Google+ YA Romantics: When Preorders Go Wrong

Thursday, April 28, 2016

When Preorders Go Wrong


Here is my one of my guilty secrets: I hate to preorder.  Yes, I understand why preorders are so important to authors: preorders get counted toward a book's first week of sales, giving that book a stronger chance of making a bestseller list.



But I hesitate to preorder because I've been burned by them SO many times. 

To me, a preorder is a statement about how someone feels about a book. Namely, they're really really excited about it. They want to read it as soon as possible. They have handed over their credit card information for it before it even comes out.

What I don't understand is how preorders go wrong for me so much of the time. If I preorder, I'd hope to get the book on its release day. Okay, maybe the very next day. But I don't preorder expecting to wait much longer than that. And I don't understand how a vendor runs out of that book if I've preordered. Um, there's a PRE in preorder.  "Pre" means “prior to.” “In advance of.” “Beforehand."

As in, "I knew there was a huge demand for this book prior to its release. In advance of its release. Before its release."

I can't believe the publishers are at fault. If a vendor were to call a publisher months before a book was released and say "hey there, we have huge demand for this title and want to be sure we can fill all our preorders," then I have to believe the publisher would be like "awesome - let us print some more copies so that you can sell as many of those babies as you can."

Here's what happened with my latest preorder:

1. I preordered The Raven King.

2. Amazon (ominously) never gave me an expected shipping or delivery date, even by noon on the day of the book's release. For future reference, that's a BAD sign.

Note:  I'm not suggesting that Amazon is the only vendor who does this. I've had similarly bad experiences with Barnes and Noble preorders...





3. Concerned, I went to Barnes and Noble on the book's release date. Around 11:30 am. The store opened at 9 am. Plenty of time to get those shelves stocked with lovely new books!

4. Not a single copy of The Raven King anywhere to be found.  Seriously?

5. I went on my phone to the B and N website and saw that my Barnes and Noble claimed to have copies. Where? Boxed up in the back? Do they not understand that there is a LIFE OR DEATH SITUATION INVOLVING GANSEY?  So I used my phone to request an in store pick-up and went across the street to Staples to buy some packing tape.

6. While at Staples, I got a text that Barnes and Noble was holding a copy for me! Hooray!


7. I went to pick it up and because I'm weird like that, re-checked the shelves. Five copies of The Raven King had suddenly appeared next to a few paperbacks of Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Under a sign that said "Teen Romance." Um ... really?

8. Canceled the Amazon order. 



9. Felt happy that there was apparently such demand for The Raven King, but incredibly frustrated that the bookselling industry can't manage to GET POPULAR BOOKS IN PEOPLE'S HANDS in a timely fashion. I think there must be a complete disconnect between what booksellers think that preorder means ("we will take your credit card number and then send you the book when we get around to it") and what consumers think a preorder means ( "I am REALLY interested in this book. I am telling you this weeks or even months early so I am sure to get a copy as soon as it comes out.")


Do I just have bad preorder karma or do you have stories of preorders gone wrong? Tell me in comments!

42 comments:

  1. That is incredibly frustrating!! I preorder but I am usually doing Kindle versions so this doesn't really happen to me. Still I don't understand how they can mess up a preorder. Like you said it is all advanced notice - get the copies out to the people!!! Glad it wound up working out for this time - even if it wasn't the original way intended!

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    1. I should probably do this. I just realized that my Raven collection is a mishmash anyway - two ARCs, one kindle book, and one hardcover.

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    2. Ha! That is exactly how my Raven books are too. I have the first as a signed ARC, the next one is Kindle, the third is hardcover and hopefully my fingers crossed the rest will be hardcover lol.

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  2. ahhh that sucks! I cannot believe they left you hanging on an emergency (lol). I've never pre-ordered a book that hasn't been released. It's kind of just not my thing...

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  3. Yeah, I don't often preorder either. I use to - when it took me over 30 minutes to hit a book store and I didn't want to pay for shipping but I always had issues with them coming in a timely fashion. Your whole day sounds exhausting and frustrating!

