What’s the deal with preorders?

When an author has a book coming on sale, you’ll often see requests to preorder. These requests might come anywhere from 6 months to the day before on-sale. Why is it important to preorder, and not just wait until the book is on sale?

  • REGISTERS INTEREST Publishers love hearing from their accounts about where there is interest in a book. If there’s a lot of buzz in rural communities, for example, they might target their advertising or events there. If there’s a push at libraries, they can reach out to more libraries and community hubs.
  • DRIVES WORD-OF-MOUTH When you buy from an independent bookstore, you’re doing two things: supporting local businesses, and telling the bookstore about the book. When a shop knows their community is interested in a book, they usually carry it. If you buy a book early, you can plant seeds with your organization or book club about doing author events once the book is on sale.
  • DICTATES PRINT RUN Publishers set their initial print runs based on estimates. Knowing that X people have preordered helps them plan accordingly, so they print just enough books. Smart estimates are key when the books might be printed a distance away from warehouses, and need to be transported. In this way, preorders can be a part of your book’s sustainability plan.
  • BOOSTS BESTSELLER STATUS It’s true: all books sold in the preorder window count toward a book’s total sales in the first week. What that means: preorders can help rocket a book up the bestseller list, and drive further interest. It’s a win-win for authors, booksellers, publishers, and readers.

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