During the last four months I’ve had some odd encounters with customers at shows, classes and the like.
Customer (holding a book): “I understand that you aren’t signing books anymore. But would you mind signing this one book for me?”
Me: “Huh? What? I’ll sign anything. Got a baby?”
I am happy to sign anything and with anyone’s name (I do a passable “Roy Underhill” and a crappy “Norm Abram”) on your books, DVDs, T-shirts and bare flesh when you see me. I’ve signed a man’s chest (and I have bad dreams still), and I’ve signed a dozen books in blood in Australia.
What I cannot do is personally sign every book we sell through the Lost Art Press web site. All of our inventory is two hours away, and it changes so rapidly that I would spend a significant amount of time driving, unpacking books and packing them again.
That is why I now sign books via a letterpress bookplate printed by Steamwhistle Press in Cincinnati, Ohio. These are printed on a treadle machine, one-by-one, on quality adhesive-backed paper. I have signed each one individually with an ink pen (non-treadle-powered).
These are not cheap. In fact, they cut into our profit significantly. But that’s OK because we like them.
So next time you see me, lift up your shirt and hand me a Sharpie.
Or, on second thought…. lift up your girlfriend’s shirt and…. Oh nevermind. I’m in so much trouble as it is.
— Christopher Schwarz