How to get into Barnes & Noble’s online catalog

Though getting one’s book into the nation’s largest bookstore chain – Barnes & Noble – might be extremely difficult for self-published authors, what about getting it in their online catalog? That would, after all, be the next best thing if not getting it on the chain’s brick and mortar stores.

Achieving that will be tough, too, though not impossible. Generally, Barnes & Noble draws its book selection for the online catalog from a list of wholesalers and distributors (Among them are Bowker’s Books In Print, Baker & Taylor, and Ingram). If you self-publish, your paperback usually isn’t on one of those lists. The exception is if you use Sterling Publishing – a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble – to publish your book.

However, you as an indie publisher still can submit your book and hope for the best. To do that, you’ll need to become a “vendor of record” by completing and mailing a Publisher Information Form to Barnes & Noble’s distribution division.

Of course, a question you should ask yourself is if doing all of that work – with no guarantee of actually getting into a store – is really worth it. Arguably, there are better ways to tell the world about your book. Indeed, as the saying goes among authors, a bookstore is a great place to look at books but a lousy place to sell one.

The good news is that if you self-publish an ebook version of title, it has a very good chance of making Barnes & Noble’s online catalog for its Nook. Smashwords offers a seamless method of achieving that, though mastering the company’s complicated ebook guideline can take a little effort for first-time authors.