Dopey but Fun: Signing An Ebook

I reformatted an ebook this week using some of the new techniques I’ve learned. On impulse, just because I can, I signed the letter to the readers.

Screenshot from Lucy Light the Paperwhite.

(Taking screenshots off the Kindle Paperwhite is very easy–thank you, William–simultaneously tap the upper right hand corner and the lower left hand corner on the screen, the screen will flash and the image is saved in the root directory. Open the Kindle on your computer and retrieve the screenshot. This is even easier than with Larry the Kindle Keyboard, which is easy, too.  Simultaneously depress the shift+alt+G keys–clumsy fingers are the tricky part. The screen should flash. I still haven’t found an easy way to take screenshots off the Kindle Fire. Every instruction I’ve found so far should begin with “First, obtain a master’s degree in computer science and then…”)

There is no real good reason for adding a signature except that some urges cannot be resisted. If you are so inclined, though, this is what I did. I used a Sharpie on white art paper to create a substantial image. I wrote big. I scanned that into the computer and used Paint.net to trim and size the image and turn it into a jpeg graphic. Then I treated it like any other image and inserted it into the file. Easy-peasy.

On a more practical side, I suppose it would be easy to make special “signed editions” of ebooks. Even ebooks with personal inscriptions. If one had one’s own online store, one could offer all kinds of special goodies. Hmn, something to think about.

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24 thoughts on “Dopey but Fun: Signing An Ebook

  1. I used CreateSpace to create personalized print editions of a book. I don’t think you could easily do it in large numbers, but I basically treated it as a revising a proof. I changed the dedication, uploaded the file, ordered a proof, then when I got the proof, revised the file, uploaded the new one, etc. Basically I had a “proof” version that was personalized for the people I wanted to give it to. I’m not sure I’d do it casually, but it was nice to do for a truly special gift.

  2. Jaye, adding a signature is a wonderful touch to show that you, as an e-book creator, want to give your readers something “more” that what they might recieve from an e-book churned up and ground out by a large, impersonal publishing company. (Just be certain you never provide your full, legal signature as an image in an e-book; you’d hate to start receiving “confirmation” letters from scores of credit card companies! ;) )

    Also, your notion of creating a replaceable “bookplate” image for true individulization is rather unique

    • Boutique publishers put out special editions of print books all the time. I don’t know if there is much demand for special ebook editions, but what do I know? People collect unusual things. Why not ebooks? I know there is a service that lets writers “sign” ebooks for fans, but it strikes me as awfully convoluted. It might be fun to have a special “shelf” in my Kindle with personally inscribed books. From a producer’s point of view, it wouldn’t be difficult to do.

      And by the way, that is my “art” signature. Good point about posting “legal” signatures for all the world to see.

    • (Sorry for the “thoughtus interruptus” there — I am being accosted by a loving yet insistent 100lb Chow/Golden mix who believes it is her solemn duty to become a lap dog and demand my attention whenever I cough. But enough about my weird pets… back to e-books!)

      Your idea (as I was saying) for a customized bookplate is a good one and would be easy to accommodate in the ePub form. Treating the ePub as what it is — a glorified, renamed ZIP file — it would be a relatively simple matter to delete one “bookplate.jpg” file from the Image folder and replace it with an identically-named and -dimensioned “bookplate.jpg” image tailored to a particular reader. I dare say that a small script could be created to assist in the process. ‘Tis an interesting notion… one that, in theory, even the “big boys” could utilize!

      Do you ever stop thinking up cool new tricks? ;)

      • A Chow mix? I have a chow/lab mix who’d gladly accept the role of lap dog if I let him (at 80+ pounds, I’m not letting him). They do tend to be snuggle bunnies, don’t they?

        Indeed it would be very easy to do books with customized bookplates. Just redo the “bookplate” image, compile a new file and done.

        And no, Jon, I can’t. Almost everything I look at leads to me to pondering, “I wonder what would happen if…” It is my curse.

      • Hi Jaye:

        Sorry for the reply delay. Yes, Kheylar is a Chow/Golden mix, with a beautiful blue-spotted tongue. We got her nearly 11 years ago as a 12-week-old puppy. At the time, my wife and I were active with Keeshond rescue and were told that this pup was a pure Kees. Of course, when we got to the shelter that had her and saw her, Eileen’s first comment was, “Oh my… she’s tan.” (A Keeshond is silver, black, and cream, in case you didn’t know.) Anyhow, there we were, hundreds of miles from home; what could we do but take her? There was no way we could adopt her out, so we kept her. And she’s such a sweet, gentle soul. She always shows concern when I cough in bed. Oddly, she never responded that way to Eileen! Go figure. (I wish I could insert a photo here; Kheylar was the cutest puppy ever!)

        And, while you may believe your inquisitiveness is a curse, you must realize that, for the rest of us, your inquisitiveness is a blessing in which we revel with each new post!

      • Jaye, the code would look like the e-mail I sent you on this topic a couple of weeks ago. It would be CSS code for the img tag involving “height: #.#em” and or “width: #.#em”, where “#.#” is replaced with an actual number that, at least for me, is only dreived through trial and error. ;)

      • Assuming a gif named artiesig.gif and another one (for old Kindles) that is 225px, your html and css would look something like this:

        [img id=”artiesig” src=”artiesig.gif” hisrc=”artiesig225.gif” alt=”Jaye”/]

        @media not amzn-mobi {
        #artiesig {
        width: 9em;
        }
        }
        Thanks to the guy over at Extraordinary Commons for pointing this out.
        [Of course, I used square brackets instead of angle so as not to screw up WordPress. I hope that works.]

      • I know another self-pubbed author who does it. I don’t know *how* he does it, but somehow he signs ebooks for his fans. I’ll have to ask him his trick.

        But your method seems easy enough. Just like any other image, right?

  3. The tinyfont issue (which may be solved if ever the paperwhite appears in a store so I can try it out) aside, your formatting looks great, and I like the idea of specially-signed editions. How do we Kindle 4 users get the updated version of the ebook? When an author updates/fixes an existing title, how do those who have purchased it find out about updates? Or do we have to buy them again to get the improved versions?

    • i honestly do not know, Chris. I have had Amazon “update” books for me as an automatic thing. I’ve also had them notify me when a new edition is available for re-download. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for it. I’ll check into it.

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