This question just came in to The Stranger:

I was at the downtown Seattle B&N today saw that Glenn Beck is the "Featured Author" (near the escalators). What is that about?

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That's a good question, anonymous questioner! I have a call out to Jan Lindstrom, Barnes & Noble's Regional Community Relations Manager for the west coast, and if she gets back to me, I'll let you know. Here's what I think is going on: Speaking as someone who worked at Borders, there was not a single display in the bookstore that was not paid for by publishers—if you walked by a faced-out book, it's because someone paid to place a book where you'd see it. I don't have firsthand experience at Barnes & Noble, but I believe the same principle is at work there: Beck's publisher is probably promoting him chain-wide. (This is a big reason why I like independent bookstores: Books that are displayed in indie shops are generally placed there because the booksellers like them.)

The important takeaway here is that telling the employees you are annoyed by having Glenn Beck as the featured writer is not going to make one bit of difference besides making a bookseller feel bad. If it is a paid-for display, those sales happen on the national level. You'd be better off letting them know right here.

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