overly picky here, but that doesn’t technically appear to be true. MobileRead held an ebook e-signing event of their own which occurred in July 2010.


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I run the ThinkLab at the University of Cambridge, and research digital habits, productivity, and wellbeing.

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