Friday, May 9, 2014
Ebook Preorders at Barnes & Noble Help Indies Scale Bestseller List
Most Smashwords authors who've done ebook preorders with Smashwords know that one of the many great advantages of a preorder is that accumulated preorders credit all at once at Apple and Kobo on the day the book goes onsale, causing the book to pop in the bestseller lists.
What most authors don't know is that the same magical dynamic happens at Barnes & Noble as well. I didn't know this until today!
If you're not incorporating preorders - and specifically B&N preorders - into your next book launch, you're missing out.
In a nutshell, here's how the dynamic works at B&N, Apple and Kobo: Let's say your book is listed on preorder for 60 days in advance of your official onsale date. Let's say that at B&N (or iBooks or Kobo) your book accumulates 15 orders per day. After two months of order accumulation, you'd have 900 orders. These 900 orders would credit all at once on the first day when your book goes onsale.
Since every retailer's bestseller charts are based upon unit sales, and all charts give greater weighting to sales credited during the most recent 24-hour period, it's like selling 900 copies in a single day. And that's before counting the additional sales that come once the book goes onsale. With 900+ sales at any retailer in a day, you're going to land near the top of your book's genre or category list, and probably also within the store's top-10 or top-20 store-wide bestseller list.
You don't need to accumulate 900 orders to receive a boost from preorders. Even 10, 20 or 30 accumulated orders will give you an incremental discoverability advantage.
By landing higher in the charts, your book becomes more visible and more desirable to readers who use the bestseller lists to discover their next read. And let's not forget the value of the permanent bragging rights that come when your book achieves bestseller status at multiple retailers.
Ever since we announced preorder distribution last July to iBooks, B&N and Kobo, I mistakenly believed that B&N preorders didn't deliver the same first-day kick in the charts. I began to question my assumption last week when Nicky Charles' new preorder release, Betrayed: Book Two - The Road to Redemption, landed near the top of the charts at Barnes & Noble (she did the same at iBooks!). When I looked closely at the B&N sales reports, I noted that all her preorders credited on the first day. Earlier today I confirmed the behavior with our friends at B&N. Yay!!
So there you have it. The day-one pop in the charts at B&N is confirmed. If you're not yet distributing preorders via Smashwords to B&N, iBooks and Kobo, plan now to do it with your next release. Multiple Smashwords authors have already hit the bestseller lists - and charted higher - thanks the added kick of preorders.
Learn more about ebook preorders at http://smashwords.com/preorder, or in my ebook preorder strategy blog post and presentation, Hit the Ebook Bestseller Lists - A Guide to Ebook Preorder Strategy.
Oh, we haven't announced this yet (well, I suppose I'm announcing it today!) - Once your preorder is loaded at Smashwords, you can now change the onsale date self-serve from your Smashwords Dashboard (thank you Daphne on the Smashwords engineering team!).
Next Thursday May 15 at the RT Convention in New Orleans, and then again on May 31 at uPublishU in New York City, I'm presenting a workshop on ebook preorder strategy. I hope you can join us! In June I'll probably do a video on preorder strategy and add it to our collection of ebook publishing tutorials at YouTube.