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The Self-Published Authors’ Guide to Arranging Book Signings at Barnes & Noble

The Self-Published Authors’ Guide to Arranging Book Signings at Barnes & Noble

With more than 600 outlets across the United States, Barnes & Noble has the most book retail stores in the country. A Fortune 1000 company, it is considered most successful and one of those at the top. Consequently, as an author, you might find it intimidating to even consider a book signing event at a Barnes & Noble, and even more so if you’re self-published. However, fear not, because even as a self-published author, it is still a goal within your reach! If you want to know how to arrange your book signing events at Barnes & Noble as a self-published author, then you’re in the right place. Now, to get there, you will need several things. These are:

  • Focus
  • ISBN number
  • Dozen hard copies of your book
  • Conversational skills for dealing with your local B&N Community Business Development Manager


Throughout your journey as a self-published author, you will need to focus. Focus on your goals, on your desires, and on what you want to achieve.  It’s not always going to be a smooth ride, but you must know that in the end, it will be all worth it. Not only that, but you will not be alone on this journey, and many others have walked this same road before you. We mean it when we say that you are not alone. You can recruit Amazon and Barnes & Noble as travel companions that will help you reach your destination. How? Well, you can use the Amazon publishing system to format and print your books for Barnes & Noble.

Yes, they are competitors, but Amazon has the tools for easier formatting and printing. It’s very user-friendly and efficient, and you can print a paperback with a full-color cover for only a few dollars. Amazon can also give you an ISBN. This ISBN is your ticket of entry to selling and promoting your book in Barnes & Noble. This print-on-demand process is available at Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).  You may know Kindle for eBooks, but rest assured, they are in the paperback game as well, and you will need about a dozen copies of your book for your event. 

Barnes & Noble may be known as a book retailer, but it aims to be more than that. Digital books are convenient, but having a physical object to sell, such as a paperback, heightens the shopping experience and makes it more memorable.

Barnes & Noble wants to be a part of the community it is found in. As such, they tend to be one of the places people will visit regularly, much like a café or a gym. Since you already have your books with an ISBN, you will next need to call the Barnes & Noble store in which you want to hold your book signing event.

You can easily find the store’s telephone number on the official B&N website. Then you will need to ask for their Community Business Development Manager. Make a good first impression by speaking politely and sharing your intentions. Tell them when you would like to visit and ask to set up a meeting with them.

Then, when you visit, ask for them by name at the customer service area. Remember to bring your book and reviews from Amazon or Goodreads, along with a written description of what your book is all about. Remember that the first impression always lasts, so be your best self. Dress yourself up, look professional, and be presentable. Know how to converse and not just talk. Smile and be friendly. Rambling on and on about you and your book for 30 minutes will not help you. Let them speak when they want to, and listen with genuine attention and sincerity—not just for the sake of giving a reply but to make them feel heard and important. You should also assure them that someone—your friends, family, coworkers, etc.—will show up at the event to let them know that there are people out there who support you!


Being able to work with Barnes & Noble as a self-published author doesn’t require a miracle. Just make sure that you’re all set with the things we’ve listed, and you can do it too! 

When you get to the actual book signing event, make sure to bring at least a dozen copies of your book. Along with the books, bring pens for signing; a banner, poster, or other relevant artwork/décor to capture shoppers’ attention; and a copy of some reviews. Barnes & Noble will provide a table, chair, and tablecloth.

It is recommended that you hold the event during a weekend afternoon, if possible. Authors with book signing experience also recommend scheduling several weeks in advance with Barnes & Noble. B&N will pay you depending on how many books you sell.

According to their retail commission model (which is non-negotiable), Barnes & Noble takes 40% of the retail price, and you get the other 60%. They may pay you that same day with cash from the register, or they may issue you a check. Remember to check-in at the customer service area, and you will get your check within 30 days or less.

No matter how much money you take home or how many books you sell at your first book signing, you still gain new experience and more exposure, which are valuable for any self-published author. Remember to follow the guidance in this article, and you’ll be signing books at Barnes & Noble in no time!