Why e-readers will never replace the signed book

Michelle Hodgson - Festival Director

Why e-readers will never replace the signed book

When e-readers came on to the market, one of my first thoughts was: what about book signings? Most authors will, at some point, go out on the road to meet fans and sign copies of their latest book. Although e-readers are a good way of saving luggage space when you’re heading off on holiday, they can’t replace the pleasure of a hardback book signed by your favourite author.

Of everything I own, my signed copies are among my most treasured possessions. In fact, I would go as far as to say that if my house was on fire, I’d be rushing back in to rescue them.

Some of these precious books have been signed for me by authors I have worked with, which gives them an even greater personal value, as they bring back memories of escorting the author to interviews or travelling round the country to book signings.

Although author tours can be long and tiring, most writers understand the need to get out and meet their fans, and often enjoy the process. After all, when they write a book, it’s usually with the expectation that someone will want to read it. Writing can be a solitary pursuit and bookshop events, literary lunches and literature festivals are a good way for an author to connect with their readers.

It’s always hard to predict how many people will want to come and see a particular author, although selling tickets does help to gauge numbers. For HLF2013, we have tried to schedule a variety of different author events so that there will hopefully be something to appeals to everyone. Even if you don’t know an author’s work, attending an event is an interesting and enjoyable experience, which may introduce you to your favourite author of tomorrow.

So I hope we’ll see as many people as possible coming along to the HLF2013 author events – not least because showing support for the authors who come along to the Festival will help us book events in future years.

Finally, don’t forget that if you enjoy a particular author’s work but can’t make it along to their event, contact Waterstones on New Street in Huddersfield (01484 431051) and they will be able to get a signed copy dedicated to you for collection later.