Amazon Expands Pre-order Buttons to All KDP Authors
With no fanfare or official announcement, earlier today Amazon quietly gave indie authors a sales feature some had been requesting for the past several years.
According to a new page in the KDP help section, authors and publishers who distribute their works through Amazon’s publishing portal can now elect to put their next work up for pre-order. Amazon asks them to first upload a draft copy of the work, and promises that Amazon will "publish a product detail page for it within 24 hours of approval". It’s not clear what Amazon means by approval, but I have confirmed with an author that this is for real.
Pre-order buttons were one feature that many indie authors wanted but few had – in KDP at least. While this option had long been available in iBooks, Amazon had restricted the option in the Kindle Store, limiting it to publishers and a select handful of indie authors.
But not anymore. Now Amazon has extended a much-wanted feature to KDP authors, giving them a way of boosting sales. To those outside the industry pre-order buttons might not look like much but they serve several purposes. For example, Hachette was used the pre-order buttons in the Kindle Store for their sales forecasting, so when Amazon took disabled the buttons Hachette last a valuable source of market info.
What’s more, Mark Coker showed in Smashwords’s last survey that pre-orders can significantly boost sales. One indie author even hit the iBooks best seller list based on pre-orders alone.
But as good as this news is, I have to agree with my source. he suggested that Amazon might have an ulterior motive:
Expert troll job. Amazon gives all self-published authors a pre-order option: https://t.co/v275NuYRTV
— Evil Wylie (@EvilWylie) August 14, 2014
Evil Wylie is obliquely referring to the ongoing contract dispute between Amazon and Hachette. As you might recall, in late May Amazon disabled the pre-order buttons which it was no longer obliged under contract to provide to Hachette.
This raised a hue and cry at the time, and now Amazon is extending the feature to indie authors. I do believe that Amazon is using this marketing option to serve a dual purpose; it helps indie authors sell more, while at the same time it drives home the point that Hachette still doesn’t have pre-order buttons restored.
I do believe in coincidences, but not this one.
Greg Strandberg August 14, 2014 um 4:07 pm
Wow, great news! I’m not sure anyone will use my preorder button, but gosh darn, I think I’ll throw one up anyways!
StevH August 14, 2014 um 4:08 pm
Wow…this is huge for self-pubbers. Love seeing the playing field get closer to level for independents.
Syn August 14, 2014 um 4:42 pm
I guess we should thank Hachette for making Indies even stronger. Bang up jobs guys!
AD Starrling August 14, 2014 um 6:37 pm
Agree. This is too much of a coincidence for it not to be a very serious dig at Hachette. But I ain’t complaining 😀
fjtorres August 14, 2014 um 6:39 pm
One common reaction among indies to the Hachette authors' whining about pre-order buttons was "so,what? We never had them."
So, sure, Amazon extending the option to indies sends a clear message: perks like pre-order buttons are for partners in good standing, not stonewalling colluders.
Inglath Cooper August 14, 2014 um 7:24 pm
Wooo-hoooo! I love Amazon!
Penelope August 14, 2014 um 9:13 pm
This is awesome! It gives me the push I need to set a publish date for my upcoming romance novel and get that pre-order button. I love the fact you can set it up and allows customers to order your book 90 days before release! I’m going to take advantage of this offer, before they change it again.
Chris @ Publishing Hero August 15, 2014 um 12:14 am
Great news to wake up to (on my side of the world, anyway).
"Within 24 hours of approval" presumably means 'once your book’s content has been screened for compliance of the ToS.
Also, authors: the help page dictates the need to have the final version up 10 days before it goes on sale – not sure why they need 10 days (3 days seems about right), but it’s worth factoring into your planning.
Angela Booth August 15, 2014 um 1:17 am
I LOVE this. It’s brilliant. The only quibble I have is that I now need to rearrange my publishing deadlines, not only for clients' books, but also for my own. Happy, dance, happy dance… 🙂
Felipe Adan Lerma August 15, 2014 um 9:12 am
Agree with AD Starrling above, "…too much of a coincidence for it not to be a very serious dig at Hachette. But I ain’t complaining." (smiles – also)
I’d planned on trying my first pre-order setup with my current WIP via iTunes etc, now I can co-ordinate the two.
This also shores up the regular KDP store vs Kindle Unlimited, so this might also be an effort to keep the former from tanking via KU’s draw on readers. But that’s just a guess of course 🙂
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