How Book Release Dates Work

Today is Tuesday, March 25, which means it’s the last Tuesday in March, which means that many April books are being released today.

Wait… what? April books are being released in March???

A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate CarlisleIt’s confusing, isn’t it? But it’s true. Several publishers release books the last Tuesday of the month prior to the official release month. Therefore, a book labeled “April 2014” will be released on the last Tuesday of March, and a book labeled “May 2014” will be released on the last Tuesday of April, and so on.

The Book Stops Here by Kate CarlisleTo make it more confusing, not all publishers do this. Not even close. Penguin, who publishes my mystery novels, release their books on the first Tuesday of the month of release. That means that the mass market paperback version of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY, which is a May 2014 book, will be released on the first Tuesday in May. And the hardcover and ebook debut of THE BOOK STOPS HERE, a June 2014 book, will be released on the first Tuesday in June.

To make it more-more confusing, Harlequin, which publishes the books I write for Desire, goes for the “second-to-last Tuesday of the prior month” system when it comes to category paperbacks, but their category ebooks are released on the first day of the month of release. April 1, May 1, June 1, etc.

However, bookstores often disregard the official release date, especially when it comes to category romance. When the boxes arrive, the books go on the shelves. Very few authors get the Harry Potter treatment, with booksellers under threat of penalty if they open the boxes a minute too early. Which is both good and bad. Good, because readers who are excited to get their hands on the books don’t have to wait. Bad, because it means that those too-early sales won’t count toward first-week sales when it comes to the bestsellers lists. And hitting the bestsellers lists means more attention for the book, which means more sales down the road. Or at least, that’s the hope.

What a Duke DaresAnd self-published ebook authors, of course, have book releases any day and every day.

Are you confused yet?

The point is, today is March 25, which means that today is release day for many authors! Here are a few anticipated books…

  • What a Hero Dares by Kasey Michaels
  • What a Reckless Rogue Needs by Vicky Dreiling
  • (side note: What a Duke Dares by our own Anna Campbell is available for pre-order!)
  • Waking the Dead by Heather Graham
  • Dash of Peril by Lori Foster
  • A Match Made in Texas by Katie Lane
  • Four Friends by Robyn Carr

What April 2014 book releases are you most excited to read? Do they come out today or next week? Did you already know all of this about book release dates, or was this new information for you?

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  • Jane says:

    Hello Kate,
    I just know that most releases arrive on Tuesdays, but I did not know about the specifics you mentioned. Today is release day for Jaci Burton’s “Hope Ignites.” She’s a favorite of mine.

    • Jane, Hope Ignites is such an intriguing title. Hope makes it sound sweet, and “Ignites” makes it sound incendiary. πŸ™‚ Happy book release day to Jaci! πŸ™‚

      And yay, you, on bringing home the Golden Rooster!!!! Perhaps he’ll curl up in your lap while you read Hope Ignites. πŸ˜‰

    • Cassondra says:

      Jane, you and the rooster must be planning something. You’ve been spending an awful lot of time together. Just sayin.

  • Amy Conley says:

    I did know these things, for several reason. Being an Avon Addict has taught me many of these things. But in a past-life I worked att Wal-Mart and if I was looking for a certian book, I learned about how they set out their books (every Tues, usually the week after official release date, which also affects those first week sales).

    • Very interesting, Amy. It would be so nice if booksellers would put books out exactly on release day, but I doubt there’s any way to make that work in every store across the country. Sigh….

  • Ki Pha says:

    Wow! Now this really cleared things up for me. I knew Tuesdays were huge release days in the beginning and end of the months but didn’t know they scheduled it like that! Now I understand why ARCs would say April but comes out in late March! Now I have to do my reviews earlier then I thought. LOL
    Thank you for the information Kate!

    • I’m glad the information was helpful! I wondered as I was writing this whether it was common knowledge, so I’m *really* glad to hear that I cleared things up for you!

      If you’re ever wondering about a precise release date, the information on is usually very accurate. They definitely have it right for THE BOOK STOPS HERE:

  • Helen says:


    Yes I had learn’t this a few years ago but these days I pre order e books as soon as I can and they arrive on my kindle the day of release πŸ™‚ I had a few arrive yesterday but I do have so many books to read I am starting to stress about which order to read them in LOL

    Have Fun

  • Caren Crane says:

    Kate, I am most excited about the April release of my Cross Springs novells Cross Springs In Bloom! It is ridiculously romantic and also rather funny. I love the hero and heroine!

    I always end up with so many friends’ releases for any given month that I have to prioritize them. Takes some of the fun and spontaneity out, for sure! I am also greatly anticipating Anna Campbell’s new release and your June release!

    And – STOP THE PRESSES – Nancy Northcott’s SENTINEL is out today. Snap it up, y’all!

  • Shannon says:

    I’m still a Luddite without wireless (although I did purchase a router but haven’t installed it) so Tuesday mornings are spent downloading the authors that are on my autobuy list. Where I work also doesn’t have wireless.

