On Pre-Ordering

I used to love pre-ordering things: books, DVDs, even games (but never music though, I can actually wait for albums to come out), but now I’m a little bit more wary of pre-orders. And this has possibly come about after I pre-ordered my copy of Isla and the Happily Ever After all the way back in April. Yeah, April. That got me to thinking: when is it too early to pre-order something?
Another thing that I’d been itching to pre-order is Only Lovers Left Alive on DVD, which won’t be released in the UK until the 15th next month. Obviously that isn’t too far away now, but the pre-order was announced in about May because the DVD was released in the US on the 11th of this month (I think). Now this just strikes me as weird. Why? Because the film was released in cinemas in the UK first, but we’re still getting the DVD later. I just want it now!
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Ah, this is where my problem lies: money. I’m a student who is particularly terrible with money. I mean, really bad. The amount of times that I’ve gone broke in the past year is pretty alarming because I like spending money so much. One of the things I like about online shopping is that the store doesn’t take the money out of your bank account until your things are dispatched, which is good in case you need to cancel your order (or you get jerked around like I did one time). However, this is where I’m more hesitant with pre-orders. With my order for Isla, I had to leave an appropriate amount of money for months until the book was actually dispatched on the release day. I’d always thought that if you pre-ordered something, you’d get it on the actual release date, but that only happens if the store you’re ordering from does that, or you go into an actual physical shop and buy it in person (I did that with Beck’s album Morning Phase, but mainly because I was at uni the day it was released).
Even though I’ve been pre-ordering books and DVDs less and less these days, there are only one thing that I will continue to pre-order: cinema tickets. Whenever I go to the cinema, I prefer to book my ticket in advance because I like to sit in the exact same seat every single time. For spur-of-the-moment cinema trips I book the day before, but if it’s a film that I’ve been waiting for absolutely ages for, I’ll book my ticket the day the bookings are available, which is usually a week or a few days before (I’ve done this for Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel, and Godzilla). But obviously that’s different because once a seat in the cinema is taken, you’re not going to be able to get it. Booking in advance is the best way to get the seat you want. When The Avengers came out two years ago, my friends and I made the mistake of going on the first Tuesday night after it was released (Tuesday is saver day at my local cinema), and we didn’t book our tickets online so we went down and the only seats left were at the very front. I always refuse to sit at the front because it hurts my eyes really badly, so we had to wait two hours for the later show. Because of that, I always book tickets in advance.
As of right now, I’m really impatiently waiting on both Afterworlds and The Infinite Sea to come out (as well as OLLA), and I’m seriously debating on whether to pre-order them or not. It’s getting closer and closer to the release dates, so it actually seems better to just wait until I can go into a shop and physically buy them in person. I can wait. Not very patiently, but I can still wait.
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When do you think is too early to pre-order things online? Do you pre-order, or do you prefer to wait until you can buy it in person?


  1. 27/08/2014 / 11:03 AM

    I preorder a decent amount…it really depends on what book and what author it is. I'll usually preorder if it's a book that's coming out from one of my "auto-buy authors" or if I just have a REALLY good feeling that it's a book I'm going to love. But that's definitely backfired once or twice…like I preordered We Were Liars months in advance, and then I think I only gave it 2 or 2.5 stars.

    But I don't think that it matters how much in advance you preorder something. Like you said, since they don't charge you until they ship the item, you can always cancel if you end up changing your mind! If it's a book that I want really really badly, I've been known to preorder it almost a year in advance! Or, actually, in the case of Libba Bray's second Diviners book, I preordered it back in January I think because it was supposed to come out in May (I think?), but then it got pushed back a whole year, so by the time it comes out, I'll have had it ordered for like a year and a half! haha

  2. 27/08/2014 / 7:24 PM

    I always pre-order my books on The Bookdepository and pay with paypal, then the money get's removed immediately. I think that's easier because else I have to remind myself to keep enough money on there.

    I don't mind waiting for a bit longer for my pre-ordered books to arrive and I won't buy books in shops here (as they are more expensive then online), so then pre-ordering is still faster then ordering the book on release day.

    Also I love pre-orders and I don't think there's something as pre-order too early. I've already pre-ordered some books for early 2015. I usually only pre-order books from my favourite authors who's books I actually buy in paperback. I never pre-order e-copies, although that's mainly because while Kobo allows paying with paypal, they don't accept pre-orders with paypal.

  3. 30/08/2014 / 12:52 PM

    I have pre-ordered a couple of times, but TBD always dispatches them so late I don't see the use of it anymore. I'd rather wait a little and order it on the day of the release – or perhaps go to the stores to see if they have a copy. I also don't like to pre-order too early, because it's really something for me to buy the copy when I find it in the store, because I forgot I pre-ordered it already :p

  4. 31/08/2014 / 10:35 AM

    Being from the US, my experience is a little different because I shop primarily via Amazon and since I have Prime, the book comes the day of its release (sometimes even earlier!) I hate ordering from the Book Depository because they just take too long to ship, pre-order or no. The only time I've preordered from them is for Heir of Fire because I buy the UK covers of that series and figured pre-ordering is just easier since it'll ship out as soon as possible (and with TBD who knows when that actually is.)

    I don't think there's a time that's too early to pre-order. It doesn't make a difference as far as I know. But I do pre-order a lot because I know it helps authors. If it's something I know I'll buy, I'll order it head of time because then the authors have bigger first day sales and I know that helps them with their initial print run.

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