Yes and no. This is a complicated answer, again because the publishing business is so weird.
Yes, we make your book available for order and sale in bookstores and retail outlets. All our books are put into the Ingram database, and can be ordered in every bookstore in the country.
No, we do not automatically put your book in bookstores. This is because bookstores carry very few books, reserving their limited space for established authors or books from publishers who are paying for shelf space.
You generally need to sell at least 25,000 copies before bookstores become interested in carrying your book. That’s the bad news. The good news is that being in bookstores doesn’t really matter anymore. A book sitting on a shelf doesn’t sell in most cases. In terms of buyer behavior, most people who shop at Barnes & Noble also shop on Amazon, so if they don’t see a book at Barnes & Noble, they’ll just go to Amazon. In other words, lack of bookstore distribution in and of itself doesn’t necessarily lose you very many sales.
The reality is, for almost all authors, being in a bookstore is purely about ego, and not about actual ROI. We don’t deny that going into a bookstore and seeing your book on the shelf is nice, but having a book in a bookstore does almost nothing in terms of sales or awareness. It is only a status object.