Amazon Release Date Delivery: How Does It Work?


If you want a book, movie, or video game on the day it comes out, you normally have to pick it up from a brick and mortar store. If you opt for a cheaper online retailer, you have to wait for shipping, which can mean several days of delay. Amazon's release date delivery, however, can put your merchandise in your hands on or before the street date.

Street Dates

  • When manufacturers release certain types of products, they assign a "street date" on which a retailer can sell the item. Retailers typically receive their product shipments several days beforehand, but breaking this street date and putting the merchandise out early can earn them stiff penalties. Release date shipping allows online retailers like Amazon to ship product out early, with the intent that it arrives at the customer's home on the same day it becomes available in stores.

Pre-Order Process

  • When you pre-order an item on Amazon, the company registers your order and reserves your item. However, Amazon does not charge your credit card or bank account until a few days before shipping. If the price goes up before the item ships, you will only have to pay your initial pre-order price, while if the price falls, Amazon will pass the savings on to you. In the case that the price falls between the moment Amazon charges your card and the item arrives, they will contact you to refund the difference.

Shipping Options

  • In some cases, Amazon will offer release date delivery as an automatic part of the pre-order. In other cases, you may have to pay for normal shipping to receive release date delivery. If you opt for Amazon's standard free shipping, you may not receive your item on the street date. Read your shipping options carefully during the order process to ensure you select a method that will allow you to receive your merchandise on the correct date. Release date delivery is only available to addresses inside the continental U.S., and is not available using the Amazon Locker delivery system.

Item Arrival

  • With release date delivery, Amazon will ship your merchandise using a method that should deliver the package on or before the street date. In some cases, the package may arrive a day or two early, so you should use the package tracking feature to monitor your shipment as the release date approaches. Amazon will refund your shipping costs if they miss the delivery date, but this guarantee does not apply if you are not available to sign for the package or some other failure occurs outside of Amazon's control.

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