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FAQ for Shopping on the Bookshop Santa Cruz Website

Thank you so much for shopping with Bookshop Santa Cruz, via our website, While we hope your experience using our website is comfortable and intuitive, we have provided answers to the questions below for clarity and reference. If you have a question that is not answered here, you can contact us by emailing, or calling us at 831-423-0900 during our business hours.

Website Navigation | Order Processing | Pick Up and Delivery | Gift Cards | Cancellations and Refunds

Website Navigation

How can I tell if a book is on your shelves from your website?

All books* listed on the Bookshop Santa Cruz website have an "availability" status. If you are viewing a title within a list (e.g. on a page for a book list we have curated, or via search you have preformed on our website), this status will be labeled and listed below the book's price. If you are viewing a book individually, on its own page, the availability will be marked in bold underneath the "Add to Cart" and "Add to Wishlist" buttons. The availability statuses are:

  • On Our Shelves Now: means that we had the book on our shelves as of the last time our inventory synced with our website.
  • Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days: the book (or that edition of that book) is not on our shelves as of our last inventory sync, but is available to us to order a copy or copies for you via our distributor. The delivery time varies depending on the location of the distributor's warehouse we will be getting your book from - if your order is time sensitive, we recommend checking first with our staff by calling us at 831-423-0900 during business hours, or emailing us at to see how how quickly a particular book might deliver.
  • Backordered: the book is not on our shelves, and is not currently in stock at our distributor, but our distributor does have more on order. Sometimes the distributor or publisher is able to provide information on when books in this status will be available again, but not always. 
  • "Hard to Find" or "Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability" the book is not on our shelves, it is out of stock at our distributor, and they do not have any copies on order, or it is otherwise unavailable to them. Books with this status are usually out of print - however, sometimes only the specific edition you ordered is out of print, or the book is in print, but available exclusively via direct sale from the author or publisher. We are sometimes able to source secondhand or used copies of such books. If you are interested in a book with this status, we recommend emailing us at for further information.
  • Not Yet Published: either the book, or that particular edition of the book, is not available yet. The publication date will be listed below the Availability status if you are looking at a book in a list, or at the bottom of a single book's page.

Bookshop Santa Cruz's inventory syncs with our website once a day, after our business hours.

*Signed and Autographed books, and some of our Local Author books are manually added to our website, and cannot display the same availability information. Usually if these books are listed on our website, it means we have them on our shelves. If you have a questions about one of these books, please send us an email at or call us during business hours at 831-423-0900, and select the option to speak with one of our booksellers.

How can I find a book on your website?

To find a book on our website, you can search by title, author, or keyword. Results will automatically be sorted by "Relevance," but you can change that selection to "In-Stock", to order your search results by which books or editions are on our shelves now, or most recently were.

How can I browse books on your website?

If you check under "Bookseller Recommendations" you will find book lists put together by Bookshop Santa Cruz staff, newly published books, as well as recommendations from our in-store Staff Favorite's shelves, and our published newsletters. You can also browse all of our staffs' recommendations by subject. If you go to "Browse By Subject Recommendations" option, you can also browse all books by subject. If you are looking for a specific book or author, you can use the search bar at the top.

How can I get a recommendation?

If you check under "Browse By Subject Recommendations" you can browse all of our staff's recommendations by subject. To get a more specific recommendation, you can use our Ask a Bookseller service to submit more information on the kind of reader and occasion you are looking for books for, and our booksellers will email you with a set of personalized recommendations. 

Can I buy things that aren't books on your website? Do you carry games, puzzles, journals, toys, etc.? How do I tell if you have a non-book item in stock?

You can, and we do! Bookshop Santa Cruz carries a wide variety of gift items at our store, including puzzles, games, toys, journals, and more. Our in-store selection will always have more variety than what we can offer on our website.

We audit our non-book website inventory frequently to add new listings and take down listings for items we have sold-out of, so usually any item you see listed should be available. If, however, you order an item that we have sold out of, and cannot get more of in a timely manner, our staff will cancel that item from your order, and issue a refund. If your order is time-sensitive, we recommend calling us at 831-423-0900 during business hours, and select the option to speak with one of our booksellers, to confirm in real time via phone if a particular non-book item is still in stock.

Order Processing

How will I know when my order is ready for pick-up?

All of our web orders are processed manually by our staff. You will receive a confirmation email automatically from our website when you've placed your order, confirming that we have received your order, and including a summary of that order. When our staff has actually processed your order, they will send a second email either notifying you that your order is ready for pick-up, or letting you know that we are out of stock of a book or item and have ordered it for you, with an estimate of when it will be available. We will call you on the phone number you provide in your web order to notify you of the arrival of any books or other items we have to order in.

As soon as you receive an email or a phone call saying your books or items are here, you are welcome to come down for pick-up during our business hours.

How quickly will my order made on the Bookshop Santa Cruz website be processed?

All online orders for Bookshop Santa Cruz are processed 100% manually by our staff, beginning when our store opens every day at 10 AM, processed in chronological order of when each online order was received. While we are working as quickly and efficiently as we can, this does mean that processing times can vary depending on the amount of online orders we receive in a particular day. Order processing time can vary between a few hours during open business hours to up to 48 hours. If you have a time sensitive order, we recommend placing your order by phone by calling us at 831-423-0900 between 9 AM and 4 PM every day, and selecting the option to speak with one of our booksellers. Any on-hand items will be available for immediate pick-up after a payment is processed by phone. If you have already placed an online order that has become time sensitive, please give us a call and select the option to discuss a web order that was already placed, and our web team should be to expedite your order.

