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Amazon KDP Schedule a Release vs. IngramSpark Pre-Order

Hoca

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Pre-order is when you make your book available for ordering prior to the official release date. Orders are accumulated where the book is being offered and then delivered—or available for immediate purchase by a shopper—on the day of release.

The period of time a book is available for pre-order depends on when it is submitted for distribution via a self-publishing platform such as KDP or IngramSpark. You cannot choose the date a book will appear in a store, only the date it becomes available for purchase—the release date.

The two most common methods for submitting a book for pre-order are KDP for the Kindle eBook edition and IngramSpark for print editions (paperback and/or hardcover).

So why is KDP Schedule a Release important?​


When Amazon closed CreateSpace in 2018, authors could no longer print their finished books before their release. Indie authors lost a valuable marketing tool, as they were using these finished books for pre-release giveaways and as advance reading copies. At the time, indie authors were not happy.

And after the transition to KDP Print, indie author/publishers couldn’t—and still can’t (more on this below)—predict with certainty when their book would be available for purchase. It can take as long as 72 hours for a KDP Print book to appear in the Amazon store.

You have a limited amount of time to build sales momentum, so even a few days’ delay can make a difference in some book launches.

The alternative? Print those finished books at IngramSpark. Groan. Another service to learn how to use, infamous for poor customer service, more expensive costs per book, more expensive shipping, and slower print and ship times.

On the plus side for IngramSpark, you are able to choose a specific release date and have your book listed for sale on Amazon and elsewhere before that release date. This period is referred to as the pre-order period.

KDP’s Schedule a Release is a new feature that lets authors schedule their print book’s release date up to 90 days in advance. After a book’s release date is scheduled, its Amazon details page will remain hidden until the selected publishing (release) date.

Schedule a Release doesn’t offer pre-order support. But for certain authors it’s a good solution because it solves two key issues:

  • Authors can print finished books before the book’s release date.
  • The date a book becomes available for purchase can be chosen with certainty.

Unfortunately, there’s a big catch. If you are using IngramSpark to offer your print book for pre-order, you can’t use Schedule a Release.

A book set for pre-release is technically released, and previously released books cannot use the Schedule a Release feature. (See resources below for other requirements.)

What books and authors might want to use Schedule a Release?​


We don’t see it being useful for authors running what we’d call a traditional pre-release marketing campaign.

Public relations professionals will tell you it is imperative that a print book shows as available for purchase weeks or months before the release date. The media, reviewers, and influencers expect this.

Pre-release (via IngramSpark, for example) is also necessary so you can create links to your book in the online stores and for new authors to create their Amazon author page via Author Central.

We believe the Schedule a Release feature is most helpful for authors with one or more of these characteristics:

  • They have more than one book. This makes them “established.”
  • They sell mostly on Amazon. As it is, the majority of indie books are sold on Amazon.
  • They sell as many or more Kindle eBooks as print books. This is certainly true for genre fiction writers. In fact, these are exactly the types of authors who may benefit most from being able to order finished copies before the release date. They also understand the importance of getting a full 30 days to build momentum for their new release before Amazon’s algorithm begins to lose interest (unless there are sales).

A possible work-around​


Let’s say you want to get finished copies of your book from KDP Print and you want to use pre-order at IngramSpark. Here’s what you might do, keeping in mind this appears to be technically permitted.

  • Submit your print book to KDP Print and choose a release date in the future. You can do this up to 90 days in advance.
  • Order the books you need. They will be less expensive than ordering from Ingram and will arrive faster (and in our experience, for less-expensive shipping as well).
  • Cancel your scheduled release. As of now, you can do this without penalty.
  • Set up your pre-order with IngramSpark.

On your release date, return to your book in KDP Print and select the Release Now option, and your release date. This can be done on your release date or anytime after. Doing so simply “turns off” IngramSpark’s distribution to Amazon, and your book will now be printed by KDP.

TIP: The release date is based on 0:00 GMT—London time. So if you are in California like we are, you can process the release of your book at or after 4 p.m. PDT on what is our day before the GMT-based date.

Resources​

AuthorImprints​

Amazon​


Before using KDP Schedule a Release, be sure to familiarize yourself with Amazon’s current rules.


It’s also helpful to understand their current processing timelines

 
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