Have a question or need some help? Check through the list below and you'll likely find the answer:
WELCOME TO OUR
MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS!
Are you open?
Yes, but not the way you probably mean – the storefront is closed to browsing to help stop the spread of the virus, but we are working every day to fulfill your orders.
But we can still buy books?
100%! Orders can be placed online, and we have several no-contact fulfillment options including free shipping. We have over 3,000 books in-store and in-stock orders can be fulfilled same-day, just as if you stopped by the shop on a normal day. Anything not in-stock will be ready in a few days.
But how do I find what I’m looking for?
You can search all in-print books on our website here. You can also email us for personalized help with recommendations. We’ll get back to you as soon as we’re finished with the customers ahead of you, just like a normal day at the store. We’re often out on deliveries and supply runs, but it’s always worth a shot to call first if you prefer that! If you’re hankering for an old-fashioned lazy browse through new releases, we’ve refashioned the front of the store so our entire front-list selection is visible through the shop windows. Stop by and take a look!
Is it safe to get books at this time?
Absolutely. While nothing in life is risk-free, there’s no evidence that viral particles survive for more than a few minutes on surfaces like packages and books and we’re taking extensive precautions anyway. The real danger comes from swapping air in an enclosed space, so all our orders are fulfilled with no contact to prevent that.
Has COVID impacted order timing at all?
Yes. Our suppliers are taking extensive safety precautions in their warehouses and shipping carriers are overwhelmed, a combo of circumstances that has added several days to our restock shipments, which normally arrive in a matter of hours. We're doing everything we can to make up for this including ordering every day, added Saturday delivery, and personally picking up shipments, but things are still slowed. We're facing a deadly global pandemic at the moment and we feel that not having everything we want immediately after realizing we want it is one of its smallest consequences. We encourage cultivating patience and serenity as the virtues of choice during this time. We can recommend some books to help with that, as well!
How does curbside pickup work?
Once your order is ready, you’ll get an email with a link to our online pickup scheduler. Select your preferred day and time and we have it packed for you outside the shop with your name on the bag. All you do is grab and go! If you don’t like the online scheduler you can email us back with your preferred time and we’ll take it from there.
How does delivery work?
We leave your package on the porch! Nothing else is needed from you.
What’s your delivery range?
Within the Rondout Valley School District.
Is delivery quicker than other methods?
It seems so, but no! We've consolidated our delivery routes to once weekly (weather and staff permitting) in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint and accommodate an increase in pickup orders. This means your order may get to you as long as a week following processing time. We strongly recommend pickup if you're local and need something right away!
How do I pay if I can’t come in?
Easy! If you ordered through our webstore then you’re already done. If you ordered via phone or email, we ring you up when the order is ready and the register sends you a link to pay securely online, just as if you were standing in the shop. If you haven’t yet paid when picking up, there will be a printed invoice with instructions in your package that you can deal with when you get home. We don’t take payments in-person at the store because the purpose of all these precautions is to prevent interpersonal mingling.
What about contact-less payment apps?
Sure! We accept all of them. You can pay an invoice we send you with Apple Pay directly. If you'd like to use Venmo, Cash App, PayPal, or anything we haven't heard of yet, just tell us in your email or the "Order Comments" field of your online order and we'll get you sorted.
Can I just leave you cash or a check in an envelope when I pick up my order?
We'd rather you didn't. We don't accept personal checks, and during COVID we can't make change on-the-spot for cash. Your checking account comes with a free debit card (usually found at the bottom of a junk mail pile in the kitchen!) and you can use that to pay. If you don't have a checking account or credit card, just let us know and we'll figure out a plan!
When will you be open again?
About mid-2020 we started executing a plan to re-open for browsing after New York State had two weeks of declining new infections, which never happened. Then the case count started to rise precipitously and our plans were scuttled. Now (early 2021) with the virus worse than it ever was and a more infectious strain circulating, we are going to wait until there is a widely available vaccine. In short, we collectively blew it. But hang in there with us – it should be just a few more months now!
Can’t I just come in if I wear a mask?
No. Mask-wearing is less than 100% effective when you have extended lingering indoors, especially in an unventilated and distance-challenged space like ours.
Why is it that Other Store X is open with Precautions Y in place and you aren’t?
We only ask that you examine the precautions taken in these other places and see if they actually prevent swapping air (which is how the virus spreads). If not, please consider those risks rather than simply assuming it’s safe because they’re open. There's a very short list of manageable precautions we should take to stop this from getting worse, and at the top is cutting out non-essential indoor shopping. (We recommend familiarizing yourself with the list here, which also allows you to track the current status of the virus in your county). We want to keep you healthy!
ORDERING BOOKS ONLINE
How do I order print books online?
