WSJ article here
When most people think of a book tour, they think of standing in a room full of chairs, hopefully some are occupied.
Usually they give a lecture or read several chapters from their book. But in today's world of Blackberries and Kindles, people don't seem to want to take the time to listen, they're in and out.
"For decades, the bookstore reading was a given. It gave fans a chance to hear the cadences and inflections of a beloved author, and to decide if they wanted to lay down their plastic right then and there or maybe wait for the paperback. 'When I first started, it was readings, readings, readings. Nobody considered that you could do anything else,' said Evan Boorstyn, the deputy director of publicity at Grand Central Publishing." -excerpt from WSJ article.
I have seen the change myself. The last book tour I went to, at Indie book store, Third Place Books in Washington, was more of a show, with 6 YA authors, Q and A, giveaways and signings. (see pic) It was a real treat. The audience was engaged and the signing a huge success.
I think this new trend is a good thing. Many author's feel uncomfortable reading infront of large groups. As a group we trend toward being hermits. These new interactive book tours seem fun and less threatening. Check out the article for more ideas.