Open Books (Photo: Courtesy Open Books)
The majority of the books you own may come to you via Amazon or a quick click on your tablet, but that doesn’t mean you should banish browsing bookstores. These independent shops across town not only showcase a variety of books but also offer up a unique ambiance for inspiration and a taste of Chicago you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
Brightly colored bookshelves, a cozy book nook and 50,000 covers to open. The real highlight? Open Books is also a non-profit organization and each of your book purchases supports literacy for children and adults across Chicago.
Cozy up with a glass of wine in one hand and a book in the other at this Lincoln Square shop that highlights books by local and first time authors. A full cafe with everything from Italian grilled cheese sandwiches to Julius Meinl coffee fuels hours of sipping and book browsing.
This dizzying three story 80,000-book lair is one of Chicago’s oldest and largest used book shops and fits in quite well with Wicker Park’s hipster vibe. Come for the books but stay for the experimental music series or semi-weekly poetry readings.
The stranger, the better. This haven for comics and small press ‘zines is part-curated, part-consignment. It gives independent authors a chance to show their stuff and readers a chance to discover new talent.
A personal suggestion goes a long way and here you’ll find plenty. You’ll love the super knowledgeable staff, hand-written recommendations, not to mention one of the best children’s book selections in the city.
Uncover the rare and hard-to-find gems in the extensive selection here. Beat authors (think Kerouac), out of print books, and vintage paperbacks are aplenty among a vast music selection and oddities like old paper items and vintage photographs.
When a dog, (in this case Ramona Quimby) greets you at the door, you’ll feel right at home. Visitors are encouraged to browse, ask questions, work, and strike up conversation in this homey Logan Square book shop. If you can swing it, there is a free monthly comedy show complete with a free local beer, as well as various other live readings.