After limited success with Margaret Atwood‘s device at the Edinburgh Book Festival – enabling Norman Mailer and Alice Munro to make “appearances” – the book-tour substitute device will make its debut into a record store and several bookstores in Canada, the United States and England for a trial run that could bring fans and their idols closer together. The London Free Press reports that kiosks will be set up at the World’s Biggest Bookstore and HMV‘s flagship record store in Toronto, Barnes & Noble in New York and Waterstone’s in London beginning after Labour Day, and could expand elsewhere if successful.
Spokesperson Bruce Walsh says shops with a LongPen kiosk could soon become hubs for celebrity sightings of a new kind. “You could potentially see the talent in their dressing room, somewhere, and they could actually sign into a bookstore,” says Walsh. “It doesn’t really matter, if there’s a kiosk set up, you can sign all kinds of different kinds of talent into wherever the kiosk happens to be.” But tech observer Richard Worzel of Toronto was skeptical the device — with a fee of roughly $2,000 in Canada and the U.S. and $4,000 in England — would be worth it to a publisher promoting a new artist. “Something like this, you’d have to show quite a lot of demand,” said Worzel.