Posted by NEIL JOHNSON on

Why preordering helps you, helps us, and helps the publishers & creators...

Making and selling a book is complicated for all involved – even more so with paper shortages, shipping delays, and all the rest of the supply chain fun. But in the best of times it works like this: creators and publishers make the book and solicit it to stores. We have a couple months to figure out how many copies we want. Then we hit a point called "FINAL ORDER CUTOFF" (FOC) which is the last day we can be guaranteed to get copies we order. Then the publisher takes all those orders and decides how many copies to print. Often there is also a "reorder penalty" cost we avoid if we order by the FOC, so it's in our best interest to order what we need then.

But ordering books is really complicated, especially for comic shops because those books aren't returnable if they don't sell. A shop's goal is to order exactly what we need. Order too few and you are losing potential money. Order too many and you are losing actual money.

This is where the need for preorders come in. What the preorder does is 3 things...

  • First, it guarantees you a copy in case the book sells out. Yay!
  • Second, it helps us gauge demand for the book and gives us insight on how many copies to order. A lot of shops calculate their orders based on preorders, knowing that every person that comes in early to ask for a book could mean X amount of customers coming in when the book finally releases. Because most people don't preorder, what that "X" is varies from shop to shop; but we've spoken to places where it was 1, 5, 10 – even 20 copies. So your calling, emailing, or stopping by to order a book before FOC doesn't just mean one more copy ordered, it can sometimes mean 20 more!
  • And lastly it helps publishers set the print run. Why does that matter? Because each time you have to reprint a book it costs a lot of money. It's much cheaper to print 5,000 books once than to print 1,000 books 5 times. So if 5,000 people want the book but they only guess that 1,000 people want it, they lose a lot of money.
So preordering helps you get your book, helps stores save money and assess demand for the book, and it helps publishers set print quantities, make more money, and avert the costly need for reprints. It's a win/win/win!

And luckily preordering a book is so easy: just call 727-398-2665, email, message 727-378-2410, or stop by – before the comic or book's FOC date – and ask us to order you a copy!

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