Frequently Asked Questions

We are so grateful to be able to continue processing web orders and to connect with customers and community members during this unprecedented time.

In order to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, we are limiting the number of staff members that can be in the store at one time. The same is true for the warehouse we order from and as a result, orders are taking longer to ship than usual. Due to the high volume of orders that we are currently receiving (THANK YOU!), we are several days behind in processing web orders. If you order a book that is not currently in stock at the Odyssey, we will need to order a copy from the wholesale warehouse which will increase the turnaround time. We cannot guarantee a specific time frame in which your order will be processed, shipped, or delivered. Please keep this in mind when placing an order on our website. If your order is time-sensitive, consider ordering from, an online book retailer that distributes a percentage of sales to independent bookstores like us!

We will do our best to respond to any questions that you may have about your order, but please read through the information below to make sure your question has not already been answered before you contact us

If you have questions about a web order, please email and put your 5 digit order number in the subject line (if applicable) for the quickest response. If you call to ask a question, your call will go straight to voicemail and we may not be able to get back to you right away. Even if you would prefer for us to give you a call, email is the best way to initiate contact.

Please know that we truly appreciate your support and your business! 


How do I know that my order has been placed? 
You will receive an email when your order has been processed from or an email address, with additional information about shipping or pickup. Please check your spam folder for this email.

When can I expect to receive my order?
If the books that you order are in stock, we will ship them out within 2-3 days of your order being “completed”.  If there are any books on your order that are not in stock, we will have to order them from the wholesale warehouse. There are two warehouses we order from. One in PA and one in TN. Books from PA generally arrive within 5-7 days of us placing an order. Books from TN generally arrive within 9-11 days. Once your entire order is ready to ship, we will pack it up and generate a shipping label within 2-3 days. If books you order are not available in PA or TN, the order timeline will increase. We will do our best to let you know as we encounter these issues in orders. 

Can I pick my order up at the store?
Yes! Select the "in-store pickup" option at checkout if you would like to pick your items up at the store instead of having them mailed to you. This is a contactless pickup option. You will receive an email when your order is ready to be picked up. Pickup times are Tuesday through Saturday between 10:30 am and 6:00 pm Your items will be in a bag labeled with your name and order number outside of the front door of the store on the upper level (To get to this door, go to the College st. entrance near the People’s Bank courtyard.) 

How do I check on the status of my order: 
You can check the status of your order from the order placement confirmation email at any time. You can also click on the “My Account” tab on the main navigation bar and then select the “orders” tab, 

What does it mean that my order says PENDING:
Due to the high volume of orders, we are running 5-6 days behind addressing new orders. PENDING status means that your order has not yet been assigned to a staff member for fulfillment. 

What does it mean that my order says PROCESSING:
An Odyssey Bookshop staff member is working on your order. This work may take a few days as the stock status needs to be checked for both books and MHC merchandise. We are most likely taking time to research order possibilities, or tracking down in-stock items that may not be on the sales floor. 

What does it mean that my order says CONTACTED CUSTOMER:
Please check the email address provided with your order for an email from an Odyssey Bookshop staff member. There is likely a question about your order, an item out of stock, or communication about turnaround time.

My order says COMPLETED, but I'm still waiting for my items:
Your order has been addressed and processed by an Odyssey staff member and will ship/ you will be contacted for pick up as soon as humanly possible. We appreciate your patience. 

What should I do if I’m having issues placing an order on the website? 
First, please double-check that all of the information you’ve entered (shipping and billing) is correct. If your issue persists, please contact us for help. 

How do I know if a book is in stock at the store? 
If a book is in stock, it will say “On Our Shelves Now” to the right of the book on the product page or under ISBN where it lists “availability” when you search for a book. Our local store inventory is updated every 24 hours and is not 100% accurate. It does not reflect instances such as when books are on hold for a customer but have not been rung through our point of sale system.

Why didn't I get everything I ordered (MHC merchandise)?
Unfortunately, we are sold out of a number of MHC items, which we are unable to restock while the store is closed. In the interest of processing web orders as quickly as possible, we've removed the out of stock item(s) from your order and have shipped what is available. This information is communicated in the email sent when your order was COMPLETED. If you do not see this email in your Inbox, please check your Spam folder for this email, and open the message on your device to read through order comments.

Why didn't I get everything I ordered (books)?
With large book orders, we are trying to ship partial orders if we have items in stock. The majority of books ordered through the site need to be placed as special orders from our warehouse, adding turnaround time to your order. In addition, many books you can order through the web site may be out of print, or out of stock indefinitely at our warehouse, those books have been removed from your order. This information is communicated in the email sent when your order was COMPLETED. If you do not see this email in your Inbox, please check your Spam folder for this email, and open the message on your device to read through order comments.

What do the different shipping methods mean? 
Media Mail: This is a cost-effective option for media such as books. It is considered a “3rd class” service by USPS. Shipping times are 5-7+ business days. USPS offers no insurance, guaranteed delivery, or tracking.
First Class: For parcels less than 1lb only. 1 - 3 business days. No insurance and guaranteed delivery.
Priority Mail: Any parcel. 1 - 3 business days. Automatically insured up to $99, guaranteed delivery, full tracking.
Can I return or exchange items that I order online?
If you have questions about returning or exchanging items that you ordered online, please contact before mailing anything back to the store. 
Can I use my MHC Faculty/Staff or Department discount online?
Yes! Please leave a note in the comment section at checkout and we will add the discount to your order before processing it. 
When the store opens, what are the new guidelines?
We're so glad you asked! The store will re-open on June 23, and we ask all customers observe the following rules and guidelines:
  • Wear your mask. No customers will be allowed in the store without a face covering.

  • Do not come in if you are sick. For the safety of our staff, our customers, and our community, please do not come into the store if you are feeling sick. Our online store is always open.

  • We are limiting the number of customers allowed in the store. There will be a limited number of people permitted on each floor. This includes staff. If the store is at capacity, we ask that you wait outside in a socially distanced line. There will be signage directing you.

  • Social distance from each other, and from our staff. We ask that you keep six feet between yourself and other customers shopping at the store. Pay attention to directions and one-way aisles throughout the store, as many places in the bookstore are narrow and don’t allow for more than one person in the space at once. When in line, keep six feet away from the person in front and behind you. We also request you keep a safe distance from our staff. We are here to help, but we ask you respect our health and safety by making transactions and asking questions from a distance of at least 6 feet.

  • Continue to shop online and utilize our contact-free pick up. We know you are excited to come into the store, and we can’t wait to see you! But the pandemic is ongoing, and so we encourage you to continue to shop smartly and safely, which means shopping online and choosing contact-free pick up, which we offer 6 days a week.

  • Large groups are discouraged. We know you have been stuck at home for a long time, and we are glad to see you out again! But we ask that you minimize the number of people coming into the store with your party. Our capacity is limited for safety and health reasons, so we ask that you limit yourself to one member of the household.

  • We love your kids, but for their safety and ours, leave them at home. While we won’t turn any customers with children away, we encourage you to leave your young readers at home. It is difficult to monitor and maintain their safety while in the store. If you do bring a young reader in, please bring them in a stroller, carrier, or in your arms.

  • Card transactions are encouraged. Though not required, we ask that you use a credit or debit card as payment, so we can limit contact and protect the health and safety of our employees and customers.