Barnes & Noble In-Store Stocking Requirements

Any book in the Ingram/Lightning Source print-on-demand catalog will automatically be available to Barnes & Noble’s customers through and through customer order request.   But when a publisher or author wants a Barnes & Noble buyer to consider speculative stocking and replenishment of their POD book(s) in stores, Barnes & Noble requires the Lightning Source terms to be competitive with other books that they stock and replenish in stores, and they look for the physical book to meet some basic requirements that facilitate sales and customer check-out in the brick & mortar bookstore environment.  



  • Discount terms:  Barnes & Noble expects to receive a regular trade discount from Ingram/Lightning Source.  This means that the publisher would need to sell to Ingram/Lightning Source at a discount that permits Ingram/Lightning Source to offer Barnes & Noble a regular trade discount (55% minimum wholesale discount).
  • Returnability:  Ingram/Lightning Source would need to offer Barnes & Noble returnable terms. 
  • Discount and returnability should stay the same for the life of the book:  If a Barnes & Noble buyer agrees to stock a book in our stores that is available at a regular trade discount and returnable, our expectation is that the Lightning Source terms will stay the same for the life of the book.   A change to short discount or nonreturnable after we have already begun stocking and replenishing the book is not permitted.
  • Barcode: A book that we stock in our stores needs a consumer readable retail price and a bar code that has a bar code extension with embedded retail price.  Below is an image of what a compliant barcode should typically look like. 




  • Title and author on spine of the book: Every book stocked in Barnes & Noble stores needs to show the title and the author on the spine.  Even if the book has a low page count with a very thin spine, a title and author still must be visible on the spine.    Many books are shelved spine-out in Barnes & Noble stores.  Books without a title and author on the spine will be invisible, not easily browsed by customers, and not easily found by booksellers.
  • Barnes & Noble Small Press Department: Barnes & Noble will consider any print-on-demand book for in-store placement if it meets the above listed criteria.  A sample copy of the book along with a cover letter that includes contact info (name, email address, phone number) and an explanation of why Barnes & Noble should stock the book in their stores (marketing plan, if applicable, etc.) can be sent to:  Barnes & Noble, Small Press Dept., 122 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY.  The Small Press Dept. will make sure the appropriate buyer considers the book.  They will get back to you in writing to let you know what the buyer decided.
  • In-store Events/Signings: Events and signings are arranged at the local store level at the discretion of the individual store, not by Barnes & Noble buyers.  But stores will generally expect a book to be listed in the system at the same terms – trade discount, returnable – before considering a book for an in-store event. 


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