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Bloomington community, IU alumni help save Caveat Emptor bookstore from closing



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A ladder rests against a bookshelf in Caveat Emptor bookstore. Owner Eric Brown posted a message on the bookstore's Facebook page April 27 saying they were unable to pay the building’s rent. Courtesy Photo

Caveat Emptor Used and Rare Books owner Eric Brown posted a message on the bookstore's Facebook page April 27 saying they were unable to pay the building’s rent. The next day the store, which will celebrate it's fiftieth anniversary next year, had so many orders they had to close the submission form to catch up.

Brown said they received about 300 care package requests overnight after the post.

“Right now it’s been amazing and we’re trying to catch up,” Brown said.

Brown closed the bookstore to the public on March 24 after Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb issued the stay-at-home order.

Instead of selling books in-person, the bookstore is selling book care packages online. The care packages consist of staff-selected books from the genres or subjects customers indicate on the order form found on their website and are delivered to the customers via courier service or shipping. 

“A lot of people think it’s just kind of fun because they are getting a mystery package of books in a genre that they want.” Brown said.

Brown said the care package’s start at $20 for two to four books and go up depending on how many books are in the package. One book can cost from $5-10. The shipping and handling cost is also part of the package.

Generally, the workers add an extra book or two for the customers. 

“We try to give them a little extra since they are not handpicking themselves,” Brown said.

The average time for a care package delivery is around three weeks because of the high demand from customers, according to the bookstore's website.

“The Bloomington business community is coming together and everybody is kinda talking and helping each other out,” Brown said. “This took us by surprise, so we are actually doing well, we are doing much better.”

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