Pre-Ordering Books: a Survey

Time for another nosy survey! You’ll notice that I keep my surveys short and neat, like shots of fine tequila. So grab some salt and a lime, and let’s talk pre-ordering.

I personally rarely pre-order books. I’m so forgetful, I’d see books turn up on my Kindle or in my download library online and wonder who had hacked my account. If I read a book review before the book is released, I might place it on my wish list or leave a note for myself, but I rarely preorder unless the preorder price is supremely good.

But many people I know preorder digital books and love when on a Tuesday, there’s a heaping pile of new books to read. So I started thinking about who pre-orders and who does not – and whether folks are more likely to pre-order a digital book or a print one.

I know a few people who would order paper books and pick them up on release date at the bookstore. I have definitely pre-ordered CDs and DVDs for my sons, as well as children’s books that haven’t been released yet, so that they’ll arrive on my doorstep on release day. Hubby pre-ordered Harry Potter books and then made sure he had an afternoon to read the book on release day by moving his schedule around. The minute the book box hit the porch, he was all over it.

I can’t think of whether I’ve done this for a book I have anticipated. I always figure the book will arrive at the precisely worst time for me if I order for future delivery, and I won’t have time to read it, no matter how much I want to. Better for me to order the book when its available, and download and read it the minute I’m ready to read.

What about you? Do you preorder books? Look there! What nosy bint through yonder website breaks? It’s me, with a 3-question survey!



Random Musings

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    HeatherK says:

    I don’t think I’ve preordered a book before, but I do sometimes preorder video games (have the new Legend of Zelda game on preorder now, in fact.). I tend to forget about things easily, so it’s never a good idea for me to preorder a book, because if it shows up in store before release date and I see it, I’ll grab it and then I’d have two copies and give my poor husband a coronary.

    I agree on the hacking thing, especially since I’ve already had iTunes hacked once. If I preordered now, it’d be digital and all I need is to have some book show up “randomly” on my device and give me a heart attack because I forgot about preordering it.

  2. 2
    Carolyn says:

    I love pre-ordering digital, because I usually forget all about the order and one day it just shows up and it’s like Christmas and Santa loves me, lol. If they want to hack my account to give me books, I can live with that.  ;-)

    However, I’ve had to stop pre-ordering; our financial situation is so up and down that sometimes a surprise order delivery would put us in the red.  Now I use my Wishlist to remember.  :-)

  3. 3
    Joanne says:

    geeze, it was a bad night and I’ve written my response on the bottom of the survey. Sorry, consider it a rambling book you don’t remember pre-ordering.

    I’m more careful now about pre-ordering fav authors in digital since some of the publishers (IDIOTS!) are delaying the digital pub dates.

  4. 4
    ks says:

    I don’t have a digital reader, so that’s out for me.  And honestly, I don’t buy books very often at all, except textbooks.  If I bought every book I read I’d be broke and wouldn’t have anyplace to keep them, so I rely on the library for my romance and other entertainment reading needs.  I have gotten myself on early waiting lists there in the past, particularly for Harry Potter and a few romance novels (mainly offerings by Amanda Quick and Eloisa James).  But lately I just keep a future reading list for myself for when I get time.  I went back to school last year and I don’t have time to read anything for fun that will take longer than 5-10 minutes, so fiction is out, except summers and Christmas break.  But come April, I break out the long list and put a whole stack of books on request for the first of May when I will have time again.

  5. 5
    Jennifer Armintrout says:

    Shouldn’t there be a “zero” option in that last question, so your results aren’t skewed?

  6. 6
    Literary Slut Kilian says:

    I want it! 
    I waaaant it!
    I’ll forget it if I don’t preorder.
    Sometimes the price is lower – I bought Wolf Hall for under $10 by preordering.

    right29 – Right!  Now if I could keep the number of items under 29/month my budget wouldn’t be busted.  I bought the Kindle to save money on shipping, and now I’m buying more books than even before.

  7. 7
    ocelott says:

    If I preorder something, it’s going to be a book I’m really excited about, most likely from one of my auto-buy authors.  Which I always buy in print anyway (I read mostly digital now, but if I know something is going to go on my keeper shelf, I like to be able to put it there and have a physical copy; consider it one of my quirks) so magic book showing up unexpectedly on my doorstep is most excellent.

  8. 8
    HeatherR says:

    I only pre-order from a local bookstore. Normally she requests prepay, but I’ve ordered so much from her that I just shoot her an email with the books coming out in the next 2/4/8 months that I want and she just keeps the list and then emails me when they come in.

    I do sometimes forget which books I’ve asked her to get, so sometimes I’ll send the same request a few times. The last time that happened was Maybe This Time. I emailed her the week before release, asking her to order, and she replied I had already told her about it, and that it was going to be in later that day. Yay! I got to read it early! (Another advantage of going through her.)

