I had my first booksigning at a Barnes & Noble Saturday. It went well. The staff at the store in Frederick, MD, was great.  However, I also ran into the problem of dealing with a large corporation.

The small-press department at Barnes & Noble had purchased my book, Battlefield Angels: The Daughters of Charity Work as Civil War Nurses, back in February so I started trying to set up booksignings at stores, most of which were very willing to having me in for signings.

That’s where the problems began. When the Barnes & Noble staff tried to order the book, their distribution systems told them that the book was unavailable for order. This, despite the fact that various stores had been sent copies of the book.

I contacted the small press department and the representative there said that the book should be able to be ordered, but it wasn’t.

The Frederick store community relation’s manager did some creative ordering to get enough books for the signing, but other stores weren’t willing to go the extra mile. Who can blame them when there are other books that are easily available?

These are problems authors don’t have to worry about when they are dealing with independent book stores. It also means that Barnes & Noble is missing opportunities of developing relationships with emerging authors. Hopefully, they will get the kinks worked out of their distribution system and they will treasure their employees who go above and beyond to provide customer service.