The benefits to an author from placing a book on pre-order (allowing readers to purchase copies before its release) is clear. Many publishers facilitate the practice and many authors do it. However, there are risks. The benefits to readers are dependent on a number of factors, but those who enjoy the author and would purchase the book anyway run no risks.
TULARE, Zack Tolliver, FBI, #10 is now on pre-order on Amazon. Its predecessors, THE CURSE OF MATILIJA and LOST OASIS both rode those presale waves and did relatively well. But the market changes dramatically from year to year, and the outcome is never assured.
Currently, several popular authors in TULARE’s category (Native American Literature) have books on pre-order. They have a series, have an extensive following, and are assured of sales. Some offer books more than a half year in advance, others even before they have a cover for the book. The pre-sale option is a tremendous advantage for them at virtually no risk.
For lesser known authors, or those without a series, low pre-order numbers can plunge their book to the bottom of Amazon’s visibility listings and likely remain there after publication. It is a gamble, a risk that must be studied before acting. Even with previous successes, market fluctuation can take a toll.
In an earlier blog, I proposed some advantages of presale listing for both readers and the authors:
- The memory factor. How often have you read about a great new book and decided to buy it, only to find it is not yet available? The months go by toward publication and the book slips from your mind: opportunity lost. Now you can pre-order the book, and then forget about it. Its arrival is a nice surprise.
- Price. Often (usually) the price offered at pre-sale is lower. Amazon guaranties the price will be the lowest for the book during the pre-sale period all the way to midnight on release day. Often the price on pre-order is the lowest for the book, ever.
- Convenience. If it is a book you know you will buy in any case, buy it on pre-order and “git-er-done”.
- Shelve it. The beauty of digital books is unlimited shelf space. Pre-order the books you know you want and let them accumulate. Never be without that bedtime read.
- Visibility. Visibility is king, and pre-order raises visibility for the book sooner.
- ASIN. On Amazon, your book is assigned an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number). With the ASIN, you can create links from any URL to your book, simplifying the task for potential readers to find and order it. You can also use it to create a link to the review page for your book, to simplify (and hopefully encourage) that process.
- Preview. Pre-order on Kindle offers the author a preview of how your book cover and description will look on your page, which can be changed if needed up to 5 days before publication You can preview other components as well, and make changes as needed.
- Coming Soon. Your book is shown through the Coming Soon filter, offering extra visibility, with fewer competing books.
- Momentum. If your book sells many pre-orders, it can begin life with a strong sales rating, and good momentum.(Fair warning: if not, the opposite is true.) While listing a book on presale can be a risk for authors, it is never a risk for readers.
However you decide to purchase your books, enjoy them.
Note: The above observations pertain solely to the Amazon bookstore.