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It is a marketing construct used to either drive up sales as you can market something that doesn't yet exist and let people place an order, if they cannot do that then the marketing is less effective. It is also used to get an idea for the size of initial runs of a product and to more accurately distribute stock when something first goes on sale.
Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.
Pre-order on Wikipedia[^]. Unfortunately I've made a few pre-orders that were not delivered on time and I had to cancel my pre-orders long after the product was released just to 'regular order' it and get it faster
In this case (I assume your question comes from my pre-order thread below) I pre-ordered for the discount and goodies though
"Pre-ordering" is ordering something without any guarantee that it will ever be actually produced.
"Ordering" is waiting until you're almost sure it's actually available.
".45 ACP - because shooting twice is just silly" - JSOP, 2010 ----- You can never have too much ammo - unless you're swimming, or on fire. - JSOP, 2010 ----- When you pry the gun from my cold dead hands, be careful - the barrel will be very hot. - JSOP, 2013