Home » Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Amazon » Kindle pre-order

Kindle pre-order

14 August 2014

From Kindle Direct Publishing:

You can make your new books available for pre-order in Kindle Stores worldwide. Setting a pre-order allows customers to order your book as early as 90 days before your book’s release date.  When you make your book available for pre-order, customers can order the book anytime leading up to the release date you set and it will be delivered to them on that date.

One advantage of pre-order is that you can start promoting your book before launch to help raise awareness. You can promote your book’s pre-order page on Author Central, Goodreads, your own site, and elsewhere. Also, pre-orders will contribute toward sales rank and other Kindle Store merchandising even before your book is released, which can help more readers discover your book.

. . . .

You’ll list your book as you would with any other KDP book. When you’re adding a new book, on Step 4, “Select Your Book Release Option,” you will choose “Make my book available for pre-order” and set a date in the future. That’s it.

Though your book isn’t available for download yet, we’ll still publish a product detail page for it within 24 hours of approval. Customers can order the book anytime leading up to the release date you set and it will be delivered to them on that date. However, customers won’t be able to download sample content for pre-order books.

You can list pre-order books in all marketplaces except Amazon.com.in, where pre-orders are not currently available. Your book will release at midnight local time in each marketplace.

. . . .

When you list a book for pre-order, you’ll need to upload the final version or a draft manuscript of the book file for review. Typically, a draft manuscript would be something like a complete book that might still need copyediting and proofreading. We won’t show the version to customers, but we’ll need to preview the content for compliance with our Program Policies before creating the pre-order detail page. It will go through the same review process that any other KDP book would. Your final version must be uploaded 10 days before the release date you set.

Link to the rest at Kindle Direct Publishing and thanks to Brandilyn for the tip.

Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Amazon

92 Comments to “Kindle pre-order”

  1. This is pretty neat. I’m not sure how relevant it’ll be to my books but it’s nice that Indies now have the ability to do this on KDP.

  2. I can just hear Oprah saying, “And you get pre-order, and YOU get pre-order…everyone gets pre-order!”

    I’m still waiting to hear back from my beta readers for my next book, but I think it’s time to get the files ready for Amazon. It’s a little nerve-racking to have to pick a date in advance, though.

  3. The terms are almost identical to those on Smashwords.com.
    Except you can upload a rough draft to KDP and need a more perfect version for SW.
    Yay for Indies – Amazon may have read and taken note of Selina Kitt’s wishlist published recently – or maybe this is another shot across the bows of Hachette et al – we will give independant publishers all the privileges we just took away from you. Haha – I wonder what the response will be?

    • I have a serialized novel that I’ve been putting up on preorder through SW and D2D. The timing on this couldn’t have been better for me. It’s great for planning marketing too…After dancing around at this news, I had the thought about the Hachette/Big 5 vs. Amazon dispute too.

  4. This is indeed a nice perk. Lately, I’ve been doing lots of ARC versions for clients and pre-order versions for small presses. They’ve been giving me feedback, showing it’s an excellent marketing tool.

    I like Amazon’s conservative take on the approval process, too. It should keep customers from being disappointed by “no shows.”

    • I’m glad Amazon is being conservative as well. It reduces the risk of disappointing or angering customers while also giving them what they want–a guarantee of an author’s next book as soon as it’s available.

    • Agree, Jaye. A wonderful perk for indies without being unfair to readers. I love it!

  5. It is a nice perk but honestly, when I saw the headline I saw it as a slap to Hachette that Amazon is offering the self-publishers an option that they took away from Hachette.

    • Hachette can have it. All they have to do is guarantee the pre-ordered books will be available as promised. I believe that would require a contract.

      • *snort* Contract? You mean that thing they’ve been avoiding even thinking about for six months now? I’m thrilled Amazon is doing pre-orders. And my readers will be too!

    • Yeah, I suspect this is one more sign that Amazon has seen that Indies are their street army — and this is one more move to rally the faithful.

      Personally, I agree with Jaye about pre-orders. As a customer I HATE the nasty surprise I get when I go to buy something and find out it’s not available yet. That, however, really is in relation to ebooks — which I expect to have them delivered instantaneously.

    • I’m sure Hachette is free to start uploading their books via KDP.

