When you come to think about it, it is a somewhat odd activity. Why do we do it? Is it to spend a few moments with someone you admire? Do we somehow think the signing will "add value" to the book? And how long would you be prepared to wait in a queue just to spend thirty seconds getting that oh so precious signature?
I have only been to a few book signings and somehow I never feel entirely comfortable. Do I look fairly normal and relaxed - or will the author mistake me for that mad woman in Misery and send for security? And what do the writers think of it all - a chore to be got over as quickly as possible or a good opportunity to meet ones readers?
I admit that I joined in a few signings at the Hay Festival. The queue for Tobias Hill was small and select, the one for David Simon was long and very cheerful. Kate Summerscale seemed genuinely pleased to meet us. However I bet they all couldn't wait to escape to the Green Room for a stiff drink!
There was a really massive queue for the children's writer Jeremy Strong and he signed away frantically. But next to him sat another writer with pen poised but no eager signees - how demoralising must that be?