Go Long

This Sunday, novelist Margaret Atwood will be signing copies of her new book in New York. Only she’ll be doing it from home in London.

Atwood’s scheduled long-distance signing is made possible by a company she started, Unotchit (pronounced, ‘You No Touch It’), which makes a product called the LongPen. At the signing, a computer-guided pen will write on a book in New York whatever the author has written on a tablet PC in London. A video camera and screen allow for a dialogue between the author and reader. (The video at the official site shows the device at work.)

Sure, some may say that successful authors shouldn’t complain about their popularity. But you can see how this would save writers from grueling book tours and allow them to spend more time writing books. And for Atwood, at age 66, remote book signings are obviously easier.

Still, is a transcontinental signature the same as one from across a table? What do you think?