  9. 9
    Andrea says:

    I only pre-order books in print via amazon (it is the easiest way here to feed my addiction to romance in English – and the cheapest too).  For some reason I never really forget what I have pre-ordered, probably because I want those books soo badly and can’t wait… Oh, and because I check from time to time if the books might not be available a bit earlier. ;-)

    Another thing that I ALWAYS pre-order is the Disney Classics.  I am so afraid not to get a DVD that I am slightly paranoid. Oh, and of course, I want them sooo badly! :-)

  10. 10
    Andrea2 says:

    Oops, I answered this at the bottom of the survey, but I’ll repeat here.

    I preorder (print, don’t have e-reader) because the local bookstores, including B&N are awful at getting books out on the shelves on release date.  This is true for big authors (Kleypas, Quinn) and for those authors the stores seem to consider good but not big authors (Linden, McCarthy, Showalter, Briggs etc).  The only author that is on the shelves on time is Nora Roberts.  I get impatient and preorder from Amazon so I get these books on time on my doorstep.  I’ve told “my” B&N that they are losing a lot of business because they don’t stock the books on release date, but they don’t seem to care.

  11. 11
    Terry Odell says:

    I belong to The Mystery Guild, and that’s the only place from which I’ve ever pre-ordered a book. They announce it about a month before they’ll have it available, and if it’s one of my auto-buy favorite authors, I get on the list.

    I’ve done that for library books when they have new releases on their websites. Avoids some of the rush when the book comes out.

    No bookstores around here, so I’m totally revisiting my book buying and reading habits. Per the spam word, I guess I should try method 44

    Terry’s Place
    Romance with a Twist—of Mystery

  12. 12
    lj says:

    I’ll pre-order the next book in a series or I’ll pre-order the next book by an author who has rarely, if ever, let me down. Otherwise? I tend to wait for reviews on websites.

  13. 13
    Lyssa says:

    Great survey, it made me think.

    I USED to pre-order. With my entry into the digital age I either get my books via or my nook. I now plan out what books I want to buy with my audible credits (saving them up for big release months **why do 4 of my favorite authors have to release new books in January?** or grabbing the digital version of the book at midnight for my nook. I think the digital versions will cause a decrease in downloads, because 1. the availability of the book is there, 2. there is no price difference that I can tell.  I know my use of digital changed my purchasing style…I no longer wander my local bookstores looking for that new release, I grab it on line. (And since the local bookstores are Barnes and Noble, BooksaMillion and Hastings I feel no shame in this. The locally owned bookstores were driven out of business years ago here.
    (I put this at the bottom of the survey, but I am all about sharing)

  14. 14
    Lyssa says:

    errr digital will cause a decrease in “preordering” not downloads…Needs coffee here.

    spamword help72=I am not yet 72 but help me cause my brain thinks I am?

  15. 15
    BH says:

    Reasons for pre-order:
    Anticipated release of a book by a favorite author, especially if it’s a part of a series.
    Blog recs of an upcoming book that received good reviews.

    I use to pre-order print books before I got my Nook last December.  Then I did a crazy mass pre-ordering of all things digital.  It was great having it magically show up on my Nook on release day.  I try not to pre-order on Books On Board, Diesel, Carina, ARe because I tend forget about them.  I think ARe sends an email reminder, not for sure on that now, otherwise the books would just sit and wait for me to find them.

    Lately, last 2 months, I haven’t pre-ordered anything.  Economy has played a role, and we don’t need a large $$ surprise on a big book release day, and my TBR really needs to be knocked down anyhow. 

    Now I make a list of upcoming books I’d like to have, then whittle it down, make a note in my calendar, and then order them after they come out.  Saves me some cash and I don’t forget which etailer they are sitting on.

    Anyone know of a comprehensive site that devotes itself to upcoming releases of romance books?  I’ve found a few sites, but they cater to various sub-genres.  I’ve scoped out DA, SuperLibrian, RT.  Just want one site if it’s possible.  Or more sites than the three I’ve listed.

  16. 16
    DreadPirateRachel says:

    What nosy bint through yonder website breaks?

    I just spat coffee all over my work computer, thereby making a mess AND revealing the non-workiness of my activities. You’re a dangerous woman, Sarah!

    I’m girl-crushing/nergasming right now.

  17. 17
    MaryK says:

    Huh. I don’t do DRM so my books are mostly paper. I’ve been pre-ordering a lot this year, but I’ve NEVER received a pre-ordered book on the release date. Well, I think I did get HP7 on the day, but that’s definitely it.

  18. 18
    Isobel Carr says:

    I used to preorder stuff on FictionWise all the time. Now that I’ve switched over to getting my fiction from Amazon, I’ve yet to do so. I do, however, put it on my wishlist so I don’t forget it. Butterfly Swords is on there right now. But maybe I’ll preorder it as an experiment and see how that goes . . .

