9.5 out of every 10 authors want to know how they can get their books into the national distribution of chain bookstores like Barnes and Nobel and Borders. Although this is a great ambition, it is proven to be the least effective means of succesful bookselling.
Overlooking the fact that the average independent author does not have the inventory to advance a national distribution, the market advantage is obliterated. Of the millions of books being sold by these chains, what advantage will an unknown author have to highlight his/her book spine from the bookshelf?
Instead, a better approach to the bookstore option is seeking out specialty stores that cater to your audience. If you've written a romantic novel with a sports setting, why not solicit sporting good stores to carry your book. Or a how-to book on cooking, solicit local bakeries or deli. Reject conventional book-selling norms. Think outside the bookstore.