Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde

Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde
Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 10: Freeground Will Be Available Through Amazon But Not For Pre-Order

With Broadcast 10 becoming available through many retailers for pre-order, the question has come up: When will it become available on Amazon?

The news is both good and bad.

First, the good news. Spinward Fringe Broadcast 10: Freeground will be available through Amazon in EBook form and print on January 28, 2016.

The bad news: There won't be any Pre-Orders with Amazon. There are excellent reasons for this, and I'll explain in detail. First, I'll offer the short explanation: Amazon has decided to offer a Pre-Order feature that does not benefit authors and is different from all other major retailers in a critical way, so I can't participate.

Here's the more lengthy explanation for everyone who would like the details.

Normally, when an author or publisher sets up a book for Pre-Order, customers can opt-in to buy the book the moment it becomes available, and the author receives no money in advance of the release date. In fact, most retailers don't charge the customer for the book until it's out. This is a perfect, fair way to do business and we authors love it. Balance and simplicity.

When the release date comes along you, the reader, get the book and the retailer gets to charge you for it. The authors and publishers get the sales posted to their accounts so they'll get paid. This is also when the book sales are tallied for the charting systems that track where your book ranks on the site, so you see a nice boost towards the top 100 if you sold a lot of books. This is the way it should be, with the charting system only tracking actual book sales and everyone benefiting from the book getting a bit more notice according to how well it's selling. As it rises in the charts it gets momentum from more people noticing it, buying it, and so on until things settle down and the book sinks back down to a regular place in the charts or even to *gasp* lower obscurity levels on the site. It's the natural process of releases that has been the norm in print for decades.

Amazon doesn't do things the same way.

As soon as a book is submitted and approved for pre-order on Amazon's site, people can order it as normal, and they'll get the book on the release date automatically. They are also billed on the release date as normal.

The difference is that - even though a sale has not happened, and you, the reader, do not have your book yet - Amazon counts every pre-order as a sale on their chart ranking system. So that completely eliminates one of the most important incentives for an author or publisher to list a book for Pre-Order because there is no large bump in sales on the release date thanks to readers getting their books, and sales being recorded. That bump is important, it can mean the difference between a book selling 500 copies and literally 5,000 copies or much more in that first month. Most books set up with Amazon's Pre-Order system never break the top 100 in their genre even when they crack the top 10 on every other retail platform.

A good example is Spinward Fringe Broadcast 9: Warpath. It hit number one in Science Fiction on the iBookstore, Smashwords, and cracked the top 10 on Kobo and Barnes & Noble. It didn't even come close to the top 100 on because those Pre-Orders were not counted on the day the book was released but for weeks leading up to the release, spreading the impact of that tool out so it was ineffective.

So, seeing yet another example of how Amazon is breaking a system that works well for everyone in the industry - something they've been known to do over the last few years - I'm not going to be offering a Pre-Order through them. If this was the only thing they did that minimized the effectiveness of tools that normally assist self published authors, I probably would offer a Pre-Order with them, but it isn't. They have been increasingly making things difficult for their small press and self published authors for years now, so I only work with Amazon when it is absolutely necessary.

The only reason why I'm sorry about not offering a Pre-Order through Amazon is that it affects readers. limiting your choices in how you want to buy the book. My advice is to subscribe to this site to keep track of what's going on so you don't miss a release.

If Amazon fixes their record keeping for Pre-Orders, I'll definitely start offering Pre-Orders through them again, but I don't see that happening any time in the near future, that's just my opinion.

Thank you very much for seeking my books out and supporting me. I hope you subscribe to the blog because there is some ground breaking news coming very soon.


[Here's a link to the Pre-Order Post if you'd like to Pre-Order through another vendor.]

1 comment:

chris drummond said...

Thank you for explaining that i understand now and will preorder it on one of the other sites