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    1. It's definitely frustrating. I usually end up paying a little less online, but the waiting is so annoying!

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  4. I have never had a problem with pre-orders (I use Amazon). In each case I've received the book on release day or even one or two days before.

    And yeah - that's what I would expect with a pre-order or else why bother??

    I started pre-ordering because my B&N NEVER has a book on release day. It usually takes 3-7 days for a book to show up there unless it's something like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. Even the big YA's don't appear right away.

    That must have been so frustrating and there's really no good reason for it to happen.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. I need your pre-order karma. I've had SO many problems.

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  5. yeah I had the same issue with this book too. I was surprised that they totally messed up with my pre order and yes i'm waiting for this book.

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  6. That is completely frustrating! I've not preorder much, only because it never works out right. I'm waiting, and it doesn't show up until much after the release date.

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    1. Why can't someone fix this system so it makes sense?

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  7. Amazon charged me twice for a preorder once, so I won't preorder again. I will wait, it's not like it won't be there on the date it releases so they can kiss my butt.

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    1. Ha - I'm with you on the preorders now.

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  8. I pre-ordered from Fountain and got it the day before it came out but had this happened to me, I would have been so mad, too! I can't believe Amazon is still out of TRK!!

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  9. I've only pre-ordered twice this year from The Book Depository. The first one (The Raven King) shipped before the release day, but then I saw that my pre-order for the other book was cancelled, but I never cancelled anything. I contacted them and they fixed the mistake, but it made me really mad, because that book was for someone else and I felt terrible that suddenly her pre-order was cancelled not for me. After this I'm not pre-ordering again.

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  10. I pre-ordered this - signed, thank you very much, to match the first 3 books. It arrived yesterday, just one day after release, and I was very pleased!

    Let me tell you about my fiasco with Blue Lily, Lily Blue. I pre-ordered from Fountain, Maggie pissed somebody off and the signed copies burned up or something when the UPS truck overturned or blew up. It was dooms day for the books. Then the publisher sent her the wrong book as replacements.. then she got the right books and had to sign them, and it was over 2 months after the release day before I received my book. So I'm just happy to have The Raven King in my little hands!

    So far, every time I pre-order from Amazon, they ship it whenever. Sometimes it's weeks later. I don't know what's up with that.

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    1. That's great!
      And what a crazy story!!

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  11. So I DO have a bad history with preorders, but I'm not sure if I can actually say that because I've only done it once?! But omg. GAH. I pre-ordered A Gathering of Shadows from a small independent Aussie book retailer. Which was fine. The website said it'd ship in 10 days (because I didn't preorder REALLY far in advance) and then...low and behold I got my shipping notification that it was TWO MONTHS AWAY. Like. No. Wut. NO. I went back to the website and it still said it was available to ship now. ERGH. Anyway. That's a different thing to yours, since yours is people being deluded enough not to think we ALL WANT GANSEY IMMEDIATELY. But also it's just really frustrated when a website tells you one thing and then changes its mind. :( Particularly for a highly anticipated book!!

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    1. Sometimes just one bad experience can sour you for good. I'm too optimistic, I guess. But after this, I'm done!

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  12. Good to know I'm not the only one who doesn't pre-order. If it's a book I HAVE TO HAVE on the release date, I'll just go to a bookstore and buy it. I don't like pre-ordering things and getting billed at a later date... I'll lose track of that and be like why are there 999 charges on my credit card??? I heard there was a lot of trouble with TRK and Amazon. They should have really had their act together on that one. I mean, HELLO?!!!? It's an amazingly freaking popular series!

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    1. I'm lucky that I live in a big city with a lot of bookstores, so I have options.
      Still I have no idea if they counted up the preorders and knew they were short, why they couldn't have printed more...

