Yes, I'm slacking off, eating bonbons and watching
I pre-ordered a book that isn’t being released until the 23rd. Today, two weeks before the release date, my local, somewhat hapless indie bookstore called me to say it was there and I could pick it up. This is not the first time they have done this, though it is the first time when I have pointed out their mistake (“Oh, I think you’re not supposed to sell me this until (date)”) that they’ve told me I’m wrong and the book is okay for me to pick up. Normally, they thank me profusely and say they’ll see me in a couple weeks. I double-checked the pub date and yep, it’s the 23rd.What say you? Am I in the clear? Do I hurt anybody if I go get the book early? I’m getting pretty tired of tracking release dates for the bookstore. Still, they’re the only non-used / secular bookstore in town and I’d hate it if they went away. The book isn’t exactly Harry Potter so I can’t imagine the consequences of selling it to me early are all that severe . . .
You are not in breach of your duties as a good citizen of the book community.
The ONLY time there is a problem -- and it's NOT your problem, it's that of the bookstore -- is if there is an embargo, or a one-day laydown for the book.
One day laydown is what you saw with Harry Potter. The books were on sale the same day in all stores.
Sometimes it's all stores around the world. Trust me, that's a job and a half.
Embargoes are what you saw for things like Hilary Clinton's memoir; no publicity until a certain date, no review copies sent etc.
None of these are your responsibility to enforce or observe, even in the "character is what you do when no one is looking" kind of way.
If the bookstore calls you to tell you a book is ready, go get it and read it with a clear conscience.
Publication date is when all stores should have received their copies of the book.
It's not a marker of when it can go on sale, but rather a marker of when it should be on sale.