    The terrible part of Tuesday release is hoping that I have all or part of a Thursday off or figuring out time over the coming weekend to read. A couple of times, I have taken a Tuesday off to be able to read an eagerly anticipated book. The best day ever was when I read a what I considered to be a four-star book and a five-star book. Yes, I was up at 4 and didn’t get to bed at 9.

    The month on the book doesn’t bother me unless an author releases a series and two books are in the same month.

    As for reviews, I absolutely refuse to even read them if the book isn’t due for publication for more than a week. In fact, it’s getting to the point that I don’t read review sites much any more because there’s too many spoilers. Besides on an autobuy author, no review is going to deter me from reading her book.

    • I know what you mean about spoilers in reviews, Shannon! It’s wonderful that readers take the time to share their thoughts on a book, but I wish they would do it without revealing any of the secrets that make the book a pleasure to read. It’s a tricky balance for reviewers, I’m sure.

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    Fatal Jeopardy by Marie Force, Dash of Peril by Lori Foster, Twisted by Emma Chase, David Roosenfelts New thriller, are all releases I have been looking forward to reading.

    • Sounds like a great list, Debbie! I just read the blurb for Without Warning by David Roosenfelt, and it sounds like a really gripping mystery! I’m going to have to add it to my list. πŸ™‚

  • flchen1 says:

    How puzzling, Kate! Can’t wait to read all those, plus Shelly Laurenston’s Bite Me!

  • sandyg265 says:

    I’m waiting for the Heather Graham book. But I’ll have to wait for the library to get it which is usually a few weeks after the release date. Publisher release dates are crazy. I usually just add all of the books I’m interested in to my Amazon wish list so I can keep track of what’s coming out.

  • Cassondra says:

    Hi Kate!

    I did know this about book releases. It’s a mind bender when you have to manage it, and manage the advertising, because so many advertising sites go by the calendar month. So getting ads for that oddly-timed release is a little like playing Twister. *grin*

    I actually try to not even think about it. And the interesting thing is that as more people go indie, I think it’ll get easier, because it’s usually a slow build to the lists rather than a big bust out the front door the moment the book is out.

    The Harry-Potter style hard release is one fun thing that traditional publishers can do that independent authors haven’t found a way to do yet, as far as I know. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in our “brave new world” of publishing in the future!

    • We’re living in the Wild, Wild West, for sure, with publishing these days. The only rule is that all the rules have gone out the window! You figure out what works, and then everyone else figures it out, and then it doesn’t work anymore so you have to figure out something else. (Try saying that three times fast! Snork!!)

  • Hey Kate!

    I love Tuesday release day for knowing when my favorite authors’ books will be at the bookstore for me to pickup. BUT since I’m an independently published author, I LOVE picking other days of the week to release my books. Lately, I’ve been going for Thursday into Friday. *Just to get the weekend readers involved!*

    One book I’m looking forward to is THE KING by JR Ward. It’s out April 1st.

    • Unless that’s a spectacular April Fool’s joke that JR Ward has been planning for months! Wouldn’t that be something????

      Have you noticed a difference in early sales, publishing on Thursday and Friday versus earlier in the week?

      • For me, NOT publishing on a Tuesday, but later in the week seems to give me a good start and it carries through the weekend. I’ve also noticed my sales are usually highest in all places on the weekends.

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hey Kate!! Yay!! More Brooklyn! And I’m thrilled that I can pre-orders Anna C’s newest book too. I’m looking forward to Heather’s book, and Nora’s newest, The Collector.

    I did know about the Tuesdays, but now that I’m Indie, it’s more about avoiding those Tuesdays so I don’t get lost in the throng. Grins.

    SO excited for you new book! Yay!!!

    • Yayyyyyy!!!! And I so appreciate your enthusiasm, Jeanne! Mwah!

      It makes *so* much sense for indie authors to avoid release day Tuesdays! It’s going to be interesting to see how all of this changes in years to come.

  • Lindar says:

    I have all my favorite cozy mystery authors (yes, you’re one) set up in the Tuesday release day with a 1 week notification. I usually preorder most of them at that time. New authors I usually order on that Tuesday after reading some of the review blogs. Authors that release later in the month sometimes miss my preorder boat and I’ll pick them up later or check them out from library. Those seem to be the “big names” in general. MY authors are big names to me. I do tend to skip amazon reviews since they seem to have the highest number of spoilers or just inadequate reviewing techniques.

    • I’m honored, Lindar! Thank you. πŸ™‚ You are clearly a dedicated reader, with your systematic method for making sure you don’t miss any of the authors you love. You’re the best!!!

  • Kate, what an interesting post. I’m sorry I’m so late getting here! I sort of knew this about release dates but didn’t have a clear picture. This was very helpful.

    I’m looking forward to Caren’s novella. Loved Kick Start! And I think Anne Gracie, David Baldacci, and Laura Griffin all have books out next month. So does Nora Roberts. None of them came out this week, though. I mean, Nora did have one this week, but she has another next month.

    So does this mean Nora’s book that came out today is actually an April book?