Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Hey, Matt? (Or anyone else, for that matter...)

How far in advance of the official release date do you typically get actual copies of the book in hand?

drw

12 comments:

Ann Weisgarber said...

Doug, you're getting close to your launch date!

I didn't get copies of Rachel DuPree until I went to London for the launch. I think Will had copies a few weeks before, but he didn't send them since I was able to come to London.

It showed up in the bookshops a few days after the release. Here in the States, amazon.com didn't stock it until September. From what I understand, I'm lucky it carries it at all.

Doug Worgul said...

Yep! 51 days and counting! Unfortunately a trip to London is not in the works for me. So I won't see them until Will sends them my way.

What caused Amazon to stock your book? Did MNW make that happen?

Great to hear from you, Ann. And thanks for your support, as always.

drw

Matt Curran said...

Hi, Doug

When the books were being printed overseas, authors were usually getting copies a couple of months in advance. Ironically, now they're being printed in the UK this has been reduced to a few weeks before the launch. I received mine on Monday (the book comes out 2nd Jan) but it's definitely worth the wait.

And fellow MNWers might be interested to know that the format of the hardbacks has now changed somewhat. The books a bit bigger now - bigger than the trade paperback-sized hardbacks of old. Gone are the standardised spines using the same style and font across all Mac New Writing titles. Now they look unique - the spine for The Hoard of Mhorrer borrows the same font as the front cover and uses part of the cover design (I'll post a photo of the book soon - promise!)

Do they look better? Well, I'm still very fond of the first book and the old imprint-look, but hell yeah - the new hardbacks look bloody good!

David Isaak said...

U S E A M A Z O N C A N A D A

(and other things I wish I'd known 18 months ago [the indulgence of European readers is begged])

Heya, Doug--

Mine was published on Sep 7, 2007, and the books arrived on my doorstep on Aug 21, 2007, so I got them about 2 1/2 weeks before pub date. (But I think printing ran a bit late on mine.)

Living in the US you will always be dealing with the vagaries of the international mails, so I wouldn't make any plans that are contingent on having the books in your hands. This is equally true if you order other MNW books from Amazon UK (which I routinely do). Sometimes they show up in a week. Sometimes it runs two months or even more. I have two copies each of BORDERLANDS and THE HERRING-SELLER'S APPRENTICE because I got a chance to pick up copies in person long, l-o-o-n-n-n-g before effing Amazon UK got them to my door.

But don't even get me started on the topic of Amazon US. They're a bunch of incompetent morons when it comes to books printed overseas.

In the case of my book, which had a pub date of September, they began allowing preorders in July. But they neglected to order as many books as even the preorders they had sold. Thus, many readers who had preordered as early as August didn't receive their books until the following February or March; and every month they received an e-mail asking if they wanted to continue to wait, or would prefer, hint-hint, to cancel their order. Given the fact the dollar was weak against the pound plus shipping costs, many people here in the US paid mucho dineero for my book, but didn't receive it for seven or eight months after they ordered it.

To make it even worse, in about November they deleted the ordering button and though the book wasn't out of print they replaced it with:

"This book is out of print, but you can buy used copies from the following sellers..."

Why did they do all this? Incompetence, possibly. But since the dollar continued to sag against the pound during this period, I think they were hoping that people would cancel their orders, thereby eliminating the need for Amazon to buy now-expensive books in pounds and deliver them at the dollar price they originally agreed to sell them at. Amazon US and I had a long correspondence about this, but they continued to insist that they just couldn't get copies--at a time when Amazon UK and Amazon CA and PacMac were still shipping copies.

I began advising people in the US who wished to buy the book to buy it from Canada (Amazon.ca). The shipping charges are a little higher, but the total price was usually lower. And Amazon Canada sold out their stock on hand and reordered at least twice while Amazon US was claiming they were "unable to obtain copies."

Your book is listed at Amazon US as "Sign up to be notified when this item becomes available," which I suppose is better than what they used to do (which was to sell as many copies in advance as possible, but only order about six).

By contrast, your book is already available for preorder at Amazon.ca for $15.72 Canadian, with a guarantee that preorders will get the lowest price if if the price declines before shipping. This is a far better arrangement than the half-assed arrangement Amazon US now offers.

Amazon Canada won't ship your book until about a month after pub date. But that's better than the 7 or 8 months or never that a lot of the buyers of my book experienced from Amazon US.

Were I you, I'd advise all my North American friends and family and anyone else you can reach in the Americas to order from Amazon.ca.

I have no clue how many US orders for my book were cancelled--probably permanently--because of the jerks at Amazon US. I'm sure it wouldn't have bought me a yacht. Probably the royalties I lost wouldn't even have bought me a good dinner. But it was embarrassing--I kept getting e-mails that said "I ordered your book months ago but Amazon keeps saying it isn't really available...didn't it get published after all?"

And I don't know about you, but I need all the readers I can get.

PS to Ann: Your book is still available at Amazon.ca (5 copies left), and they already have your paperback available for preorder. So screw Amazon US.

Ellie said...

From memory I think I had my author copies about two weeks before.

Eliza [not Ellie]

Ellie said...

Mightn't the UK Amazon be a good bet now, too, as we've become a third world currency?

Faye L. said...

I got my hardbacks about a week before that edition came out, and the paperbacks about a fortnight before.

Ann Weisgarber said...

David, thank you for your comment about Amazon.com. You said it far better than I could.

The entire experience with Amazon.com has been horrible, and like David, friends e-mailed me about the long delays in receiving their books. I was also embarrassed about the price -- $32 dollars plus shipping. As a result, I've encouraged everyone to go through Amazon.co.uk. Even with shipping it's about $10 cheaper, and in my case, most people have gotten their books within 7-10 days.

Then too, I'm appreciative that MNW in the UK has graciously published my novel and I'm for supporting the booksellers there. I've also encouraged people to consider buying it from Goldsboro -- our great supporter.

Amazon.ca has been okay but they delayed shipping for several months. Again, it was a tad embarrassing.

Fortunately, we're all learning from this experience. It's not MNW; it's Amazon.com.

Doug Worgul said...

Thank you all for your responses and helpful insights. I'm probably way too overeager. That's why I'm bothering all of you with these trivial questions, instead of Will.

A blessed Christmas to you all. Ho! Ho! Ho!

Doug Worgul

David Isaak said...

I'm sorry to hear that Amazon.ca is unreliable, too--they've always done well by me.

But you're right, Ann--it's not an MNW issue in either case; it's an Amazon problem. I've had problems getting other books from Amazon if they are published overseas.

Sorry to be the bearer of dismal tidings, Doug. On an up note, my experience with the distribution of my novel in the UK itself was excellent--available in the stores and from all the UK online sellers.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, a friend went to an indie bookstore in a nearby town in the US and convinced the owner to order several copies, insisting that they were bound to sell since I lived nearby. I gather this worked; that's how he got his copy, and bypassed Amazon altogether!

Ann Weisgarber said...

Doug, these aren't trivial questions -- we've all had them.

And David is right about amazon.ca. The books got there faster but in my case it was still a two-month delay. However, once they stocked copies, it has all gone well.

Matt, this is interesting news that the format of the books has changed. It's positive that MNW is not locked into tradition but is willing to try something different.

Tim Stretton said...

If there is a moral to this dismal tale of Amazon, it's surely to advise people to buy from Goldsboro instead.

Dave has put his money where his mouth is by supporting MNW from the start, and unlike Amazon you get to deal with a real person who's actually interested in the books. And they're always ready to host a launch party!

So let's all try and put some business Goldsboro's way in 2009...