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COVID-19 and Online Order FAQ

We highly encourage everyone to continue utilizing our website for contact-free book orders! We always check our store stock first, so if we have a title on our shelves you'll be the first to know, no browsing necessary. We are happy to continue shipping books wherever they need to go, and will continue offering a contact-free store pickup option.

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Dear Readers,

Due to the magnitude of rising COVID-19 cases in Chicago, we are switching back to our March-July model of CURBSIDE PICKUP ONLY effective immediately. Our hours of operation will remain the same. If you have an unpaid order waiting in the store for you, give us a call at 773-293-2665 to pay by phone and we will put it out on our beloved pickup cart for you.

As the holidays get closer, we will be booking individual in-store appointments where you can see what’s new and pick out gifts for your whole list. We will let you know as soon as the logistics of those are finalized. 

Thank you all for your understanding, support, and passion for books (we see you, online orders!). It really is what keeps us going in every sense.

An important note: Please wait until you are notified your order is ready for pickup! We may need to order your book(s) into the store, and that can take a couple days. We will be sure to let you know as soon as they arrive!

We appreciate your patience as response times might be slower than usual due to, well, everything currently going on! We have but two phone lines, and are currently adhering to social distancing guidelines for our reduced staff. If you are unable to reach a bookseller when you call, we are likely busy assisting other customers. Feel free to call us back another time, place your order online with no human interaction necessary, or shoot us an email at words@bookcellarinc.com and we will be sure to get back to you just as soon as we possibly can. Please note: We will only be manning the store phones Monday - Friday from 10am - 6pm and Saturday from 10am - 4pm. If you attempt to reach us outside of these hours, we will not be there to answer. 

Now, here are some answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: How do I support you without coming in to the store?
A: We are still taking orders! You are welcome to place an order through our website, to be shipped directly to the address of your choosing, or to be picked up in-store (all online orders for pickup are contact-free by default!)

If you are interested in using a GIFT CARD for your order, please be sure to select the Credit Card payment option upon Checkout. If you select PayPal as your payment option you will automatically be charged, but as long as you opt to pay with a credit card we will easily be able to adjust your order before doing so. Make sure to provide us with the gift card number as well! If you do select to pay with PayPal we do not have that option. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience!

Q: COVID cases are rising in Chicago and I have a whole list of gifts to buy! How can you ensure I get them in time for the holidays if businesses have to shut down in-person browsing again?
Web orders are the best way to ensure you get your gifts in time, especially if you place them pre-Thanksgiving!  As of right now, we cannot guarantee a book will be here in time for Christmas for any orders placed December 16 or later.

Q: I placed my order on Saturday. It's Sunday. Why haven't I heard from you? 
A: We are currently not fulfilling orders on the weekends. Any orders placed after 11 AM on Friday will be processed the following Monday morning.

Q: I placed my order and haven't heard anything from you in a few days. What's up?
A: If you haven't heard anything from us at all about your order, that means that something is backordered and/or out of stock at our distributor's warehouses. Please feel free to reach out if you'd like more information, but we promise we are not ignoring you! We circle back on all unfulfilled orders daily to see if/when we can fulfill them, and one of us will eyeball and log your order within a couple days of when you initially placed it, with the exception of the weekends.

On that note, we also check on ALL backordered books every single weekday morning, so we promise as soon as any copies at all are available one will be heading into the store for you!

Q: I saw on your website that this book is marked "Available." Can I pick it up today?
A: Please disregard the "Availability" status our website provides for products. Our website is not synced up with our store inventory. Availability typically refers to whether something is still in print of not. If you do need to know whether we have something on the shelves before you make an online purchase, please call the store at (773) 293-2665, or send us an email at words@bookcellarinc.com for the fastest response and most accurate information.

Q: You sent me tracking information for my book(s), but I haven't received the package yet. How do I get more info about this?
A: We are aware that USPS shipping times sometimes run slow. After many hours of back and forths with both the postal service and our distributor, we have discovered that due to the unprecedented backlog USPS is currently facing, particularly in large markets such as Chicago, packages are remaining at postal facilities much longer than usual. This is unfortunately even true for packages labeled priority mail. With such a large portion of the population currently depending on delivery for both essential and nonessential goods due to coronavirus, shipping times are simply stretching long. The good news is the vast majority of orders are now once again being delivered with no delays! If you do encounter any issues with shipping, please contact us directly. We are happy to troubleshoot as needed and if the worst does happen and USPS misplaces your books, we can provide replacements as long as we are notified of the lost package in a timely manner. 

Q: I miss your events. Are you still doing them?
A: While we have pressed pause on our in-store events, we're hosting plenty of wonderful authors (and books!) virtually! All events posted on our Events Calendar will be virtual, and we will provide the use of our Zoom for all book club meetings until further notice.

If you are looking for additional ways to support The Book Cellar right now, here are a few things you can do:

  • Preorder, preorder, preorder!!! Seriously folks, especially as we're entering Autumn and the holiday season looms, preordering is incredibly important this year. Supply lines across the board have slowed and printers are facing massive backlogs, so if there's a new book coming out that you're desperate to read or determined to gift to someone in 2020, PLACE THAT ORDER RIGHT NOW!!!
  • Buy some bottles of wine/beer, or take a moment to look through our greeting card selection! We have a great selection of enjoyable non-book items for sale at the store. And yes, that does include puzzles!
  • Buy a Gift Card! You now have the option to purchase a Book Cellar Gift Card directly through our website. We are happy to mail the Gift Card to you for free if you provide your shipping address! This is a great way to support all local businesses and restaurants right now, and gives you something fun to look forward to once this is all over!
  • Subscribe to libro.fm! Libro.fm partners with independent bookstores across the nation to provide readers easy access to the wide world of audiobooks, while still allowing them to support their local neighborhood bookstore.
  • Check out our page on Bookshop! Bookshop is an online bookstore whose sole mission is supporting local, independent bookstores. Simply search your favorite local bookstore, and the proceeds from your online purchase will go directly to them! If you're struggling with our website, or are just curious to checkout a new online ordering platform (Am*zon who??), be sure to take a look! --> https://bookshop.org/shop/bookcellarchicago

The whirlwind of emotions we have experienced is hard to describe. It's our job to deal with words, but it's almost impossible to express how grateful we are to all of you who placed orders, bought gift cards, asked for recommendations, stocked up on wine, promoted us on your social media channels, or left messages of encouragement and support. We truly feel the love you have for your community and for indie bookstores in general.

We know things are changing quickly out there, and we just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU for your continued support during these uncertain times. We'll never stop saying it! Wherever you're sheltering, stay safe and stay sane out there. It's our firm belief that stories are necessary to manage any uncertainty or crisis.

Happy reading!

-The Book Cellar Staff

All titles are subject to availability. Prices Subject to Change. Please call (773) 293-2665 to confirm.
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