  6. I’m excited about this but I also have some concerns. Over on the Kindle boards people are talking about how pre-orders can adversely affect rankings because they aren’t saved up for pub day, as elsewhere, but instead are counted immediately. Plus it seems as though reviews can’t be posted to books with pre-order status. Those seem like two big potential drawbacks to me but I’m an indie newbie so there may very well be something I’m missing.

    I also had a stray thought re: Hachette, as in ‘Yippee, we got their pre-order buttons!’ We just need to clean them up some and they’ll work fine. 🙂

    • Is this guaranteed to be a problem, though? I don’t remember what it’s called when writers ask readers to buy a book on a particular day, but couldn’t that also happen with pre-orders, too? “Fans! All of you pre-order my book on Tuesday.”

      Granted, though, only the more established writers would benefit in that scenario.

      For now I’m assuming that all the terms and conditions are “beta,” and will change when things get rolling.

    • Based on the wording on the site, it sounds to me like although they will report your preorders to you, they won’t register as actual sales until release day. Wouldn’t that have the benefit of accumulating preorders onto the sales figures for the release day – and thus increasing ranking?

      • There are some titles published by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer in the top 100. I’m wondering if these are an example of how this system will work for indies.

        Would be nice if so. 🙂

        (Edited) ~ Aithne

      • The way pre-orders work now is that your book begins to run a ranking based on pre-orders as sales from the moment it becomes available as a pre-order. So if you sell 10 pre-orders a day for a month before release, and then you sell 100 additional copies on release day, your sales ranking on release day will be based on 100 sales, not on 400 sales.

        HOWEVER, you will have run a sales ranking based on 10 sales/day for the 30 days previous. Plus ranking is based somewhat on sales velocity over time; I’m not sure how to figure that in.

        I see nothing in their wording to suggest that this has changed.

        My impression is that midlisters who need as many sales as possible on release day/week in order to hit an Amazon genre list are better off not using pre-orders, because they will dilute the release week sales. Bestsellers who will hit the Amazon genre lists without breaking a sweat and who are aiming for the USA Today or NYT are more likely to benefit from them.

        • I was wondering about this. I’m not sure it would have been beneficial to my book; I think release week sales and cracking sub-genre top 100 lists are the reason it’s done fairly well so far. Maybe having those spread over 90 days beforehand would have prevented that bump and left it invisible… or maybe things would have gone even better. I’m very interested in following this discussion.

        • Yep, that’s exactly my take too Amy.

      • I’ve heard the algorithms favour steady sales over concentrated spikes.

    • Whereas when your sales don’t make the ranking lists at all, I’m thinking a pre-order button can only help.

  7. If I have a finished manuscript, I don’t want to wait an additional ten days. I want to publish it NOW.

    I’m not sure I understand. How would pre-orders do you any good at all if you wanted to publish immediately?

    For the record, I’m wondering if the window will shorten for indies who consistently deliver. Or, is this a customer service issue? Perhaps it takes up to to 10 business days to give refunds through the different possible banks the customer could be using?

    • Amazon wants the final manuscript delivered ten days before the scheduled release date. I’m guessing this is to make sure it meets their conditions prior to publication, among other things. And you’re right, pre-order is pretty much useless if you want to publish immediately. The point I was making was that it would be nice to accept pre-orders during the window between first draft and final copy, but having to push the release back ten days to meet the terms of service defeats the purpose. If an author doesn’t mind the delay, then I’m sure they’ll love pre-order. For me, ten days extra is too long. Unless, of course, they let me release it before the release date. Their policy does not yet address that issue (at least not that I’m aware of).

      • The way I understand it is that the author picks a publication date and uploads a draft. Then, at least 10 days before the publication date, the final draft goes up so Amazon can do a QC check.

        I don’t think there’s another 10 day cushion.

      • I get it now. Sanity check — did you delete an earlier post? I am also seeing comments that weren’t there earlier, and some of them seem to be out of order in the time stamps.

    • I’m guessing but maybe the potential loss of 10 days of sales would be counterbalanced by the oomph you would get from having those 10 days of sales report on one day. Will probably help push you higher into the lists.

      • Not all indies are self-publishers.
        This will be a useful to micro-presses and coops for coordinating launch campaigns.

        • This is what I was thinking. What a huge boon to small presses!! 😀

          I won’t use it as-is, because once my book is ready and edited, it needs to go on sale and start earning its keep. But this is fantastic for small presses who use KDP!

