Publishers occasionally publish a special limited edition.

How do they ensure that the number of pre-orders do not exceed the quantity that will be limited?

It seems a nightmare logistically, as anyone can pre-order a book through any book store with the correct ISBN/information.

I ask, because two books I've pre-ordered are kind of like this.

Orbit is publishing a limited edition (2000 copies) of a book. How do they ensure that everyone who has pre-ordered will receive it, especially with the limited run.

Another publisher is letting the author sign all of the first print run, so they can say that all pre-orderes will be signed. What about if more people pre-order than the first print run can cover? (unlikely, but possible).

  • Welcome to Literature! I think this is on topic here since it's something that'd be of interest to avid readers. Certainly no worse than asking about how book prices are set.
    – Adam Lear
    Oct 29, 2011 at 18:54

1 Answer 1


As far as I know, each distributor is assigned a certain number of copies they are allowed to sell as preorders. After they sell their allotment, that's it.

  • 1
    Yup, I'm pretty sure that's how it works. Once all the pre-orders are delivered I think they'll generally deliver what didn't get sold to certain stores.
    – DForck42
    Oct 29, 2011 at 21:04
  • That was my understanding. It works similar to video game preorders. :)
    – user2879
    Oct 30, 2011 at 0:06

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