I have used Create Space to put my two books on Amazon both as a paperback and ebook. I selected the expanded distribution and I see my book on Barnes and Noble web site but not in store. Also my local grocery store chain is rather large and I would like to ask them to carry my books but I don't know what to tell them about where they can get them. When I go to Ingram web site there doesn't seem to be alot there to answer my question. I am sure it is obvious by now that I am a newbie, but I intend to do this for a very long time and I have a very long plan. I do not expect to get rich quick, or easy.
The easiest way to understand this is to walk into a physical store, like Barnes & Noble, and ask them. If you get a patient clerk at a non-busy time (i.e., don't try this Black Friday), you can have it spelled out for you. But the short answer is--unless you're going to offer a 50-55% discount to stores, they're not going to take your books. And if you do offer such a deep discount, your cover price will probably be non-competitive. Now, there are stores (including BN) that will take stock in for special events, like an author reading, if they feel the author is someone who'd draw crowds in that community.
Lightning Source distributes through Ingram, so my paperbacks are available. But the BN employee I spoke to took me behind the counter and showed me his computer screen and the novels were all categorized as "textbooks"--he said to prevent them from being "accidentally stocked." LOL (I have my discount rate set at 20%.) If you take off and become wildly famous--like 50 Shades--and people request your books, you might get stocked. Now, once you're available, even as POD, customers can order their books through the store. Anyone could walk into a BN and request one of my paperbacks and have one special-ordered. That's possible. And I know it happens, because I get more paperback orders paid through Lightning Source than I have sales on Amazon, so clearly the books are being sold in other ways. But LS, sadly, doesn't break it down for you like that. My gut feeling is that most of those orders are happening through Book Depository, and I know Createspace distributes to them too (keep an eye on your book, though, and make sure the cover image gets sent there! If not, you can email it to them yourself, and they are very quick to put it up).
You'll have better luck with small chains than large ones--if you have a small independent bookstore in your area, and you can sell yourself as a local author, they might stock your books (again, offer them something like a reading). Local is a sell, and famous author is a sell. I'm on the verge of having a large bookstore in the Pacific Northwest stock (at least temporarily) some POD paperbacks because the author is well-known and she'll travel there for a reading/signing. But even that was a tough sell, and I'm not sure they would have listened if she hadn't already done successful readings/signings there for other publishers.
Thank you so much for the reply. You explained this very well. I suspect after my books are more than 90 days out on Amazon they are going to fall in to the big garbage can until I release #3........we are only selling two or three books a day, so I have a long way to go. Thanks again!