          • I’m with Libbie – I don’t foresee using it anytime soon, but there may be an occasional exception. Most of my stories need to hit the streets as soon as they possibly can…but, I can see where it could be useful.

            It’s nice to have that option, and if I ever get into a position that I can write something serialized, or be certain that I’ve got a release date in the future, it’s nice to know that it’s there!

            Sorry if I seem a bit frazzled. I just finished writing a 41,000-word novel in a month and a half, and I took the day off. My mind needed a break!


      • Presumably there would be ten days of preorders off setting those ten days the book wasn’t truly available for sale, unless the conversation rate isn’t one to one. I think overall the ability to preorder would outweigh any negative effect of readers that don’t like to preorder titles.

        I have a novel just about ready and was planning on releasing it immediately, but I think I’ll set up a preorder for a month instead to get me over Memorial day weekend.

    • I don’t think Amazon will charge the customers until the ebook is delivered.

  8. Sweet! Now if they’ll just let indy books into Kindle Unlimited without requiring exclusivity…

  9. Interesting. I can’t decide if I would want to use this feature or not. Will there be a special “upcoming releases” category in the kindle store that readers may search? I could see that being a benefit to visibility.

    edit: nevermind. I see a “coming soon” under new releases.

  10. I’d love to use it in the future; this way, I can set the e-book to pre-order while dealing with Createspace to get the print version ready, so that maybe I can manage a simultaneous release. And get the marketing going. And so forth.

    • That is a good idea.

      • Agreed, THAT is a good idea!

      • We’ll actually have an ASIN and a landing page to plug in to advertisements, instead of “trust me, if you accept this ad, the book will be there!”

        And the ability to have the book show up the same day on all retailers, hard and soft cover… that would just be beautiful. No more reader emails saying “Why no nook? Why not a paper version?” Beautiful!

    • I’m excited because a pre-order page means you’re assigned an ASIN, in turn this means you can claim your book at ACX and get your narrator going on it.

      As with createspace paperbacks, you could have your audible audiobook release all on the same day to take advantage of the first 30 day sales. We all know the first 30 days of sales are the best. I would love to get spillover onto my audio.

  11. I’m glad the option exists. I didn’t like it that publishers got to do this and I didn’t. On the other hand, I’m not as slow getting the book ready as publishers are, so the benefit is pretty small to me. I’m about to release the next novel, but I think I’ll do it without the preorder option, especially since I want to give a price break to my fans before raising it to it’s proper level.

  12. Could be good, could be bad, is my take. Pre-order sales count toward rankings when they happen, so any initial sales/rankings boost you would have received will be spread over the time the pre-order is available = bad. However, since pre-order sales are counted for best seller lists on the day the book is released (this is why publisher love them, it’s effectively cheating), if you’re trying to hit some lists it’s a good option.

  13. Yippee! I think this might work well with my test of the Liliana Nirvana technique.


    Once I have 4 of my 5 titles ready to go, I could put them on pre-order while I’m working on the 5th title.

    :: must stop commenting on TPV and buckle down to writing ::

    • That’s my perennial problem as well. I find it helps to have a dedicated “shut off your wifi, you bloody idiot” time first thing in the morning.

  14. I am so happy about this. That’s all I can get out, other than YAY!

  15. I think this is fantastic! The advance time can be used to coordinate marketing ads and blog tours. This could have been done before, but without the ability to pre-order, some of the marketing momentum was inevitably lost.

    I love that Amazon is leveling the playing field for self-published authors again, regardless of their motivation.

  16. So, Amazon is treating me better than it treats Douglas Preston? Who says nothing good will come of this stand-off?

    • “So, Amazon is treating me better than it treats Douglas Preston?”

      I can’t help lol’ing at this. Even though I’m not sure I’ll do pre-orders because deadlines scare me and I hate sitting on a finished manuscript once it’s ready to go, it’s still nice to know we have the option.

      And another hole shot in the doom-and-gloomsayers’ prediction that Amazon will turn against the indies once they’ve disposed of the BPHs.

  17. Interesting. I think this might be a small message to BPH from Amazon, reminding them that Indies are a significant latent variable in the negotiations equation. Plus, it is a bit of a positive nod to Indies, perhaps in appreciation for their PR help during the negotiations. I hasten to add that was genuine and spontaneous on the part of most Indies, in my estimation.

