Ah, here's some clarification from B&N courtesy of TeleRead (emphasis mine):
As noted in our announcement last week, Barnes & Noble is rolling out stunning nook displays in its highest-volume stores. There will be nook demonstration units and signage in all Barnes & Noble stores, giving our customers the opportunity to see, touch and hold nook. While displays and demo units are being installed in stores, our booksellers are able to take in-store nook pre-orders that can be delivered to the customer’s home when the product becomes available.
While it’s always difficult to predict demand on a new product, and early from response from consumers is strong, Barnes & Noble expects to have nook eBook readers in stock in the majority of its stores by the peak holiday season and plans to have nook devices in stock in all of its stores by early next year. If the product is out of stock or not available in a particular store, our booksellers can help facilitate an in-store order that will be shipped to the customer’s home.