How do I know my order has been received?

When you successfully submit a web order via the Bookshop Santa Cruz website, you will receive a confirmation email with a summary of your order. Once your order has been processed by our staff, you will receive a second email or phone call to notify you that we have processed your order, and it is ready, being shipped, or waiting for items to come into the store (and how long we expect those to take). If you need an order expedited, please send an email to, or call us at 831-423-0900 during business hours, and select the option to get help on a web order that has already been placed.

Order Pick-Up and Delivery

Do you offer curbside pick-up?

We do! Please select the "In-store or Curbside Pick Up" delivery option at check-out, and we will contact you via text or email when your order is ready pick-up. If you placed an order for in-store pick-up that you would now like to pick-up curbside, please just give our Information Desk a call at (831) 423-0900

What if I want to pick up my order in the store?

Simply select "In-store pickup" as your delivery option at check-out, and we will contact you via email or phone when your order is ready for in-store pickup. Orders for instore pick-up are held at our Information Desk, organized by last name. If you know that your order is ready for pick-up, you can come to the store any time during business hours, and let our staff at the Information Desk know that you are pickup up a prepaid order, and give the name that it is held under.

I won't be able to come to the store immediately. How long do you hold orders for?

Bookshop Santa Cruz will hold all prepaid orders for a minimum of six months, for you to pick-up at your convenience. If you place an order through our website, you will be required to provide payment, and your order will be held for at least six months. If you believe you may have placed an order in-person or over the phone and are not sure if it was paid for, you can call us at 831-423-0900 during business hours to check, and to either extend an unpaid hold, or provide payment over the phone.

When will my order ship? 

For in-stock items, our Shipping and Receiving team personally prepares and packages all items to be shipped, and then hand-delivers them to the Santa Cruz post office to be delivered by USPS. Our Shipping team works 6 days a week, Monday-Saturday, and will package your order ASAP after our web team has processed it. If we do not have all of your items on hand at the time we are processing your order, we may have our distributor ship your items to your address directly from their warehouse, to expedite the shipping process. Our distributor's team generally is able to package and ship your items within 1-2 business days of us submitting the order.

What are your shipping options?

Any orders with non-book items will be shipped via USPS Priority Shipping, which usually delivers in 2-3 business days of shipping. Orders that contain only books have the option of using USPS Media Mail, which is moderately cheaper, but can be deprioritized by USPS, and take up to 10 business days to deliver. For more information on our shipping options, shipping rates, and international shipping, please see our Shipping FAQ

Gift Cards

Do you have gift cards?

We do! You can order a physical gift card through our website to be mailed to a recipient, or to be held for in-store or curbside pick-up. Gift cards can be ordered to any amount, and will never expire. Physical gift cards can be used for orders placed on the website, over the phone, and in-person in the store, so long as the recipient has access to the gift card number printed on the back of the card. You can order a gift card on our website here. Gift cards can also be ordered over the phone, and purchased in the store during business hours.

Do you have gift cards that can be sent via e-mail?

We do! You can order an gift card through our website for any amount, to be sent via email with a message of your choosing as soon as our staff processes your payment. We will have the gift card on hold for your recipient under their last name at our Information Desk.

I'm having trouble using a gift card on your website.

We're sorry to hear that! We have found that most often when customers are having trouble redeeming a gift card on our website, they are entering it into the wrong field. To use a gift card or e-gift card on an online order, you will need to go to the "Payment Options" box on the check-out screen, and select "Gift Card" to use a physical gift card or a gift card serial number, or "E-Gift Code" to use an e-gift code. You will then be provided with a space to enter the number of your gift card, and a box to check to check your balance. If there is a balance due on your order after applying your gift card, you will be prompted to enter credit card information. If you are entering your gift card information into the correct space at check-out, but still having problems, please send an email to detailing what your issue is, any messages you are receiving, and your gift card number, and our staff will try to trouble shoot.

Cancellations and Refunds

I'd like to cancel an order.

We're sorry to hear that, but we understand. To cancel an order that has either not been processed yet, or has been processed but has not been picked up or shipped, you can email with your order number, name, and if you'd like to cancel one item or the full order. You can also cancel by calling 831-423-0900 and selecting the option to get help on a web order that has already been placed. If your card or PayPal account has already been charged, you will receive a refund for a cancelled order within a few business days.

Why was my order cancelled?

If we cancel an order outside of a customer's request, we usually give details via email for our reasons for cancellation - usually because we are unable to fulfill the items on your order due to them being out of print or otherwise unavailable, or because we are having trouble processing a payment. If you need more information on a cancellation, please give us a call at 831-423-0900 during business hours, and select the option to get help on a web order that has already been placed, or send an email to

Can I get a refund for something I ordered through your website?

Our general return policy is that books that have been purchased within the past 60 days and are still in new condition are returnable. Non-book items are returnable on a case-by-case basis, though please let us know immediately if you have received any item that is broken or damaged at the time you picked it up or it was shipped to you. We will include a receipt with your order that we will ask you to bring in with your return. All books that we can verify were purchased through Bookshop Santa Cruz's website, or from Bookshop Santa Cruz, within the last 60 days can be returned for store credit offered immediately. If you need a return processed to your credit card or PayPal account, please have your web order number handy, and give 3 business days for processing. If you cannot come into the store at this time, but need to process a return, please send an email to with your order number and information on your situation, and we will see how we can accommodate you.


Website Navigation | Order Processing | Pick Up and Delivery | Gift Cards | Cancellations and Refunds