How I Got a Kindle eBook Autographed by the Author

How I Got a Kindle eBook Autographed by the Author


As I mentioned recently, The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. And, as it happens, Josh was in Portland for the World Domination Summit. I met him at the opening party and he’s a hell of a cool customer.

Aside from befriending the handsome Josh, our introduction also gave me an opportunity to employ a cool trick I cribbed from Evernote CEO and fellow college dropout, Phil Libin: I asked Josh to “autograph” my electronic (Kindle) version of his book. He kindly obliged.

How the hell did I manage such magic? Glad you asked.

To perform this little trick, you’ll need:

  • An iPad with the Kindle app installed (or iBooks, if that’s your huckleberry).
  • The author’s book downloaded to the app.
  • Skitch installed on your iPad (it’s free).
  • The author to be physically present, ideally of his or her own free will.

And, the steps to complete the trick:

  • Open the book in question using your preferred reading application.
  • Turn back to the title page or cover image at the beginning of the book.
  • Take a screen shot of your iPad screen (press the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons at the same time to do this). This image will now live in the Photos app.
  • Open Skitch for iPad and load up the screenshot you just took.
  • Select the Pen tool in Skitch, make sure the line size is right and the line color will contrast well with the color of the image.
  • Hand your iPad to the author of the book and ask him/her to autograph the image using their finger (or a stylus, if you have one).
  • Publish image to Twitter or Facebook if you want, but make sure you save it somewhere.
  • Bonus Step: Save the signed image to Evernote.

The result, if you’re lucky enough to encounter Josh Kaufman and have the proper equipment, will look a great deal like this:


Or perhaps you’re lucky enough to encounter the unstoppably handsome Chris Guillebeau (author of The $100 Startup) while holding the same equipment:

Maybe not quite as cool as being able to yank a signed volume off of your spiffy bookshelf, but I’ll take it.

Why is this particularly cool? The world of writing and publishing is welcoming a whole host of people who are doing it themselves. If you spend a portion of your time interacting with like-minded folks at conferences (like WDS), it would seem you’ll have a good chance of running into authors you like (“published” or not).

And it doesn’t have to stop with books, actually. Meet a blogger who you love that hasn’t yet written a book? Repeat the above steps with a snapshot of the front page of their blog. Pretty badass, right?

Photo by Fairfax Library Foundation

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