The On-Sale Date and Publication Date are used to determine if a title will be available for pre-order.
The On-Sale Date is the date upon which retailers are allowed to sell your book. You can set this date before your title’s publication date to allow pre-publication sales, however, not all retailers and bookstores recognize an On Sale Date and it can cause problems with the stock status of a title and fulfillment on some websites. The On-Sale Date is optional and is not required. If you feel you must have an On Sale Date, we suggest using the same date for the Publication Date and On Sale Date. However, the book will not be available for sale or delivery in the market place UNTIL the on-sale date is reached.
The Publication Date is the official release date of your book. Be sure to make this date far enough in the future that you will have time to order a printed copy or proof, apply any revisions that arise from the proofing process, and have your first print run produced at least a month before your publication date. Publishing a book can be a chaotic process, and should any unexpected delays occur, a cushion of extra time will be your best friend. In the traditional publishing world, new books are typically released on Tuesdays.
If you would like your new book to be available for pre-ordering, it is important that a future publication date and on-sale date are used. Usually, you would set the publication date earlier than the on-sale date in order to have your print book available for pre-ordering. However, not all retailers, such as Amazon, are able to agree to or abide by the contractual "rules" of the on-sale date and only recognize the publication date. It is recommended that the publication date and on-sale date are the same to avoid any problems with the availability status or listing of your book on some websites.
Some retailers only recognize publication dates and do not recognize on-sale dates, which can cause problems with the availability messaging for the book.
You will be able to set an on-sale date for an ebook, however, Apple will not list an ebook as available for sale until the on-sale date is reached.
You may see retailer websites list your title as available for ordering with no mention of pre-order. As long as your on-sale date is in the future, we will hold all the pre-ordered books to be printed and shipped so the books reach all retailers by the on-sale date.
Ingram/Lightning Source uses the on-sale date to determine when to print and ship books to our global distribution network. Pre-ordered books are printed and shipped up to 10 business days before the on-sale date is reached.
It is normal to see the pre-order status removed within the 10 business days before the on-sale date, as Ingram/Lightning Source has already started printing and shipping orders received from our distribution partners.
If you decide to upload revised files for your book, please ensure your finalized files are uploaded before you add/enable distribution services. If the book is available for sale through the distribution network and you upload revised files, the book is pulled from production for processing of the new files, which means it is no longer available for sale through our distribution network.
Uploading revised files after a book has distribution services added can cause delays with the revision being processed if we have already received orders from our distribution partners and are printing the book to ship before the on-sale date. The revision will not be processed until all of the orders are printed and shipped. If orders continue to come in every day, the revision is not processed until we stop receiving orders. Please contact support if you need further information.
If the book is already in production and available for sale through our distribution network, and you upload revised files too many times, too often, some retailers may give an incorrect available status on their website. In this situation, you may need to contact the support team to help resolve this.
Changes to the On-Sale Date We use the on-sale date that is listed for a book at the time distribution services are added/enabled. If you attempt to change the on-sale date during the 10 business days/2 weeks prior to the original on-sale date you selected, the book may already be printing and shipping. We are unable to guarantee pre-orders will be printed and shipped 10 business days prior to the newly updated on-sale date and will refer to the original on-sale date.
We ship books 10 business days prior to the on-sale date.