This year, we’ve decided to stop offering pre-publication orders for books (we’ve never offered it for tools).
Here’s the reason: About 80 percent of our customer service inquiries consist of, “Where is the thing I ordered?” And the “thing” is still at the printing plant. Most of these customers didn’t realize (or forgot) that they’d placed a pre-publication order.
It didn’t matter how many times we put the shipping date on their receipt or at the top of the ordering page. People overlooked it.
And as our company has grown, answering this question over and over has become a significant part of the work that Meghan and Megan do for us. We’d much rather have them work on making you new books instead of dealing with frustrated customers.
So going forward, here’s how book releases will work. When the book arrives in our warehouse, we’ll open up sales and start shipping immediately. And for the first 30 days the book is out, customers will receive a free pdf download of the book (if one is available).
This change will (I hope) reduce frustration all around.
By the way, “The Woodworker’s Pocket Book” should arrive in the warehouse next week.
— Christopher Schwarz
33 thoughts on “The End of Pre-ordering is Nigh”
I’m sorry I was that guy once. Totally didn’t even know I was pre-ordering
Growing pains, but a nice problem to have!
Any chance of a free PDF for Canadians ordering from Lee Valley?
Damn can you still offer prepublication pdf’s? I loved getting them early.
Read the last could paragraphs closely. He said the first 30 days they’ll include the pdf if it’s available.
I read it correctly. I could care less about the physical book. I was wanting to know if the prepublication pdfs could still be purchased. I only bought the pdf version early. So I guess a more clear question would have been. Are the stand alone pdfs still going to be available to order early?
The pdfs won’t be available early. Everything will go on sale at the same time, which is when the the book arrives in the warehouse.
Cool thanks, completely understand.
Makes complete sense. Anything to keep you guys in business.
Sorry that people screwed it up, but thank you for still offering the free PDF for 30 days.
While I never asked, I would sometimes forget that I had pre-ordered a book, so it probably works out fine for me anyway lol
Oh, I guess I’m an Overlooker or a Forgetter? I’m also a sender of email wondering where my purchase was.
I should mention that there is no ship date on my receipt (Order#121426) I actually looked b4 sending the email query.
Understand I’m not gripping just pointing out something. I knew it was a preorder so there was no rush. I just wanted to make sure the book was not on someone else’s pouch. Now I know and acknowledge why my email was not answered. Best of all I think you have come up with a perfect solution.
Reading…a Lost Art
Smart move Chris. I’m not a fan of pre-orders. It just makes the wait ‘feel’ longer. And thanks for the update on The Woodworker’s Pocket Book. It will save me from calling in asking where my book is :-O
Noted, understood and appreciated! Also, for the customer it will mean that everything ordered at the same time can be shipped together, becuse if it can be ordered, it will be in stock.
Exactly. Many customers will buy something else when they pre-order a book. That gets shipped immediately.
That is one of the many benefits of this change. Fewer packages. Fewer packaging. Less money spent on shipping.
As they say, no good deed goes unpunished!
Your periodic updates on where various anticipated publications are in the draft/rewrite/final edit/to the printer process is much appreciated.
I’ve never been frustrated or impatient, but I always get confused. By the time the paper copy arrives, I had long since read the pdf. When the book shows up on my doorstep, I wonder what the heck it could be. It’s kinda like Christmas!
Now I’ll be expecting it, anxiously, every day. Thanks for ruining Christmas, grinch.
That is all completely reasonable.
Thank you for your unwavering transparency.
It shows genuine character in an age where character has all but disappeared.
Sounds like a great plan, rather have you producing books than answering emails on shipments.
This makes me sad, but I TOTALLY understand. I for one love the pre-order and the delayed gratification when it finally arrives (I currently have a book on order <sorry, it’s amazon> due next September). In my mind, you could do a deposit before it even gets to the printer (in this case, deposit=full amount) and then it’s a double whammy of delayed gratification with the PDF and the book. I also might look at kickstarter and gustin.com too much… 🙂
Looks like you’ll be trading in, “Where’s my book?” for, “I know you said 30 days for the free pdf, but…”
I suggest a large, flashing countdown in at least two different areas of the page.
Well, it’s about damn time. I’ve never had a problem pre ordering a book; if I order from you my only expectation is that it’s a well written, properly printed and bound , and shipped with care. When it arrives isn’t part of the value, if it was, I’d get a digital copy ( just kidding, never going to happen, read “The Shallows” to understand why).
I love surprises
The Trout Troll
I was wondering where my copy of The Woodworker’s Pocket Book was. Turns out I never even preordered. This a very good idea!
When the border to Canada opens I’ll order 3. (shipped to a border town. I have quite a backlog of US mail ordering to do.
You do realize you can buy it at Lee Valley right?
I never asked where my pre-ordered book was. Frankly, I sometimes forgot that I had even ordered it. So, when it showed-up in my mailbox, it was like a surprise Christmas.gift.
I would have been one of those people today if I didn’t remember reading this post earlier.
However, I did check the packing slip, order confirmation page, and order status page before I remembered this post and there is no mention of pre-order, backorder, or that the BK_POCKETBOOK would be shipped later. It just says quantity 0.00 on the packing slip with an order status of delivered and no indication that your system doesn’t think the order is complete.
Yep, I was almost that guy, too. I checked the email confirmation, the order page, and then the book’s ordering page. There it was! Just like on the day I ordered ” … March 2021.”
But, all is good, it’ll be in the mail soon! Thanks, Chris, for your work and the fruits of your work!
And, another lesson in patience ….
I was that guy too. Sorry about that. Thank you for your hard work and amazing books!
I’m surprised you had them at all. I remember what you’ve written about the drawbacks of backorders or kickstarter type arrangements on a business. I guess you’re having them with the preorder books. I preordered a few from Lost Art and patiently waited while enjoying the PDF until it arrives. I’ll miss it, but you should be able to run your business. And your business isn’t LM.GTFY.
Yep, I totally just did this. Sorry!
Whoops. Sorry I am one of those who overlooked the pre-order deal.
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