Conrad Black Overcomes ‘Short Leash,’ Autographs Books For Canadian Fans Using Computer

Conrad Black can’t do much traveling now that he’s been convicted on charges of fraud and obstruction of justice. This means he might have to go to jail pretty soon, but it also means that in the meantime, he can’t go on tour to promote his recently published biography of Richard Nixon. Ouch! What’s a fella to do?

According to The New York Times, he just whips out his trusty LongPen, which is a recent technology invention, and signs autographs by satellite! The paper reports that Mr. Black has been using the device to “meet” with his fans at bookstore events and sign their books just like a real author.

Margaret Atwood created the LongPen in 2004, says The Times, “so that she could meet remotely with fans, chatting with them by videoconference and signing their books with a touchpad, which conveyed her handwriting from her home to an autopen in the bookstore.”

Since then, the LongPen has been used by Norman Mailer, Alice Munro, and a host of others. “The LongPen events have been very enjoyable,” he told The Times in an e-mail message. “This is a concept that will revolutionize book sales. It’s an important and amazing invention.”