Online Ordering FAQs

Online Ordering FAQs

Hi there! If you want to place an order with us, that means you’re supporting a small, locally-owned business in good ol’ Lawrence, Kansas. Thank you! You’re what keeps us going!

Here are a few general notes about our ordering process.

Although our store is open 7 days a week, we aren’t processing orders ‘round the clock. Our ordering specialists are in store during typical business hours, Monday through Friday. So if you submit an order at 11 p.m. on a Friday, for example, it likely won't be processed that coming Monday morning.

If you’re ordering a book that we don’t have in store, we won’t be able to get it in and ready for you in just 1 or 2 business days. With the exception of megacorporations such as Amazon, the vast majority of bookstores like the Raven are ordering from the same distributors and publishers. That means that our ordering timelines are consistent with other indie bookstores using standard distribution channels!

With this in mind, it’s always smart to order your books with around a 2-week lead time, especially if you want them in time for a birthday, book club, holiday, or another special occasion. But let’s be real. Not even booksellers are immune to waiting until 30 minutes before the baby shower starts to frantically buy a couple of board books. Even if we can’t get the exact title you’re looking for in time, we’ve got 15+ extraordinary booksellers each with a unique literary specialty to help you find a solid alternative. And, boy, do we enjoy recommending some good books!

Thanks, as always, for loving books as much as we do and for shopping with us!

Q: How do I know if you have a book in stock at your store?

A: Please note that our website does not have an accurate reflection of our current in-store stock. If the website says the book you’re interested in is in stock at our warehouse, that doesn’t mean that we don’t also have it on hand in the store. The best way to check if we have a book or not is to give us a call at (785) 749-3300 or email us here.

Q: How long will it take for my order to arrive?

A: The quickest answer is that it depends! Each situation is a little bit different depending on what you’ve ordered and how you ordered it. The best way to get an accurate estimate is to contact us over email here, and we can look at the availability of the specific titles you want. Contacting us over email is preferable for this question, as it gives us time to look up your specific order and books.

Here are a few things that might impact how soon you get your order: If you’ve ordered a book online that we already have in stock, it might be just a matter of 1-3 business days. Other titles that we need to order from our distributor can take longer. Depending on which warehouse has the title available, it may take them 3-10 business days to get the book to us. Then, the book needs to undergo receiving on our end (and shipping, if you selected that option at checkout), which happens during normal business hours Monday through Friday. If you’ve ordered multiple books at once, chances are they’re all coming from different places and will arrive at the store at irregular intervals. For online orders, we often wait until every book gets in before we contact you.

All of this being said, it’s always best to start your shopping for special occasions early so we have enough time to get the right books for your loved ones!

Q: What do I do when your website says a book is out of print or hard to find?

A: First step is do not despair! Second step is to give us a call at (785) 749-3300 or email us here! Using our magical bookseller skills, we can do some sleuthing to try to locate your desired title. More often than not, we’re successful, or we can at least locate used options.

We also have a team of 15+ brilliant book enthusiasts on staff who are available to help you pick an alternative title that’s similar to what you’re looking for. And, hey, maybe it will be even better than the book you were originally looking for :)

Q: Can I special order things that aren't books, like journals and calendars?

A: If you find the item for sale on our website, then we can definitely get it for you!

If you don’t find the item using our website’s search function, we would need to special order it for you. Special ordering sidelines items (a.k.a. anything we sell that isn’t a book) is a little more complicated than putting in an order for a traditional book. Oftentimes, we have to meet bulk quantity minimums for sidelines orders, and those items are rarely returnable, so you would be obligated to pay for the item before receiving it.

While we can’t always special order sidelines items for you, it never hurts to ask! Shoot us an email at this account with the details of what you want, and we’re happy to look into it for you.

Q: Why does it take so long for me to get a book I've ordered?

A: Ha! Trick question! Assuming the book is still in print and available through the bookstore industry’s typical distribution channels, it really doesn’t take that long. There’s a common misconception that it takes a “long” time to receive an order you place with an independent business—the real question is why do you get your orders from Amazon so inhumanly fast? And the answer is that they exploit and overwork their employees, and they don’t obtain their products by ethical means.

It may seem like waiting a week for a book is a long time, but we promise we’re working as quickly as we can while maintaining our operations standards, which includes prioritizing our booksellers’ health, using better distribution networks, and making sure the books we’re giving you are beautiful and undamaged.

Q: Can I get used books through you?

A: Occasionally, we will source used books for customers who are looking for a title that is out of print or hard to find, although we do not stock used books on our shelves. If you’re curious as to whether we can order a used book for you, please contact us over email here.

Do note that we have to charge additional “middleman fees” when sourcing used books for customers. If you’d like to avoid those additional fees, we completely understand! We recommend that you try to order your used books through a highly-rated seller on—we like Alibris because they’re not affiliated with Amazon.

Q: Does the Raven buy used books?

A: We do not purchase used books, so please don’t wear yourself out lugging 50 pounds of well-loved tomes to our front door only to be turned away. Instead, check out The Dusty Bookshelf! They are a used bookstore also located on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence that purchases books from the public.