First, make sure you’re on our online bookstore linked here (our main site has links to other products we sell). Add books to your cart, then complete the checkout process as you would with any other online store. At the moment you’re required to create an account (it’s a technical glitch we’re working on), but don’t worry – we will never share your info!
I found the book I want but there are a lot of versions – which is the right one?
Most books are published in multiple editions (hardcover, large print, large format paperback, mass market paperback, Spanish-language, etc.), so double check that you’re getting the one you prefer – each book’s details are at the bottom of its page. New hardcover books generally don’t get a paperback version for at least a year after release, if ever, so double check the publication date on those. You can always pre-order an edition that hasn’t been released yet if you don’t mind waiting!
I’m having trouble with the search function. Is there a trick for finding what I need?
If you need a specific title or author, type those in to the search field and the site should return the correct results immediately. You can search by keyword, as well (for example: dinosaurs, pizza, cats). If you’d rather browse, you can click through the list of subjects in the left sidebar. Clicking these will return a more manageable crop of books closer to what you’re in the mood for. Email us if you're stuck!
I’m typing the exact title I want but it keeps saying it can’t be found!
This is usually due to a misspelled word or a misremembered phrase in the title. For example, if you’re looking for “Geology of the Hudson Valley” but you type “Geology IN the Hudson Valley” or “Geography of the Hudson Valley” you won’t get very far. You can try searching for fewer words, or just the part of the book title you remember – the site will return results with every book that has that specific combination of words, so sometimes less is more. If you’re sure everything’s spelled right, email us and we’ll investigate!
How do I use a gift card?
Type your gift card number in the “Order Comments” field at the end of the checkout process. Your credit card won’t be charged until we personally review the order on our end and start to process it – we’ll apply the gift card first.
How do I use a coupon code?
There’s a field for this at the top of the checkout screen, but if anything goes wrong or you miss it, you can also type this into the “Order Comments” field and we’ll apply it before charging your card.
I can’t complete the checkout process and it’s hanging up at the end.
The most common cause of this is incomplete info in required fields. If you try to submit an order with incomplete info it simply won’t advance to the next step, which can feel like a hung-up webpage, even though it isn’t – scroll up and you should see red-flagged text indicating the missing spots. If you’re still having trouble, email us your order and we’ll ring you up manually at the shop.
Why do I have to enter all this personal info if I’m just going to pick up the books?
Mostly because of credit card security – we need addresses and phone numbers to verify and flag a warning if something seems fishy. It’s also because the site doesn’t know if you need an order shipped until you checkout and select your fulfillment option, so the fields stay required just in case. But once you create an account, all of this will save so you don’t have to do it again.
Once I place an order, will it save my credit card for next time?
No, but if you'd like us to save a credit card on file, email your order and we'll ring you up manually at the shop. Once you've paid that way, our point-of-sale system will give you the option to save your card info, which is stored in an encrypted server and isn't viewable by anyone at Postmark.
I can’t log in / I’m stuck in a password reset loop.
The most common cause of this is trying to use an incorrect username. You can’t use your email address in this field and have to use the unique username you chose when creating your account. Annoying? We agree! We’re on a waiting list for an upgrade that will fix this. In the meantime, we recommend writing down your log-in info or using a password saver program to help you remember it. We can send you your username if you forgot it; just let us know.
I have my correct log-in info, but I still can’t log in.
As trite as it sounds, we’ve found that clearing your cache, reloading the page, restarting the browser, and/or using a different browser will fix this in most cases – just the standard internet 1.0 solutions! After multiple failed log-in attempts, the site can get confused and give up, so just kick the tires a bit and try again. If you’re still stuck after this (which is rare), email us and we’ll ring you up manually at the shop.
Is everything on the website available in the store?
No, and we can't emphasize this enough! The online bookstore reflects what we have at the warehouse level and is not our curated in-store selection. This makes it easier for folks to browse and order anything you want, but can be difficult if you need something right away. If that's the case for you, send us an email about what you’re looking for and we’ll give you some recommendations from what we have on-shelf today!
A book I want says, "contact the store" or something similar -- what does that mean?
This book is most likely out-of-print (meaning it's not published anymore) or backordered (temporarily unavailable). If you see any unusual status message, drop us a line and we'll investigate. If you'd rather call we can help you during normal store hours or leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we're finished helping the customer ahead of you! ** NOTE: During the pandemic we strongly recommend emailing your inquiries. Due to several added services and reduced staff we can't guarantee someone will be available to take your call, but someone will get back to your email shortly. **
How long will it take to complete my order?