  19. 19
    Maria says:

    I use a Wish List system. Since getting an iPad (which summarily rendered print books and my old BeBook reader quaint), I buy only e-books for pleasure reading. I often buy direct from the smaller publishers (in epub or non-DRM so I can convert them with Calibre) or from Barnes & Noble and use their Nook reader for the iPad. I also have an Amazon ebook or two (but the Nook reader for the iPad is vastly superior and second only to the iBook reader). Anyway, I read what I want when I want (within the other parameters of my life, sadly) and purchase/download my book just prior to reading it. It’s part of the fun/excitement. Pre-ordering under these conditions is pointless for me, but I can understand why others do it.

  20. 20
    orangehands says:

    Buying: I rarely pre-order, usually only when I’m buying online and want to use a coupon, or when I think a close-by store won’t have it on the release date. (Oh, and Harry Potter because the bookstore would have run out *g*.) However, I have a list of my auto-buys (short list) and try to buy either the day of or within a few days, whichever day will give me a free hours so I can spend that afternoon and/or evening devouring them.

    Library: I pre-order all the time. Recently my library stopped adding author’s new books till closer to their date, so I can’t mark them quite as far in advance.

    (FYI, 98% of the books I read are print, so this technically mostly goes to print, though I have the same philosophy towards digital. Actually, pre-ordering seems even less likely in digital because I can’t wrap my brain around the idea of them running out of a digital book.) 

    Jennifer Armintrout: I thought the same thing too. Marked the first choice, but I haven’t pre-ordered anything this year.

  21. 21

    The only two books I’ve preordered were Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Any other new releases are stuff I can just borrow from the bookstore I work at.

    Mostly, though, Harry Potter’s been the only books I care about enough to want Amazon to have delivered them first thing in the morning, so I can start reading without putting on any pants.

  22. 22
    Kerry says:

    Living in NZ and wanting to buy US books, it is generally impossible to find them in the shops anyway, so I’ve been preordering print books through a specialty importer for years. Now I also use The Book Depository to do the same thing, although it is mostly for autobuy authors and things I know I want on my shelf.

    With digital books, if it’s something I know I really want, I’ll happily preorder that as well (have 2 on preorder for this month). But if it is something I’m not sure about, I’ll wishlist it instead and think about it some more or wait for some reviews. Also, not all ebooks I want turn up as preorders; sometimes I have to wait. (I don’t have a Kindle and being outside the US most of the books I want to read aren’t available to me anyway so I shop at independent ebook sellers, mostly Books on Board.)

    Due to the combination of price and lack of books I want to read, I hardly ever buy a book in a local store anymore. My browsing is done pretty much via the blogs I follow these days.

  23. 23
    Sharon says:

    I preorder once I’m aware of an upcoming release from a favorite author or the release of a book that’s gotten a lot of good buzz because I’d forget otherwise. 

    I used to preorder more often when we lived out in the ‘burbs and the kids were younger.  I couldn’t always count on getting to a bookstore when I wanted to.  Now that we moved back into the city, I don’t preorder as much because I can just walk a couple of blocks to the bookstore the day a book is released.  When it’s someone whose books I will buy no matter what, come hell or high water, then I just preorder so I don’t have to bother about remembering the release date.

  24. 24
    Andrea2 says:

    BH:  “Anyone know of a comprehensive site that devotes itself to upcoming releases of romance books?  I’ve found a few sites, but they cater to various sub-genres.  I’ve scoped out DA, SuperLibrian, RT.  Just want one site if it’s possible.  Or more sites than the three I’ve listed.”

    Have you tried FictionDB?  I use them all the time to determine what the upcoming releases are in the next few months.  They use broad categories (romance, suspence, western, speculative) and you need to do the search by month, but they post updates continuously and right now they have books listed for release through December 2010.  (Last week, they had releases listed through July 2011, but that’s not showing up today, don’t know why.)

  25. 25
    valor says:

    As I said in the survey, I’ll preorder if I’m ordering a bunch of books and one isn’t out yet, but I’m soooooo close to free shipping. Pre-order to score free shipping. That’s the only time I do it.

  26. 26
    DeeCee says:

    I used to preorder books, but the costs caught up to me. Now I just watch sales and compare prices and use coupons when possible or buy them used a few months later when I’ve forgotten they’ve been out for awhile.

    The only thing I consistently preorder is movies. I can get a much better deal online than in stores and shipping is usually cheap or free. It’s sad to see the physical stores go (my area has seen quit a few bookstores close or move) but it’s just impossible to pay full price right now.

  27. 27
    orangehands says:

    redheadedgirl: Total aside, but what happened with HP and the Half-Blood Prince?

    I’ve been very lucky so far in that most of the foreign authors I read get released (though sometimes much later, damn you publishers of Melina Marchetta) in the U.S. too.

  28. 28
    Peggy P says:

    I don’t pre-order as much as I used to but I did order the new graphic Outlander novel, The Exile, in print –  ‘cause that sucker will look like crap on ye olde Kindle!

  29. 29

    orangehands:  I was out of town camping the weekend it came out, and I stopped on the way home and bought it in a store.  No point in ordering when I wouldn’t be there to get it.

  30. 30
    bh says:

    Andrea2:  Thank you.  Great site!

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