Why we should all pre-order a book: A reader’s point of view

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I recently pre-ordered All Fall Down by Ally Carter, and as I clicked the little green button, I realised that I had probably pre-ordered a book less than five times in my life. As a girl who has read well over 1000 books, this thought shocked me.

First, I should point out that this post is predominantly about pre-ordering on amazon.co.uk as I have not ever pre-ordered on any other sites. However, after looking around, I noticed that most of the information in this post is true for the bigger bookshops as well as quite a few indie stores.

When you pre-order a book, you are not charged until the order is dispatched. Amazon also do this really cool thing called the pre-order price guarantee…

“For items with a future release date, the Amazon.co.uk price may change between the time of order and the date the item is dispatched. We don’t charge you until we dispatch an item; therefore, when you pre-order selected books, … you’ll be charged the lowest price offered by Amazon.co.uk between the time the order was placed and the item’s release date.

If the price is lowered on the release date and your order has already been dispatched, we’ll automatically refund the difference between the price you were charged and the release-date price.” (From Amazon)

(I must add, after doing a quick check, this is also true for Waterstones)

This all sounds pretty cool, not to mention the reasons why pre-ordering is great for our beloved authors.

1. Pre-ordering helps them get on the bestsellers lists. All pre-orders count towards the first week of sales, which is when an author is most likely to go on a bestsellers list. This may seem like a shallow thing to worry about, like a popularity contest, but it is really important for an author to get noticed, get their work read and be known. If they can prove they have a large reader base, this can help them get more marketing from their publisher and there is a greater chance of future books.  Good news for us! (Even well published authors get worried about their next book being accepted!)

2. Pre-ordering may result in a re-order. The book hasn’t been released and retailers have already run out, they ask for another batch of books from the publisher.  Again, this is brilliant for an author- retailers and publishers getting excited about a book which has sold out before being put on the shelves often leads to….

3. More space in the bookshops. If ten people have already pre-ordered a book in their local bookshop, the manager is much more likely to make space for that book on their shelves. It is selling well, and it hasn’t been displayed, why wouldn’t they? And books being displayed leads to a wider reader base, which leads to more sales and more book deals for our favourite author. Awesome!

All of these things mean that authors get more sales, and SALES ARE GOOD! For our author, and, in turn, for us, their devoted readers. If our favourite author gets lots of sales, their publishers will take note of this, which could be vital for not only for the continuation of a series, but as stated above, any other book they might write. If they have already proven they can sell big, they are likely to be published again. Which is excellent news for us.

So. Pre-ordering books is important. But I never did it. Why? Maybe due to a lack of money (“If I pre-order that book that doesn’t come out until the summer, will I still have that money in my account when it is released?”), maybe due to a need for instant gratification (I just never saw the point in committing to something I won’t get for six months). So, if you feel a bit like I used to, here are some reasons that are closer to home that might change your mind.

1. You get that book first! Well, apart from those lovely reviewers who posted all about their ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). Reading a book on the first day it comes out is brilliant, as you won’t have to suffer from spoilers. And you can feel really smug when telling all your friends how brilliant it is, but you “can’t say anything, it might spoil it”, which, lets be honest, is a great feeling. Also, you don’t have to queue all night outside a bookstore just to arrive at the counter to be told they ran out. (Who would be crazy enough to do this? Well, er, um!)

2. Surprise! If it is a hard copy, you get that great feeling of opening a mystery package that just arrived (“Hmm, I haven’t ordered anything in forever, whatever could it be?”). If it is an e-book, it will just appear on your kindle or nook or other e-reader device (and you will feel like Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy all came at once). If you preorder a book six months in advance, there is a very real possibility you will forget that TODAY is the day. (Cue high-pitched fan-girl squealing.)

3. You might get exclusive deals from the author. Lots of authors now run contests and giveaways for their loyal fans who pre-order their books (“I most definitely would like a bag with a quote from your book on it, thank you!”).

4. You don’t have to rely on your bad memory. As I already mentioned, I read a LOT of books. Too many. My parents used to tell me off for the amount I read, which I do not think is normal parent-child behaviour. Although I might really love an author, I am usually waiting for about five books to come out at any one time, and my TBR pile is obnoxiously huge, so I might, might, just forget to actually buy that book I have been looking forward to for months.  But if I pre-ordered that book when I spotted it, I don’t have to worry about remembering, it arrives in a parcel of joy, and I am happy.

5. Be part of something amazing. If a book you pre-ordered hits a bestseller list, you can say, I helped to do that. And an author will be eternally grateful that there are readers out there that cared enough to pre-order their wonderful book.

So, if I haven’t convinced you by now, I probably never will. If I have, go and type in your favourite author’s name into Google, and see if they have any upcoming releases. Or go and look for some new authors and support their work. You might just pre-order the book of the next J.K. Rowling.

Lots of booky love
E. St. C