It will be ready same-day if we have it, or usually within two business days if not. Some out-of-stock books take a little longer to get here, so the best way to estimate is take the highest number of days of processing time listed for the book you want, then add the highest number of days of shipping time. For example, if a title says “Ships in 1-5 Days” and you want it sent “Ground Shipping (2-5 Days)”, take the highest estimated processing time (5 days) and add the highest estimated shipping time (5 days) for a total of 10 business days, not including weekends and holidays. It will take much less time in most cases, but that's a good way to plan if you need it by a certain day. ** NOTE: COVID has caused shipping delays to our restock orders (see COVID-specific questions above). We cannot guarantee fulfillment timing at the moment. **
I really need something soon and this sounds dicey – can I get anything today?
Absolutely! Just email us if you have an urgent need like a birthday gift and we will find you something already in-stock. You can also tell us in the “Order Comments” field that you have a time constraint and we’ll send you a more personalized timing estimate – it’s the same as sending us an email.
ORDERING NON-BOOK ITEMS ONLINE
How do I buy gift cards?
We recommend sending an electronic gift card, which you can buy directly here. This sends an email to the recipient AND creates an account for them at the store with the gift card attached, which makes it super easy for us to charge it next time they want to buy something. We can also load a plastic gift card for pickup, delivery, or shipping if you prefer that. There’s no way to replace it if lost – plastic gift cards must be treated like cash. But they are super cute (ours feature art by our favorite children’s book illustrators) so we understand if you prefer them!
Do you sell eBooks?
We do! Each title on our online bookstore has an eBook option if you prefer that format – just click that one and checkout as normal. You can also visit our eBook-specific website here. Note that non-physical media is final sale and non-returnable.
Do you sell audiobooks?
We do! For CDs and other physical media, you can search for the title on our online bookstore, find the right format, and checkout as normal. For streaming audio, visit our audio-specific website here, hosted by Libro.fm – here you can buy individual audiobooks a la carte, or sign up for a one-book-a-month subscription, just like Audible. Note that non-physical media is final sale and non-returnable.
What about flowers?
Sure! At the moment these can't be purchased online but you can contact us and we'll get you sorted. We need a few days’ notice in most cases as all flower arrangements are made to order during the pandemic but email us to start. You can see sample sizes and price ranges here.
How about puzzles?
What about birthday cards/journals/candles/etc.?
No problem! All our stationery and non-book gifts can be browsed and purchased here. That reflects what we have in-store now.
EVENTS, MARKETING, & SALES INQUIRIES
Does your store have author events?
We love author events! We just have them off-site, given that our space is 480 square feet, most of that filled with store fixtures and tables. Drop us a line if you have an idea for an event that might work with some of our favorite partner venues including some of the area's best bars, hotels, galleries, and restaurants. ** NOTE: During the pandemic we're not considering any events, including virtual ones. **
How does an off-site event work?
It's a lot of fun, actually. First, we find the right venue for the event, one that's already set up to accommodate crowds of people with refreshments on-site and ready to go. We set up what we call our "Mobile Bookstore Package," a transportable mini-version of everything we have in-store including cash register, graphics and signage, and book displays. During and after the event we sell your books to customers and handle all the logistics of ordering stock and having it ready on-site.
I'm an author -- will you carry my book?
First, congratulations on the new book! And the answer is, "It depends." There are a lot of factors weighing on our decision to carry a book preemptively in-store, no matter who published it. It's best to follow the guidelines we lay out in our sales & marketing instructions here, but it boils down to emailing us a pitch with all the relevant info we need to consider any book for our shelves. If your publisher has a listing for it on their site or Edelweiss you can just send us that link, which has everything we need. If we think our clientele will buy it, we will definitely stock it. We don't accept inquiries in-person or over the phone while we're helping customers -- the answer to those will always be "No."
I'm a publisher / manufacturer -- can I send you some marketing material or product samples?
Please do! The products/books should fit the vibe of our store and be available to order through established national distributors. Mailing instructions are posted here -- please pay close attention to the details!
I tired to mail you something but it got returned. What's up?
It seems like you didn't follow the guidelines below! We can't accept USPS deliveries at our store due to arcane small town reasons. You can send us FedEx, UPS, and email, though!
How do I pay an invoice with a gift card? It's not working for me.
First, enter the gift card number on the back of your card in the appropriate field. Then, enter the amount you'd like to charge to the gift card. If the amount you owe is lower than the card balance, type the invoice amount and you're done. If it's higher than the card balance, type the full amount of the card (yes, you need to type it, unfortunately!). You should then get a prompt for a credit card number to pay the balance.
Can I sell you my used books?
No, we only sell new books. There are several fantastic used and antiquarian booksellers in our area you can try, though (as book nerds, we shop them ourselves). Just Google those terms and you should find them right away.
Are you hiring?
Not at the moment, and when we are it's typically for very occasional pick-up hours rather than a steady schedule. If this sounds like it might work for you and you have publishing, retail, or customer service experience, feel free to fill out our online form here and we'll hang on to it should the need arise.