Common/standard practice in publishing. Obviously it is deliberately engineered purely to increase profit and arises from the facts that a) due to the nature and willingness of the market there are higher profit-margins on hardbacks, and b) some who would actually prefer softback are prepared to buy hardback rather than wait for the version they really want - and then perhaps even buy the softback too. In other words, it's nakedly taking advantage of people's susceptibilities. Such are capitalism and the free market.the hardback version is published before the soft back. When the fist edition was published I preordered through Bird Watch magazine but was frankly annoyed sometime later when the soft back.appeared.