It’s weird that authors don’t routinely get more info about their book’s distribution. I never asked, so this isn’t a complaint. I just find it funny that I’m making like a detective to figure out what’s going on. My conclusions:

1) The Whole World is getting great treatment in Borders pretty much everywhere: front table for three weeks, and face-out on the shelves after, every store I’ve seen. Thanks, Borders buyer, whoever you are!

2) Barnes and Noble is a bit more hit-or-miss. Some places it was face-out on a new fiction shelf, but not all. I was pretty unnerved, though, to discover that some stores never carried ANY copies. I thought earlier this week that a store had sold out, but it might be that it never had it. Here’s the weird thing, though: one B&N guy looked up The Whole World’s B&N distribution on the computer, and was impressed. So, when I found yet another one that didn’t carry it, I asked about their system. I’d been under the impression that chain stores had their decisions made nationally. But, I learned, that distribution is decided on a community basis, with books chosen specifically for each store. On one hand, I’m disappointed to not be everywhere (especially the California town where I once lived), BUT It’s smart to be targeted, isn’t it. So, upon, reflection, I say: Thanks, B&N buyer, whoever you are, for putting so much thought into finding my audience.

And while I was discovering all this yesterday, two things happened:

I went into a Starbucks for some caffeine, but the line was too long. I figured I could get a drink at the next bookstore instead. As I headed out the door, a man (probably the manager) asked me what drink I wanted. I gestured to the line, and said with a smile that I couldn’t wait (my mom and kids were in the car). He said that he’d get it immediately, what did I want? So I said a single-shot iced mocha, and a girl made it for me. No one in line revolted, which is a huge surprise all by itself. I gave the girl three dollars, but the manager(?) chased me down to return the money. I am neither young and hot, nor old and frail. I have no idea why he bought me a coffee, but it sure was nice!

Then, inexplicably, my shoes fell apart. Seriously: first the left one cracked in half, then the right one, then the right heel fell off. ??? They had elastic straps that held onto my feet despite the damage, and I didn’t dare remove them until I was home and ready to throw them away. Moral of the story: Don’t wear your party shoes to drive–carry them in a bag!