Offering pre-orders on new releases is widely regarded as a useful marketing tool, so much so that indie authors were thrilled last fall when Amazon started letting all authors use it in KDP. Now Smashwords and Apple have gone one better.
Last week Apple and Smashwords independently announced that authors and publishers could now set up a pre-order for a book just by filling out the metadata.
Authors will no longer have to submit the cover image and text of an ebook when creating that pre-order, thus freeing them to plan a release as soon as a book has been finalized rather than waiting until it is completely finished. All that is required for a pre-order is the basic metadata: title, author, book description, genre/category, etc. And even those details don’t need to be set in stone; they can be changed prior to launch, and the release date itself can also be shifted.
The pre-order can be set for up to a year in advance. To make use of this feature at Apple, you'll need iTunes Producer. For Smashwords, you can find more info on its website.
In the case of Apple, The Book Designer noted that:
Files must be submitted at least 10 business days prior to the scheduled release date to ensure they pass review and are available to customers on the expected date. If the final files are not submitted in time and the release date passes, your book will fall off iBooks. This may also prevent you from setting up pre-orders without files in the future.
image by ccharmon