Flash! Did Mark Twain consider the e-book rights?
When you think Mark Twain, you probably think more about rafts and jumping frog contests than high tech.
I’m reading The Autobiography of Mark Twain right now.
The author was surprisingly high tech. He invested in new technology, and seems surprised when someone doesn’t have a telephone.
I’ll write more about the book when I finish it, but this passage considerably surprised me.
George Harvey was acting as Mark Twain’s agent. A document is quoted that says this:
“The agreement would, of course, provide for publication in whatever modes should then be prevalent, that is, by printing as at present, or by use of phonographic cylinders, or by electrical method, or by any other mode which may then be in use, any number of which would doubtless occur to his vivid imagination, and would form an interesting clause in the agreement.”
Phonographic cylinders obviously presages audiobooks, but “electrical method”? That clearly sounds like e-books (even if the “e” is for electronic and not electrical).
The plan was to publish the Autobiography one hundred years after Twain’s death, so they were trying to look ahead. Yes, it also sounds somewhat like that part of the contract would be written in part to amuse Twain. That does suggest, though, that Twain would have looked at it or had it discussed with him…so he would have been considering the e-book rights one hundred years ago.
Hmm…can you picture Huck Finn with a smartphone?
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.