No one’s going to whack you with a wet noodle if you don’t want to read at your book signing. What you do at a signing is up to you and the bookseller hosting it, and typically they’ll ask you your preference. If they suggest a reading, though, give it serious thought. Booksellers have a good handle on their store’s clientele and know what they’ll respond to. Happier customers translates to higher sales. If a fear of public speaking is behind your reluctance, I beg you to make squelching that fear your next New Year’s resolution. These days, the bulk of the promotion is on YOUR shoulders. Nothing creates loyal readers better than a personal experience with an author in classrooms, writers’ group meetings, and, yes, book signings.
The EditorP.S. For more on this topic, read Publishing Biz