    Whether pre-orders will help much is an open question, for most people. Yes, it helps your launch, but it may hurt post-launch sales, in as much as some of the pre-orders would have been bought later anyway. How that all shakes out would require a fairly in-depth understanding of Amazon algorithms, which are subject to change anyway.

  18. I think I’m gonna faint.

  19. I think the new preorder is a very positive step. It’s simply another option for indies. If an author doesn’t like it, he/she doesn’t need to do it. The great thing is–it’s not reserved only for KDP Select. Actually, I’m surprised at that. But happy that it’s not.

    I will upload my drafts (which are very close to final product) for preorders. While the book is being edited/proofed, my loyal readers can be buying the product. The 10-day cushion after uploading the final manuscript doesn’t bother me. People can still buy the book, so I’m not losing sales during that time.

    We indies are always experimenting with pricing and marketing tactics to see what works best. I’ll be experimenting with this as well. For example, I could offer my readers a preorder discounted price.

  20. Yay! I’m glad Amazon is now offering the option. That said, I probably won’t use it, because pre-orders dilute one’s release-day sales ranking. Some authors sell so well that it makes no difference, but I’m not one of them.

  21. I’m not sure that this has anything to do with Hachette. Some indies have had this ability for a long time I’d have to check when I first became aware of it, but think it has been at least 6 months. My assumption at the time was that although it was by invite only that it was a beta they’d open to everyone if it worked out which apparently it has. I guess it is possible that they might have adjusted the timing of opening it up for everyone based on the Hachette.

    • I think you’re right, and that the timing is coincidental. They’ve been working toward this for a while, going by the beta rollout.

      And really, it would’ve been hard not to have this hit during the Hachette dispute, since that’s been going on for, what, a few years now?

    • It may have been scheduled for today sometime last year. But it’s great fun to ask Preston if it’s OK for one of us to have a preorder when the other doesn’t.

      They restored Preston’s preorder button. They just gave it to a single mother who works in the accounts payable section of a giant insurance company and writes romances after the kids go to bed at night.

      Click, click, click…

  22. I just got the email after reading this post. I’m really curious to see how this pans out. I can’t see it harming my current book releases, which often involve a tumbleweed rolling by anyway.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the HNR list though. Are all the pre-orders going on there?

    I think it’s pretty cool that Amazon have given authors this option. I’m sure some people will benefit greatly from it.

  23. This is a big deal. Knowing how many people will preorder your book is the second most important thing a writer needs to know (the most important thing is their email addresses). Every indie writer who has a new release list mailing should do this for the next ebook:

    Before you announce it anywhere else, send the preorder link to the list. You need to know how many of your fans you can count on.

    If you write series, you have some obvious promo opportunities. Reduce the price of book one (or two, if one is permafree) during the preorder phase.

    If you get really efficient in your story production pipeline, you could have always have a book available for preorder. I think that would be an excellent way to keep readers hooked. I would love to be able to finish a book and be able to click on a preorder link for the next book in the series. Maybe its my ADD, but the apparently random delivery of an ebook that I love to my Kindle is better than Christmas for me.

    • Hey, William, have you ever thought about side-lining as a project manager? I know a lot of indies who could benefit.

    • I could see, for a series, that it would be a big draw for me. I’ve pre-ordered books by Pratchett and Fforde six months in advance, (and the Prince Valiant hardcovers, when I could afford them), because then I didn’t have to leave a reminder around.

  24. Oh, gee, one less thing for people to b**** about.

    Me likey.


    This is pretty fun. I tend to release very quickly after I have a complete manuscript, anyway (my editors tend to be quick on the draw and I work like a dog while I’m in edits… 12- and 15-hour days are the norm) but this is still fun and awesome.

  26. PG, I think you have a wonky plugin. Each time I replied to James N. Cook, my reply was split off from his original, and possibly one of his comments was lost (the reply isn’t threaded as usual). Same thing with my “testing” comments, I was replying to myself in each case.

    It looks like other replies are being broken off from the original comments (for example, I think Libbie at 5:20 was replying to Felix at 3:22). Plus, Felix at 3:22 is appearing after my 5:50 comment, which I made in reply to James. Is anyone else seeing this?

