A note on publication dates

There are a lot – a lot – of good books coming out this summer,  and since I have the dubious pleasure of working at a bookstore, knowing published authors, and wanting to be one myself, I was reminded of something that is important to said authors. Very important, even.

First, the awesome books coming out in the next few months:

July 5
GRAVE DANCE (Alex Craft #2), Kalayna Price (@kalayna)
HAMMERED (Iron Druid Chronicles #3), Kevin Hearne (@KevinHearne)
NAKED CITY: TALES OF URBAN FANTASY, edited by Ellen Datlow; featuring Jim Butcher (@longshotauthor), Patricia Briggs, Holly Black (@hollyblack), & Melissa Marr (@melissa_marr)

July 26
GHOST STORY (Dresden Files #13), Jim Butcher (@longshotauthor)
KILL THE DEAD (Sandman Slim #2), Richard Kadrey (@richardkadrey)

August 2
BASILISK (Chimera #2), Rob Thurman (@Rob_Thurman)

Books come out on Tuesday, unless you’re James Patterson, in which case, they come out on Monday because you’re a special snowflake. And some of these are going to be strict on sale, which means you can’t get them before their publication date. Mostly they won’t be, because most of them are straight-to-mass-market-paperback. Sometimes those will get SOS dates; more often they won’t.

Here’s where it gets hinky. Your local bookstore will probably get them in early. We got Gail Carriger‘s HEARTLESS (Parasol Protectorate #4) on Friday, but it wasn’t “published” until today. Hell, we got GRAVE DANCE today – a whole week early. But don’t buy them.

What I mean by that is that you should find out the official release date of your white-knuckled anticipation, and wait for it. Don’t buy GRAVE DANCE until July 6, and don’t buy BASILISK until August 2.

You ever notice how Stephen King has “#1 New York Times bestselling author” emblazoned on his books – all of them? And now so does Jim Butcher, thanks to TURN COAT and CHANGES, and Rob Thurman’s got “New York Times bestselling author” thanks to BLACKOUT. Hooray! Anyhoo, when a publisher can do that, it means more cash for the author in the form of royalties. Because non-rabid-fans are more inclined to buy a book by an author who’s obviously already fairly popular – and will often buy through the author’s backlist – and that’s a good thing.

Stick with me here. New York Times (etc.) standings don’t start counting until the actual, official day of publication. So while you’re getting to read the object of your affection that much sooner, and you’re showing  your enthusiasm, and you’re writing rave reviews…

Stop. Readers, think of your authors. The more they can paste chest-puffing bragging rights on their covers, the more the publisher is inclined to give/extend book deals.

So while my bosses at B&N will probably be upset with me for telling you NOT to buy a book before its release date… I’m saying it anyway. Love your authors, and they will love you back.

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2 Responses to A note on publication dates

  1. Josh Jasper says:

    B&N should be respecting lay-down dates, and not moving stock before then. Back when I worked for Books Inc, we had a locked room for books to be stored in before lay-down dates, and you could get in serious trouble just for making a mistake on the date.

  2. saraanne718 says:

    They should, and they do, when it’s a strict-on-sale date. You get in major trouble with publishers if you don’t. But titles without SOS demarcation just get put out when they arrive in the shipment. Unfortunately, B&N – and Books-A-Million and everyone – is far more interested in their cut of the sale than the author’s.

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