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  13. I also hate preordering because I never get the preordered book on time. That's why I don't preorder too often. But today, I did preorder the sequel to ACOTAR because Sarah J. Maas has become one of my favorite authors and Amazon apparently will deliver the book on the 11th of May (the book comes out on the 3rd!!!). So yeah, it's always the same and I am a little bit mad but what can I do? I live in Germany so I can't just go to my local book store and buy the book (they only have a small selection of English YA books at my local book store). So I just have to wait longer for my preordered book to arrive, as always.

    Anyway, great post!

    Andreea

    www.andiereads.wordpress.com

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    1. I know it's frustrating for those people who don't have a reliable bookstore. You really have no choice!

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  14. Oh my gosh, Jen! That's terrible. It must be certain high demand books that they didn't expect to be high demand or something. Amazon has always come through for me on release day and sometimes before release day. I've had a terrible time with B&N, like once ordering through them because I wanted their "Special Edition" and signed copy of a book and having to get it elsewhere (I had to read it for a read-along so couldn't wait) and then like two weeks later I got an email saying they had some in and if I wanted a copy. What?!!! So, I have been there with a different retailer (I checked the B&N by me too and they didn't have any). So, yeah, I think retailers and publishers need to work together better. I know sometimes there are issues when printing, so I'm sure things come up, but as readers and bloggers it's frustrating to say the least.

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    1. I do think the publishers and vendors seem to be more at odds than working together. It's crazy!!

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  15. This isn't the first time I heard about Amazon failing with The Raven King. That book is such a crazy hot seller! I like to pick up my most anticipated books up from the bookstore, just so I can control when I get it.

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    1. Agree - I usually go to the bookstore and I will do that from now on!

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  16. Wow, that sucks so much! Hopefully next time (if there is a next time) your prodder goes smoothly! I think I've only pre-ordered books twice? I usually never do, because I like to wait for the whole series to come out then binge read it :D And guilty secret- I've never read the Raven Boys because of above reason, but now that The Raven King is out, time to start! :)

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  17. Oh, wow, what a debacle, Jen... I don't preorder very often, so I can't really volunteer an opinion. On the few occasions that I did though - with Amazon and Amazon UK - I haven't had these sorts of troubles. It sounds like something of a sitcom almost! Totally unacceptable. But ... yay for Raven King, right? :) I just got it on Audible yesterday too!

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    1. Electronic seems like the way to go!

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  18. Holy crap, that is HORRIBLE! I totally agree with everything you said. Fortunately, I haven't had bad experiences with preorders because, well, I don't actually preorder very often, lol.

    Great post, Jen! And I really hope your preorder karma turns around--no booknerd should ever suffer through all that waiting and frustration. Do they not know we eat and breathe books? Get it together, book sellers! Lol

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    1. Yeah people who spend as much as we do on books should get some kind of VIP status. Or at least not get screwed over!!!

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  19. Oh man, I'm so sorry to hear that this went wrong for you - it's so terrible that you can PREORDER something and get it later than others who bought it afterwards! At least Raven King is now in your hands! TBH I never preorder books unless there's some freebie or bonus.

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one. I was feeling really guilty, like someone who doesn't recycle. (I do :)

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  20. I didn't preorder the book but I did go to Books A Million here in Statesboro, Ga and there were no copies anywhere!!!! This was a few days after The Raven King released. I looked everywhere in that store and I mean everywhere, then went to a manager and tried to figure out what was happening. Their computers said they had almost ten copies, however, there were none to be had. They looked in the back; still couldn't find them. They were apologizing profusely because I had a coupon that I had to use in the store, otherwise, I would have ordered that bad boy through the website. They told me to come back Thursday (tomorrow) and they should have found those missing copies and gained more. Really?!! I was very disappointed in Books A Million. Usually, they are my go to when I can't wait on shipping.

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    1. That's so aggravating. I hope you get your book tomorrow, Amy!

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  21. I don't really preorder because I only buy books once they are no longer a new release (because of money. I usually just wait until it is cheaper). On three occasions I have loved a series so much that I felt a need to preorder and luckily for me, the books arrived on release day. But if you do preorder, I think the book should arrive within two days of the release!

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