A few days ago, Smashwords announced it was launching a new pre-order system for indie ebooks. Smashwords now joins Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo, and Google in offering a system for readers to order their favorite digital books in advance. The big question is ebooks have infinite copies available, so are book lovers actually pre-ordering books, or just buying them when they come out?
Rarely do the major digital book resellers release statistics on the amount of pre-orders a single title receives. Obviously, it is a system that gets some use, but there are seldom any advantages of ordering it in advance. Most movies, music albums, and video games normally gives a slew of bonus content when you pre-order. If you order an album in advance, you normally get a bonus track; video games give you extra equipment or even new levels. Retailers give discounts on movie tickets when you pre-order a DVD or Blu-Ray, or even a bonus disk. All three of these also allow for early shipment, which means you can have it shipped out before the actual release date. eBooks, on the other hand, never give any type of bonuses at all. You would be hard pressed to get a coupon for some savings on purchasing your next title and books never give out bonus content. Also, when you order a book before the release date, there isn’t even any cost savings, so where is the allure?
If online retailers really want customers to order more books in advance, they need to roll out features that make it worth the readers’ while. Let’s hear it from our readers, do you pre-order books? If not, what types of incentives and features would help sway you?
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.