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How to Get Your Book on Barnes & Noble Shelves

Updated: Jul 2



Have you, or someone you know, ever self-published a book, taken it to a local Barnes & Noble store, and asked them to put it on their shelves, only to have Barnes & Noble immediately reject it? It can be a frustrating experience, but fear not! In this post, we’ll show you a book distribution strategy for how to increase your chances of getting your book accepted by Barnes & Noble so that you can see it proudly displayed on their physical bookshelves.



Before you take your books to Barnes & Noble, your book must be eligible. Make sure you have the IngramSpark print version. Just like Amazon KDP has its own barcode, IngramSpark has its own barcode system. This means you need to publish your book through a publisher who can distribute it via IngramSpark. (As You Wish Publishing offers this service as an add-on enhancement in our primary publishing packages.) Only then can you approach physical Barnes & Noble stores with your book, increasing the chances of approval and having your books with their barcode on the shelves for sale.


Approaching Barnes & Noble

When you’re ready to approach Barnes & Noble with your book, take a couple of copies to your local store. Let them know that your book is available through IngramSpark and has returnable distribution. Offer them a couple of copies for free without asking for payment.



Expand Your Reach

Expand your reach beyond your local area. Don’t be afraid to travel to other towns and cities. Take your books with you and consider it your own book tour adventure. Say to yourself, “I’m going on the Barnes & Noble tour!” Document your journey as an author by creating TikTok videos, reels, and involving your followers and fans. Share your adventure on social media and let everyone know that you’re on a book tour adventure. It’s a great way to engage your audience and showcase your journey as an author.


Building Relationships

Building a good relationship with the folks at Barnes & Noble is key. Don’t let a “no” discourage you. If the first store turns you down, keep going. There’s usually more than one Barnes & Noble in an area, so try the next one and the next one after that if you have to. Keep branching out until someone says yes.

Company Social Proof

Once you get a “yes” and your book is on the shelves at one store, go back to the previous Barnes & Noble stores you visited. Let them know that another Barnes & Noble has accepted your book and offer them a couple of copies to do the same. This way, their company has its own social proof, and it becomes easier for other stores to say yes.



Leverage Your Network

Another strategy is to leverage your network. Encourage friends, family, and subscribers on your mailing list to visit Barnes & Noble stores across the country with copies of your book that they’ve purchased. They can ask the store to stock it, and in my experience, Barnes & Noble often takes more than one copy. If you’re a networker and belong to a networking organization, whether it’s for your book or your personal business, don’t hesitate to ask your group for connections to Barnes & Noble in their area. Someone in your network might know a Barnes & Noble manager or associate who can help you get your foot in the door. Networking can be incredibly powerful in opening doors and creating opportunities, so don’t underestimate its potential!


Independent Book Signings

Find out if your Barnes & Noble hosts independent book signings, as they often do these semi-regularly. Participating in independent book signing days can also give your book a lot more visibility in-store. It’s all about getting your book out there and making it as visible as possible!


Put Your Book on IngramSpark

To ensure your book is eligible to be available for physical shelving at Barnes & Noble stores, publish with As You Wish Publishing. Choose either our EZ Publish package or our Flex Publish package, and be sure to select the add-on option for Barnes & Noble distribution through IngramSpark for print books.

Once published, this guarantees that your book will be in the Barnes & Noble/IngramSpark digital system, increasing the possibility of Barnes & Noble physical stores stocking your book on their shelves, particularly if you follow the strategies outlined in this post.

Let As You Wish Publishing handle the publishing process, and we’ll get you halfway there. The rest is up to you!


Keep Track and Follow Up

Keep tabs on your books shelved at various Barnes & Noble locations. If you later discover that they are not selling at Barnes & Noble bookstores, you can always ask if you can buy your books back from them. If you donated them, you may get them back for free.


You've got this! 


Featured AYW Collaboration Book Authors

Christina Bellevue, Lucille Boettger, GG Rush, Janet Zavala, Chantalle Ullett, Nadia S. Krauss, Becky Cohen, Amy I. King, Alicia Sweezer, YuSon Shin, Rosanne Norris, Danielle Darowz, Jeannie Soverns, Karen Gabler, Sarah Gabler, Nina Kropp, Sylvie Robert, Crystal Camp-Kravtsov, Michelyn Woityra, Bonnie Salkow, Sally Malik, Lisa Guess, April Chambers, Joe McMonagle, Katherin Elli Grace, Felicia Shaviri, Stacy Christopher, Jacque Tarlton, Donna Cristal, Maria Gigliotti, Lindsay Godfree, Sushma D.A. Hallock, Donna Kiel, Colleen Lovelight, Janine Nelson, Bonnie Rosensteel, Chris Turpyn, Wanda Vitale.


Want to write with us? Join our next collaboration book!


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