Solar powered by pre-orders and Waterstone's

<p>Jonathan Cape has launched a &quot;totally exceptional&quot; pre-order campaign for Ian McEwan&#39;s new novel after prompting from Waterstone&#39;s. The move is part of a growing trend of pre-orders becoming more important for retailers.</p><p>After high-profile campaigns for titles by Dan Brown and J K Rowling, both publishers and retailers said the incidence of pre-ordering is increasing in an attempt to make &quot;selling books exciting&quot;.<br />Ian McEwan&#39;s new novel <em>Solar </em>(18th March) has had a large pre-order campaign. Sam Fanaken, senior key account manager at Random House, said: &quot;Waterstone&#39;s wanted to treat the new Ian McEwan as they treated <em>The Lost Symbol</em>. This sort of pre-order activity is exceptional.&quot;</p><p>She added that the retailer was looking to work with Random on pre-order campaigns for other authors.</p><p>Promotional activity branches runs online, and in store and targets loyalty cards customers. In-store, staff are wearing T-shirts with pictures of the jacket on, customers are able to take special boxes with the jacket image on up to tills to pre-order <em>Solar</em> and a short story by McEwan is being sent out to loyalty card-holders via email. &quot;Its our biggest campaign for him,&quot; said Fanaken, adding: &quot;<em>Atonement </em>bought McEwan to a new audience and its something we wanted to expand on.&quot;</p><p>Martin Higgins, sales director at Transworld, said pre-ordering was becoming a &quot;really important&quot; way for publishers to sell books. Higgins said pre-orders are growing online, with sites such as Amazon and Play.com featuring pre-order charts on their book homepages, therefore &quot;spurring&quot; the high street on to do similar. &quot;Its about creating theatre in store, making the whole selling of books exciting,&quot; said Higgins.</p><p>Higgins said that pre-orders help the publisher predict how well a title will sell. &quot;It&#39;s an extra variable when thinking about print runs,&quot; said Higgins. He added: &quot;I think it will become more and more prevalent, it&#39;s already big in DVD and its only a a matter of time before it becomes huge in books.&quot;</p><p>Asda does not currently offer a pre-ordering service, although Steph Bateson, book buyer, said that it was something the supermarket was thinking about doing as consumers are becoming more aware of pre-ordering. The Book Despository added a pre-order section to its website when it relaunched in February last year. Kieron Smith, managing director, said it had been going well, particularly with graphic novel series.</p>