So, quite a few times, I’ve been asked what’s the best way to buy my books–in what format, from what seller? “Best” as in would benefit me the most.
Turns out, John Scalzi already answered this question:
1. Buy it in whatever format you like, whenever you like. Honestly, you’re the customer. You want it in hardcover? Get it in hardcover. Want it in ebook? Get it in ebook. Want it in audio? Get it in audio. Want to wait until the price goes down? Get it in paperback or in ebook when then paperback comes out. As long as you pay for it, I will also get paid, and in every format I get paid a fair share of the money. The variations of what I get paid in each format are small enough that on an individual level (that’s you), it’s not worth your time to fret about it. So please, buy the book in whatever format pleases you, whenever it pleases you to do so. And thank you.
(Dead broke? Ask for it at your local library, because they buy the book, and I’ll still get paid.)
Basically, read the whole thing, because his answer is my answer. Except, where you see “hardcover” mentally replace that with “trade paperback.” Because aside from Subterranean special editions, or large print editions, none of the Ancillary books are available in hardcover.
I’ve also seen some speculation about what it means for my sales when bookstores put the book out before the official release date. So, I’m told that those sales don’t go toward pre-order numbers, and they don’t count for first day/first week sales for the purposes of bestseller lists. So if I had my heart set on being able to put “Best Selling Author” in front of my name, and if I thought the margin was really narrow and a dozen or so books would make the difference, that might stress me out. Or if I were in a position where I was living or dying by pre-orders and was hanging on by my fingernails in the hope that B&N won’t decline to buy my next book, then that would really matter to me.
I have been incredibly fortunate so far, though, and I am in neither of those positions. For me, Scalzi’s point number 4 is the relevant one. Justice and Sword have both been selling consistently since they came out. I am, of course, hoping Mercy will do the same.
So, the best way to benefit me when you buy my book? Is to enjoy the heck out of reading my book! And if you can’t afford the book, then please do wait for a sale, or patronize your local library (I LOVE LIBRARIES!). It’s all good.
On a related point. Next week I go on tour! (ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED) And I’ll be appearing at several bookstores. And I’m looking forward to meeting the folks who show up, and of course will be signing books. I would say, my one tiny exception to “buy your copy wherever and however you like” is, if you’re coming to one of these events, please consider buying your copy of Mercy from the bookstore that’s hosting me. If nothing else, it makes it worth their while to have had me there, which is something I appreciate tremendously.