Is Pre-Ordering Worth the Hassle?

When it comes to Amazon, I’m a big fan. I love being able to keep a wish list; not just for Christmas and birthdays when people want to know what will make me happy, but also – to an overwhelming degree – to remind myself of all the Kindle books I want to buy in the future and all the sewing books I’d love to buy when I can spend a few pounds on frivolous things.

But the pre-order feature is, perhaps, the best one. You pre-order a book, DVD or other item and as soon as it comes out it will fall through your letterbox. I love getting a box containing the latest Harry Potter film or the latest in Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series, on the day it’s released. But is it worth it, or are you better off waiting for them to come out in the shops and buying them then?

The problem with the pre-order scheme is that, occasionally, the postage doesn’t work out. I’ve waited a day beyond the release date to receive my DVD – this was, in fact, the case for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. Of course that’s frustrating; I’ve already paid for this DVD and yet it’s not with me. It’s rare, but when I want something the day it’s released, I want it the day it’s released, not a day or two after.

However, here’s the really sneaky part; I also paid less money for it than I would have in the shops. Originally, when the DVD came out in-store, it looked like about 50p less, and I cursed myself a little because 50p really wasn’t worth that. But then I got an email from Amazon telling me they’d refunded me some more money because the price had dropped between shipping the DVD and official release, and suddenly it was definitely worth it again.

Obviously, Amazon do not control the postal service and there is only so much they can do to ensure your package gets to you in time. To do them credit, they do everything they can.

But you do have to accept that they are unable to control the Royal Mail and that it’s possible for delays to occur even if you pay for expedited shipping.

There is nothing they can do about that, at the end of the day, so if you need to be absolutely sure you receive your item on the day of release (especially if it is too big to fit through your letter flap and may require re-delivery if you work outside the home) you’re better off nipping out to HMV on the day of release.

However, when you can manage to wait a day or two if you absolutely have to, you get a combination of savings, knowing you’re unlikely to have to pay more than anybody else would, and you will be receiving your item shortly after (and sometimes slightly before) official release. As such, I will continue to use the pre-order option at Amazon and enjoying the associated benefits!

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