Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) apparently wants every part of a book to be digital—even an autograph. A new patent filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and spotted by Mikey Campbell of Apple Insider describes a method of capturing digital autographs.

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Apple moves in on book personalization

Many readers just can’t get past the feel and smell of a real book, no matter how hard Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other technology companies try to replace them with digital copies. One of the things that has been difficult for die-hard book lovers to get over is the fact that it’s pretty difficult to collect an autograph from a famous author.

However, Apple wants to change that through an app. The company notes in the patent applications that autographs carry special meanings to readers and can make books more valuable, so an app to capture autographs could be meaningful for some.

Apple describes the autograph app

In the patent application, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) describes what it calls “Embedding an autograph in an electronic book.” Most of the application focuses on e-books, but the company does say that this same technology can be used to affix autographs to other forms of digital media, like movies or music.

Of course the process begins with the device the user is using, as well as the digital book itself. Publishers could choose to include a special autograph page in the digital copy. Others could restrict an autograph to a particular part of a page. Still other methods might enable the user to select where the autograph will be inserted. And finally, if there is no place for an autograph inside a digital book, then a specialized app like the iBooks Author could be used to generate such a field inside a digital book.

How Apple’s digital autographs work

In order to actually issue the autograph, the author’s device will have to have the right credentials and usually be physically nearby the device which is receiving the autograph. The transfer of the signature occurs over Bluetooth or some other form of tireless protocol and can be done either to a single device or to multiple devices in desired.

In some cases, the autograph can come with a special certificate which verifies that the autograph is legit. That certificate is essentially a digital marker which can be stored either on the device of the person who received it or externally on the Cloud.