Pre-Ordering and Launch Dates

Well, it was a very busy day on the book front yesterday. The talented Robert Rotenberg, author of a great mystery/police procedural, Old City Hall,  offered to blurb my book, and we spent some time back and forth getting introduced to each other. I was  also back and forth with my editor all day about the cover (still tweaking the font) and pre-order information. Pretty darn exciting to find out that your book is already available on the Internet even though the actual publication date is some six months off!

The Beggar’s Opera can be found right now on  Chapters and Amazon.  It can also be pre-ordered through local bookstores and online retailers. You could buy the book direct on Penguin’s website but they don’t offer the same deep discounts that Amazon and Chapters do. (My book, for example, has already been discounted from $ 24.00 to around $ 18.00 on those two websites and it’s not even published yet!)

One good reason to buy it from the booksellers instead of the publisher is that the former report their sales to Booknet, the Canadian book industry’s point of sale reporting system. The information in that system feeds bestseller lists, so the more copies that are sold through retailers, the more sales show up on Booknet, and the closer a book comes to hitting the bestseller lists.

There are a number of different dates that come into play in determing a launch, I learned yesterday as well. There’s the date that books are shipped, the date the book hits the shelves and the date it hits the news media. These are staggered to make sure that books are actually available and on the shelves when the first reviews hit the press. Nothing more frustrating than running to a bookstore to look for an exciting book you’ve heard about and finding it’s not there.

Here’s an explanation of the various dates from my commissioning editor, Adrienne Kerr:

“A note about dates. We’ve set a ‘release date’ of January 27. (The day the stock releases from the warehouse and ships to retailers and wholesalers.) Our on ‘sale date’ is February 7. (The day by which retailers all across the country will have received their stock and placed it on shelves.) The on sale date follows the release date typically by eleven days so that stores in Toronto don’t get a head start on booksellers in BC.)”

Wow. It’s like following Canadian election results, where Ontario votes before BC does, only probably more fair.

The launch date, in terms of when we’ll have the actual parties in Toronto and Ottawa with food and music and books is yet to be determined, but I’ll let you know, and hey, you’re all invited!

Meanwhile, I’ll be watching the pre-order sales with interest, the same way I always watch the turnout at those advance election polls. When the advance polls are high, so are voting numbers usually. The higher the pre-order numbers, I’m guessing, the better the book will do in terms of sales. 

The pace is definitely picking up — I’ll keep you posted!

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