A Barnes & Noble book signing with one book

“It was almost like a scene out of ‘Spinal Tap’ or something like that.”

That’s how comedian and “30 Rock” star Judah Friedlander describes his “completely ridiculous” book-signing event at the Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles. In a podcast interview with Greg Fitzsimmons, Friedlander discusses his fights with the publisher of “How to Beat Up Anybody” and his book tour nightmare.

I’m walking around the [Barnes & Noble in LA] I don’t see any copies of my book on display. Normally when you do a book signing you’re supposed to have a special display set up. … I started looking around some more and I’m like wait, they have no books at all in the whole store — and there’s a fair amount of people there to see the book signing.

I’m like what’s going on? They’re like, ‘Yeah, they’re somewhere in the loading dock at LAX airport, that’s where the books are. They’re trying to locate them now.’

I’ve been in this business over 20 years and I know bullshit when I hear it, and there’s no way they’re actually looking for it on the loading docks of LAX airport. I found out later they’d actually known there was a problem with the fucking shipment of books for two days.

Friedlander went ahead and performed for the crowd — “I do a 30-minute show – slide presentation of photos from the book, and I basically give a fake instructional karate class” — and then was approached by a Barnes & Noble employee.

[He said] ‘I saved one because I knew you were coming, and i wanted to get one for myself, but since there are no books I guess you should sell it.’

So I actually sold one book, and signed one book. So it was literally a book signing, and not a books signing.

Any authors care to share their book-signing nightmares — and successes — in the comments section?

* Listen to the Judah Friedlander/Greg Fitzsimmons podcast



  1. That the one Barnes and Noble employee should get some praise for giving up his copy of the book. I’m sure some selfish employees would have just had Judah Friedlander sign his copy and told everyone else to get lost.

  2. sally said:

    john kealy – signings are ultimately the responsibility of the community relations mgr or events mgr, and they must have failed to inform the staff about the event.

    b&n is also often sent events from AP & it is not their job to promote the event. all they have to do is post the event on the website & that’s it.