One of the more recent trends in vinyl record purchases has been the push for pre-orders. This is great for customers as it gives them a chance to secure a copy of something that they want and it provides shops with the ability to better determine how much inventory to purchase in order to make sure that they have enough of a specific item.
The problem is that pre-orders are an illusion.
There is no such guarantee that your pre-order has fully secured a copy as there are a number of variables that can impact the availability such as pressing plant capacities, demand beyond supply, and bad practices with overselling, which can ultimately lead to headaches for customers and record store owners. For customers, you're frustrated and have to scramble to try and find another store to get your copy. And as a record store owner, you have to deal with a loss of reputation as well as refunding cancelled pre-orders that can impact the ability to buy more inventory.
As a long-time digger and collector, I have been burned multiple times over the years and have become cautious as to who I will pre-order through as a result of bad experiences, from bad customer service to delays in getting refunded, and worst of all, going without the record that I wanted. The most recent example is when I had to turn to Amazon to pre-order a copy of record that was sold out everywhere else. Amazon still showed availability and even though I loathe buying records from Amazon, I still pre-ordered it because I wanted it that bad (it was a copy of Handsome Boy Modeling School's 'White People' if you're curious). Weeks go by and on release day, I received an email saying that my record was out for delivery. Not even 3 hours later, I received another email saying that my order had been cancelled and that I would be refunded. Even though I wouldn't be charged until it would go out for delivery, this was a case where it was marked for delivery and then cancelled after the fact.
Personal experience aside, as an independent store owner, we can control the experience we provide to our customers. Which is why, going forward, GOOD TASTE Records will only be selling records that we have secured and are in our physical possession. New albums will continue to be posted to the site but will be posted as out of stock until the records have been shipped to our store. We utilize a in-stock notification system for receiving notifications of when this inventory is available and ready to ship. This prevents overselling, is still based on a first-come-first-served basis, and helps you - the customer - know that the order you placed is one that will be fulfilled.
We will continue to honor the pre-orders that have already been purchased through us as we have secured the inventory needed to fulfill these orders. Items previously marked as pre-orders are now all marked as upcoming releases that you can sign up for in-stock notifications once the release date hits.
With stores - no matter the size - labels, and artists continuing to push for pre-orders as the standard, we're taking a different approach to this. How many of you pre-ordered a record only to wait months for it to arrive and get frustrated when seeing the same record on the shelf at your local store? The continuous push for pre-orders as a convenience that ultimately creates frustrations is not something that is done in GOOD TASTE.