Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Trend For Signing Books: Autograph In Blood!

Sachin Tendulkar.

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith.

Red Smith (1905-1982), the great American sportswriter, would probably shake his head in wonder, then return to default position - “The natural habitat of the tongue is the left cheek” - with news of a new book signed by the author with his own blood. Traditionally, bloodletting  occurs while writing, not afterward.

Sachin Tendulkar, the ace cricketeer for Team India who is considered to be the greatest batsman in the history of the sport, has written his autobiography. Tendulkar Opus will be issued in a limited edition of ten copies signed by Tendulkar on the limitation page in his blood. Publication is scheduled for February 2011.

Each copy of the sang edition measures ten square feet, weighs 87 lbs., 9 oz., and is 852 pages long. That's not a book, that's a slab. They should break a champagne bottle over the first copy at the launch party.

Each copy will cost 75 - yes, 75 - THOUSAND dollars. The proceeds will go to charity. A trade edition of 1,000 copies sans sang will be available for between $2,000 - $3,000 each. Shipping and handling probably extra. A lot, I'm guessing.

In addition to his blood, Tendulkar is providing a sample of his saliva to be used to create his DNA profile which will then be printed on a 6' 6" gatefold in the book. I believe that falls into "value-added" territory, though what value remains unclear. I guess it'll make the book that much easier to reprint, each copy an exact duplicate to a degree never before possible and usher in an era of Clone Lit. Then again, it  may just be the most detailed author's bio ever to be found in a book, making this the ultimate autobiography.

But really, what, no sweat? No tears? For $75,000 you can keep the saliva, I want the complete holy trinity of body fluids.

I'm pleased to have this opportunity to draw attention to Red Smith. Both he and S.J. Perelman  have become somewhat forgotten and deserve all the attention they can get from readers today. Red Smith and S.J. Perelman are at the top of writer's writers lists; They were consummate craftsmen. I have learned so much from reading them. And have had so much fun. I once owned every single first edition of Perelman's books, each a collection of his short pieces for The New Yorker, etc., and each a treasure. Those unfamiliar with Red Smith, a Pulitzer Prize-winner for his writing, should pick up a copy of The Red Smith Reader (New York: Randon House, 1982) NOW.

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