Book Pre-order Headache

Avoid delivering a book pre-order headache to your reader and end consumer!


Here at The Cadence Group we spend a lot of time working with our clients on developing strategic online book marketing plans. This includes working with them on their Amazon page, Amazon Author page, Book Reviews, eBooks and a myriad of other different marketing plans and programs.


One thing that we are always confident in – and committed to – is that we work with authors who want to market their books with integrity for both their program and their reader.


I can’t say this is necessarily the case with some major book publishers today. And I can’t say that it’s the case with some of the smaller presses and self-published books either. But it’s some of the major book publishers that definitely know better and are causing me grief in my personal reading life.


While on a flight home (a long flight home) in to the wee hours of the morning, I was excited to have three new books from favorite authors on my Amazon Kindle. I love the emails I get that say XXX Title has been delivered. I get so excited to download new books that I may have pre-ordered 3-6 months ago.


Three books seemed like a good plan. I had a 4:45 flight and lots of time to settle in and check out.


Here’s the problem and where my book pre-order headache kicked in: two of the three books were re-issues of old books. Same title (that’s probably my fault) but different ISBN. Even worse, because it was a different ISBN, Amazon allowed the sale to go through. I was stuck with two books that I had already read AND that I already owned.


I work in book publishing. I understand the need to market and sell books. That’s how authors and publishers get paid. That’s how readers hear about new authors (well-known and not). That’s what drives us to seek out new books and try new stories.


What does frustrate me is the complete disregard for the end consumer. I would be upset if this was the first time it had happened and if this were my first book pre-order headache. However, this is a nasty and growing trend in eBooks. I regularly pre-order books from my favorite authors based on their “new release” date. I’ve read a lot of books in my lifetime and often own an extensive backlist of certain authors. Forgive me if I don’t remember each individual and specific title.


When I see a book with a new pub date, I think it’s a new book. Especially in fiction. Because I’ve been “surprised” recently, I now move to the description to see if it’s a book that I recognize. The description is always about the “new release” and has been changed from the original book description of the previous titles.


I know enough about the book publishing business to understand that many of these decisions are out of the author’s control. Some of these decisions are the result of authors getting the eBook rights back for their backlist. Many of these decisions are made with only the bottom line in mind without any thought to the book pre-order headache that the buyer might experience.


I’m not sure what, if any, checks and balances exist to prevent this. But I do know that I’m steadily checking authors off my list that I will never pre-order a new book from. That’s disappointing to me as a reader and I know it has to be disappointing to authors and publishers who count on these sales.


The moral of this story: Integrity goes a lot further than a “quick fix” to bump sales. Readers remember. And memories can last a very, very long time.


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