Let’s talk about book preorders and imagine if there was some sort of bonus to do so. A while ago I talked about whether we should preorder games, and since then I’ve wondered about something. Publishers usually have a collector’s edition or deluxe edition or whatever they called it for their games. These editions usually contact a few paraphernalia or memorabilia for the game in question and are limited in numbers. The Final Fantasy XV Ultimate Collector’s Edition, for example, comes with the Kingsglaive film, the Brotherhood anime, a special edition soundtrack, artbook, steelbook and in game bonus contents. So I was thinking, what if books did something similar? And I thought about how feasible such a thing would be.
What’s the Point of Preordering?
You might be wondering, what’s the point of preordering books? I could get it any time I want. Books don’t general go out of stock, unless you’re JK Rowling or someone like that. And why would authors have any preferences for preordering? They get my money all the same.
Authors actually do want people to preorder their books, and the reason is simple. Their first week of sales includes whatever they sold through preorders. It’s usually their best chance of cracking the top 10 New York Times bestsellers list, barring a later surge in popularity usually brought about by a film release. Cracking the top 10 NYT bestsellers also usually translates to more sales as it gains more popularity. Therefore, in a way, preordering books is a good way to support your favorite authors.
And as for us readers? Why do we want to preorder books? To get the book as soon as possible so that we can avoid being spoilt by the Internet. Plus we can avoid having our bookstore running out of copies on us. Except for me, this doesn’t really apply. See, I live in South East Asia, in a state where not a lot of people read. Bookstores don’t usually have the latest books anyway and shipping costs me an arm and a leg. So I usually just wait and wait and wait for them to come, unless it’s something I really, really want to read ASAP.
What’s the Point of this Post?
What if book preorders were done the same way as games? What if there was a Collector’s Edition or a Deluxe Edition? Imagine preordering Heir of Fire and getting a replica of the Amulet of Orynth. Imagine preordering Stormlight 5 (or whichever book is going to be Szeth’s) and getting that cardboard cutout of Szeth that Sanderson gives away in his talks. Imagine if they included special covers or deleted scenes or even annotations. That would certainly incentivize people to preorder. I for one would jump at the opportunity to order something like that, especially from my auto buy authors.
But at the end of the day though, I doubt publishers would do something like that. First of all, it would cost them extra to do something like that. Author names are usually enough to generate enough preorders and first week sales. Secondly, they kind of already do this. Usually with anniversary editions or limited print runs of bestselling books but there are instances where they do preorder bonuses, usually in the realm of Young Adult. For example, Heartless gives away free magnets while Empire of Storms gave away color pencils and a notebook.
I would love to know your thoughts about this. Would you preorder more often if this kind of things are introduced? Do you think it’s a good idea? What sort of items would you like to see included in a collector’s edition if this was a thing?
Empire of Storm
– Amulet of Orynthus and Damaris necklaces from Cadsawan Jewelry
Mistborn: the Final Empire
– “Special Cover” is the 10th Anniversary Cover from Gollancz
– Allomantic Table Poster, Vial of Metals and Vin Shirt from the Brandon Sanderson Store