The pre-order system allows customers the option of reserving books before they are released. This option is offered for limited editions or when quantities of the book are expected to run low or sell out. It also allows advance funding of books which, due to their complexity, are very expensive to manufacture. This is a model used not only by publishers for books, but for many types of retail goods.
An additional benefit of the pre-order reservation is that it offers customers a better selection of editions, before they are released for resale, where they occasionally reach exorbitant prices. Pre-ordering also offers a small discount on the book, as the post-publication price is generally increased by 5–10%. These rationales are especially important for larger books such as Effigy or The Green Mysteries which are in excess of 500 pages and have a sizable quantity of original illustrations commissioned specifically for the book.
During the course of a pre-order schedule, publication delays may happen. Although the standard editions of most of our titles have been published on time, or within a month of the announced date, others have been late (and some have arrived before the announced publication date). Reasons for this always vary, but one persistent problem is the dwindling number of hand-binderies, which take much longer to turn around a high quality binding than in times past. Thus, the hand-bound deluxe and special editions of our works will always take longer than the general release.