F.A.Q.

Event date: 
Monday, March 16, 2020 - 12:00am to Friday, June 5, 2020 - 11:45pm

No Curbside Pickup Memorial Day (Mon, May 25) - will resume Tues, May 26

Orders placed after 3pm on Friday, May 22 through Monday, May 25 will be processed on Tuesday, May 26

Curbside Pickup FAQ

Q: I placed an order for curbside pickup, what now? (if you want to know how to order, scroll down to Web Order FAQ)

  1. If you chose pay by phone as your payment method, wait for us to call you. We won’t move forward with your order until we’ve talked to you on the phone. However, please do not call us before we call you as we may not be in the store when you call or when you place your order. To ensure the quickest processing time, please add our store number(s) to your contact list: 610-454-0640 and 610-454-0641.
  2. Wait to receive an email from us letting you know that your order is complete. If you chose curbside pickup, this indicates that your order will be ready during the next curbside delivery time slot, 3pm to 5pm Monday through Friday. If the book is on hand and you ordered before noon, you will most likely be able to pick it up the same day. If you have not received an email confirming completion of your order, your order is NOT ready and NOT available for pick up yet.
  3. Once you’ve gotten your confirmation email, head to the store during one of the designated curbside pickup times (3 to 5pm Monday through Friday) and you don’t have to call to let us know when you’re coming just call to let us know that you’re here and tell us the following:
    • Name the order is under
    • Order number
    • Color, make and model of your car.

Once you’ve done that, sit tight and roll down a window for a seat in your car that does not have a passenger in it. We will bring your book out and place it on the seat through the window you’ve rolled down.

Q: I chose direct delivery or to have my book shipped – when will I get my book?
A: If you chose direct delivery and the book is on hand, you’ll receive a confirmation that your order is complete, typically within 48 hours. This means that we are on our way to deliver the book to your house. If the book was not on hand, you’ll still receive the completed email when we’ve set out to deliver it, but it will probably be within 3 to 7 business days of when you ordered the book

If you chose to have your book shipped via our FREE shipping and the book you requested is on our shelves, it will ship within 48 hours of receipt of your order and you’ll receive a confirmation of when it is completed when it ships. As this email is automated, it will not include a tracking number. If you would like a tracking number for your order, please request it in the order comments when placing your order. If you choose free shipping and the book is not on our shelves, we’ll be ordering it from the warehouse to come to the store, and then shipping the book from the store. This will take 3 to 7 days and you’ll receive an automated completed email when it ships from the store and if you’d like a tracking number, please request it in the order comments.

If you chose any shipping method other than FREE shipping, and the books are not currently in our inventory, your order will ship from the warehouse and you’ll receive a shipping notification from the warehouse when your book is shipped. You will NOT receive a completed confirmation email from the store because we will not be handling the book that you requested in anyway. If you choose expedited shipping and the books are on our shelves, they will ship from the store and you will not receive a tracking number unless you request it in the order comments.

Web Order FAQ

Q: What are my options for getting a book from Towne Book Center?
A: We are now offering three options for getting books from Towne Book Center: curbside pickup, direct delivery where we’ll deliver the books to you personally from the store (available for Collegeville and immediately neighboring zip codes), and shipping from the store. If you ordered before Wednesday, May 20, your book will be shipped to you from our warehouse. If you choose to have a book shipped starting on May 20, your book will be mailed from the store.

Q: How do I know if you have a book on your shelves?
A: Every book on the website has an availability status right under the “add to cart” button on its book page (in lists this is under the cover) – this status is very important. If it’s on our shelves, it will say “Currently on our shelves.” If it’s not, it will say a number of different things and the next question indicates what statuses are NOT available for ordering in any way.

Q: Are there any books that I can’t order?
A: When you’ve found a book you would like to order, under the “Add to Cart” option is a status option. If the book does not say “On Our Shelves,” “Not in Stock – Usually Available in 1-5 Days,” “Backordered,” or “Coming Soon – Available for Pre-Order Now,” we most likely WILL NOT be able to get this book for you and it WILL delay the processing of your web order.

Q: Do I have to do a web order if I want curbside pickup or direct delivery?
A: Yes, for the time being all orders must be placed on our website. We’re doing this for a couple of reasons, but primarily because it will allow us to send you an automated email when your order is available for curbside pickup which will make the process smoother all around.