  27. [squeals] <Been doing that since I saw the news on Facebook about an hour ago. =)

    I AM SO HAPPY we now have pre-order capability on Amazon. So, SO happy.

    I'll be testing it with Book #4 of my UF series in the next two months. =)

  28. I’m excited. And just submitted my draft for pre-order. Having a deadline is a little daunting, but that gives me a target.

  29. I’d say this is being used in the Hachette dispute.

    A pre-prder for independents is an upward pressure on independent sales.

    More opportunity for sales can easily result in more sales. So, independent pre-orders are likely to increase independent market share, and decrease publishers’ market share.

    The pre-orders also give a ranking push on release date. That gives independents another incremental upward pressure on sales.

    Market share competition is always a zero sum game. That is the situation with the competition between the independents and publishers.

  30. I’m very happy about this. I’ve been using preorders to make sure everything comes out on the same day (because iTunes, and sometimes Kobo, takes forever). Now I can also have Amazon preorders at the same time as the other sites! I sincerely doubt it will make any difference in my sales as they are teeny tiny, but tomorrow I will upload my new book–the one that’s already available for preorder at Smashwords, iTunes, and Nook–to Amazon. And then I will tell my fans to preorder it at all the places.

  31. Wow, I take the afternoon off and look what happens. I should do this more often, maybe more good things will happen. 🙂

  32. Keep in mind that if you promise delivery on a date certain and miss it, you will be locked out of Preorder Land for one year. Rather draconian rules!

  33. I just took advantage of preorder at KDP for my upcoming new release, which is due out in September. I doubt it will do anything for sales, because it is a book in a series that is a low seller (10K total).

    I offered preorder through B&N iBooks, and Kobo a few weeks ago, so will for Amazon now since my Amazon readers complained, wanting to know why they couldn’t preorder. I said that as a lowly indie, I didn’t have the right.

    Glad that Amazon had this in the works, but from what I understand, it doesn’t help you in the ranks on release day like it does at B&N and iBooks. I wish Amazon would change that policy.

    It may help gauge interest in my new release. We shall see.

  34. I can’t see myself giving up that splashy opening weekend box office (in movie parlance) for some fancy schmancy pre-order button. I also dislike having a concrete deadline. That’s one of the reasons I’m my own publisher. I can publish whenever I want.

    So, yeah, this is nice of Amazon and all, but I’ll probably never use it, unless I already have books finished and wanted to space out their publications, or have some grand plan for a new series … or something.

  35. Indie preorders aren’t a surprise. Neither is the similarity of Amazon’s proposed new Hachette terms to KDP’s existing retail splits and price thresholds. Coop programs that self-publishers can participate in right alongside the Big 5 are next.

    Indies and Big Five publishers selling head to head against each other on a level playing field is inevitable. Why?

    Because Amazon is a tech company.

    They aren’t leveling the playing field to be “nice” or “fair.” They are doing it to achieve maximum business efficiency.

    That’s what successful tech companies do.

    With all books treated the same algorithmically, and supplying the same profit margins, Amazon can optimally grow the pie, increasing total spend on books by satisfied customers.

    They are moving in that direction as fast as they realistically can. They are still stuck working around a rat’s nest of byzantine one-off agreements (or five-off agreements 😉 ) with their biggest suppliers which tie their hands and hurt their profitability. But now that Amazon’s other ebook suppliers (indie self-publishers and small presses) have grown in market share to dwarf the Big Five’s contribution, the Big Five’s special snowflake supplier status is being phased out.

    It’s what tech companies do:
    1) Streamline the business rules
    2) Automate the supply chain
    3) Scale the whole thing up

  36. I think this an excellent new program, especially for writers who have series. I’m in the process of writing Book 4 for the Vlad V series and posting this book ahead of the release date will give more credibility to the entire series. Also, as one marketing advice stated, price the new book at $0.99 or until the book is released, ramp up some sales. Of course each one of us should be diligent at meeting the release date. I for one will not offer the book until it is in editing phase.
    I’m optimistic that this will bring good results.

  37. Getting Pre-order is awesome. I don’t know if it will help me, but I love that I can do it and Hachette can’t. Not to be snarky, but because of how badly they treat authors. Now, even more trad-pubbed authors will move to Indie and the industry gets even better.

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