One for the Books
Among all the queer happenings dotting the ongoing Barnum & Bailey tour that is the trial of Conrad Black, tonight’s event at the World’s Biggest Bookstore in downtown Toronto should top them all. Imprisoned in his Xanadu by the Florida sea, Black will sit for a “book signing” using a device called a LongPen, which allows an author to autograph books (in this instance Black’s Nixon bio) using some sort of video-teleconferencing/signing machine doohickey. Adding to the general air of lunacy, the machine’s inventor, author and aspiring Rube Goldberg Margaret Atwood, will be on hand to introduce the convicted felon and receive the first signed copy. Then, ever-smarmy CTV morning host Seamus O’Regan will interview Black via video-link, after which the great man will “sign” the tome for his public.
The level of exploitation, mutual or otherwise, is spectacular. Doug Pepper, the president of McClelland & Stewart, is quoted extolling the commercial virtues of the book: “There are very few signed copies of this book, and none up until now that have been signed by the LongPen. Getting a book like this signed by Conrad Black is worth quite a bit, both financially and in terms of uniqueness.” Even the company that manufactures the device is getting in on the act. LongPen spokesman Bruce Walsh chimed in that, “It’s a very different kind of event that we’re bringing to fans: they get their book signed, they see the technology in action, it’s face-to-face conversation via the video conferencing. You get actual face time with an author in a way that you don’t get at the traditional book signing.”
Ain’t capitalism grand?
Atwood’s LongPen to share spotlight with Conrad Black at Toronto book signing: Source [The Canadian Press]