Q: Even though I have to place the order online, do I have to pay online?
A: Good news – you don’t have to pay online even though the order has to be placed online. We’ll be adding a new payment option, “Pay at Store,” and this way we can ring it up on the store POS system. Once we receive the order, we’ll call you (so be sure to include your phone number) and process the order at the store over the phone. This option also allows us to offer teacher, military, clergy and book club discounts that we would normally do, as well as take off any $5 coupons and accept gift cards!

Q: How do I navigate your website?
A: Our website works best on a computer or tablet and while it does work on cell phones, in order to see all of the available options, you need to rotate your screen so that you are looking at the site horizontally instead of vertically. We have two search bars on our site, you will want to use the first one on the page, not the one under the heading “SEARCH EBOOKS,” unless you are looking for eBooks. We apologize for any confusion that this causes and if you cannot find what you are looking for, please email our manager, Sarah, at sarah@townebc.com.

Q: How do I place a web order?
A: Visit our website at www.townebc.com and use the search bar to find books that you are interested in and click "add to cart." Once you have made all of your selections, complete your check out as you woulld on most online shopping platforms. For book suggestions, please visit our blog (townebookcenter.wordpress.com/), or check out our curated book lists (www.townebc.com/curated-book-lists) which includes staff picks and book club books.

Q: Why are you charging me NY tax when I live in Pennsylvania?
A: If you choose pay online, our eCommerce site is run by the American Booksellers Association which is in White Plains NY. As they are the ones technically processing the credit card transactions on our behalf, we must charge NY tax. Unfortunately, this is something that we cannot change, and we apologize for the inconvenience. However, if you choose the new “Pay by Phone” option that we will be offering, we’ll call you to process payment and you won’t have to pay NY sales tax because the sale will be taking place entirely in PA (you’ll still have to pay PA taxes however.)

Q: Are you offering FREE shipping?
A: YES! Towne Book Center is paying the warehouse the cost for media mail shipping on all orders and offering that option free of charge to our customers. If you would like your books sooner, other shipping options are available but require payment for shipping.

Q: Can I ship books to someone other than myself?
A: YES! We can ship to anywhere in the US, we just ask that you double check the address that you are requesting the books be sent to. We’ve had to do a lot of follow ups and Googling to correct incorrect addresses.

Q: I am a member of your rewards program/get a teacher discount/want the book club discount/want to apply a $5 coupon – can I do that online?
A: As discounts and coupons are tied to our in-store point-of-sales (POS) system and that is not directly connected to our ecommerce site, you’ll want to choose our new “Pat At Store” option when you check out so we can give you a call and ring you up on our store POS system. As we have over a thousand sales to enter in from the last two months, we’ll be slowly but surely processing them in our store POS and offer store credit for the difference that accounts for your discount (be sure to fill out our form at the end of this paragraph to let us know you want it) and all accrued coupons generated from web orders will print. To ensure that we are able to connect your web order to your account, please include account information in the comments section of your order, or fill out our brief Google Form HERE.

Q: I ordered a book from Towne a while ago, but it hasn’t shipped yet/I haven’t gotten a completed email. What do I do?
A: May 20 and after: We’re fulfilling books directly from the store – this means that when you order a book that is not currently on our shelves (if it says “ships in 1-5 days), that means it is being ordered by us at the store to be shipped to the store, and then repackaged and shipped to you if you choose free shipping. If you choose any sort of expedited shipping option that you choose to pay for, your order will ship to you directly from the warehouse if we do not have it on hand (if it is “on our shelves” it will ship from the store).
Before May 20: The warehouse is currently operating on a 1-5 day delay in processing and shipping orders. We are processing your orders within 24 hours (except on Sundays) in order to keep things moving as fast as we can on our end. If it's beyond the 1-5 day window, when you ordered the book, what was its status? If backordered, it most likely wasn’t available when you requested it and might take an extra week or two to ship from the warehouse. If it was a pre-order, it cannot ship until the book is released. If the book is currently on our shelves, please be aware that the copy on our shelves is NOT the copy you will receive and the book may be backordered at the warehouse. We have recently been informed (4/30/2020) that the warehouse may not always be sending an email verification of shipping. We apologize for the inconvenience and we have been assured that there are no shipping issues, this is just due to the high volume of orders being sent to the warehouse. For more specific inquiries, please contact our manager, Sarah, at sarah@townebc.com.

Q: I got a shipping notification from the warehouse, but when I check the tracking, it’s not updated. Where is my order?
A: Unfortunately, once you get the tracking number from the warehouse, your book is out of their hands and in the hands of USPS if you choose free shipping. At this point, there is nothing further that we can do, besides looking up the same tracking number sent to you. We have noticed that due to the high volume of packages shipping with USPS right now, they have not been nearly as diligent at scanning every item as it moves through their distribution process, so even if it looks like it is sitting somewhere, it is almost certainly en-route, but hasn’t been scanned. At this point, the only advice we can offer is to sit tight and be patient, and we’re sorry we cannot be more helpful than that once your order gets to this stage.

Q: I need a personalized recommendation for a book, can you pick out books for me?
A: While our number one goal is to provide the greatest customer service that we can during this time, we have only two people working at the store undertaking the monumental task of processing orders, answering emails and inquiries, shipping and receiving a backlog of 20,000 books (our manager Sarah and owner Drew) and so we do not yet have a lot of time for personalized recommendations. We hope that this will change very shortly and apologize for the inconvenience here. A number of our staff members who are still home have been putting together curated book lists and we hope you’ll check them out here: https://www.townebc.com/curated-book-lists as a starting point for your digital browsing.

Q: I preordered books that haven’t yet been released before you started doing curbside pickup – will they still be sent to me for free?
A: If this is the method in which you would like to receive your books, absolutely! We will, however, be reaching out to you once the book arrives and you’ll have the option to pick the book up via curbside delivery (or in the store, depending on the store status on the release date).

Q: My book arrived from the warehouse damaged - what should I do?
A: We're so sorry your book arrived in a less than pristine condition. While this is rare, if it does happen to you, please email our manager Sarah at sarah@townebc.com and include a photo of the nature of the damage. She will have a replacement copy sent to you from the warehouse and will ask you to hold onto the damaged copy until we are able to reopen the store. Once the store is reopened, we'll reach out and let you know, and we'll kindly ask that you bring the damaged copy in as soon as you are able so we can send it back to the warehouse.

General FAQ

Q: How can we support the store when we can’t browse the shelves in person?
A: We’re so excited you want to help! Placing a web order through our website, www.townebc.com, is the best way that you can support our store during this time. We also have a page with a curated book lists (www.townebc.com/curated-book-lists) to check out if you’re not sure what you’re in the mood to read. Gift card purchases are also great and you can do those as a web order as well here: https://www.townebc.com/towne-book-center-gift-card

Q: Are there options for audio and eBooks to support you too?
A: Absolutely! You can visit our affiliate pages with Libro.fm for audiobooks at www.libro.fm/townebc and My Must Reads for eBooks at townebookcenter.papertrell.com/!

Q: Where can I keep up with everything related to the store while I’m not able to browse in person?
A: Check out our Linktr.ee at linktr.ee/townebookcenter for links to our new store blog, YouTube channel, website, curated book lists, social media, and more!

Q: Will the book clubs be meeting virtually?
A: Some of our book clubs have chosen to have virtual meetings during this time while others have decided to delay reading their current selections. Our store blog and Facebook are the best place to find information on which book clubs are meeting virtually and the meeting link will be posted on the book club's main page - https://www.townebc.com/book-clubs. Sometimes the link might not be up until the day before the scheduled meeting so it’s best to check every few days leading up to the meeting date.

Q: Will you be hosting author events virtually?
A: We have left the decision to have virtual events with our April authors up to the authors. Their event pages on our website and Facebook will be updated with information as they provide it to us.

Q: I sent an email to customer service or used the contact us option on your website but I haven’t heard back – why aren’t you answering my inquiry?
A: As we continue the slow process of reopening, we still do not have the staff to check this email at this time. If you have a pressing inquiry, please email our manager Sarah at sarah@townebc.com.

Q: Are you offering curbside pickup?
A: As of Wednesday, May 20th, YES! Curbside pickup will be available Monday through Friday from 3pm to 5pm. Please check out the curbside specific FAQ at the top of this page!

Q: Are you social distancing?
A: Absolutely! While there’s only two of us ever in the store at one time (and usually only one), we’re lucky to have a huge store and a separate receiving room so we’re being as safe as safe can be!

Event address: 
220 Plaza Drive
Suite B-3
Collegeville, PA 19426

Order Signed Copies of Ghosts of Harvard!

Want a signed copy of Francesca Serritella's debut novel Ghosts of Harvard? Order here and include in the comments how you'd like it personalized!

If you ordered before noon on Monday, May 4th, your book was shipped on Monday, May 4th. Subsequent orders will be processed and shipped directly by Francesca. Please choose our free shipping option, expedited shipping is not available for this title.