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Best Indie Bookshops In Chicago

October 5, 2010 5:38 PM

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Located in the heart of Boystown, Unabridged Books is a great place to check out both mainstream and independent books. (Credit: www.unabridgedbookstore.com)

Located in the heart of Boystown, Unabridged Books is a great place to check out both mainstream and independent books. (Credit: http://www.unabridgedbookstore.com)

Chicago is home to many, many independent bookstores. The bookstores below all stand out from their competition a little bit, either through supporting literacy programs around Chicago or by offering texts you won’t find anywhere else. - Lisa Koivu
openbooks Best Indie Bookshops In Chicago

Open Books is a non-profit bookstore that has more than 50,000 books under its roof. (Credit: http://www.open-books.com)

Open Books

213 West Institute Place
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 475-1355
www.open-books.org

Open Books is a non-profit bookstore that has more than 50,000 books under its roof, all of which have been donated by citizens that are passionate about promoting reading. Because the books are all donated and the sale of each book helps fund Open Books’ numerous literacy programs, you’ll often find the used books here to be less expensive than at other spots around the city.

unabridgedbookstore Best Indie Bookshops In Chicago

Located in the heart of Boystown, Unabridged Books is a great place to check out both mainstream and independent books. (Credit: http://www.unabridgedbookstore.com)

Unabridged Books

3251 North Broadway Street
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 883-9119
www.unabridgedbookstore.com

Located in the heart of Boystown, Unabridged Books is a great place to check out both mainstream and independent books. The staff here is always ready with a recommendation, and if that isn’t enough there are little cards taped to the shelves throughout the store with recommendations and comments from the staff. Be sure to check out the large selection of sale books, where you’ll often find some of the best sellers from just a few months past.

melville Best Indie Bookshops In Chicago

Many say Seminary Co-Op Bookstore is the best academic bookstore in the country. (Credit: http://www.semcoop.com)

Seminary Co-Op Bookstore

5757 South University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 752-4381
http://www.semcoop.com

Many say Seminary Co-Op Bookstore is the best academic bookstore in the country. While it’s often filled with University of Chicago students, people from all over Chicago make the trek to Hyde Park to check out their impressive collection of academic and scholarly texts. You can join the co-op and you’ll get a discount on your books, although due to the nature of the texts they still tend to be a little on the pricey side.

Women & Children First

5233 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-9299
www.womenandchildrenfirst.com

While Women & Children First primarily caters to women and children, they have a large selection of books for any reader. This store boasts one of the largest GLBT sections in the city. Make sure you sign up for the Women & Children First mailing list because they often host a large number of special events and readings by authors you won’t find at other locations in the city.

quimby Best Indie Bookshops In Chicago

Quimby’s Bookstore in Wicker Park boasts a huge selection of self-published novels, including one of the cities largest collections of zines. (Credit: http://www.quimbys.com)

Quimby’s Bookstore

1854 West North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 342-0910
www.quimbys.com

Quimby’s Bookstore in Wicker Park boasts a huge selection of self-published novels, including one of the cities largest collections of zines. Quimby’s is the place to go when you’re searching for an independent book you can’t find anywhere else.

bookcellar Best Indie Bookshops In Chicago

The Book Cellar hosts many special events and they go out of their way to open the doors to Book Clubs. (Credit: http://www.bookcellarinc.com)

The Book Cellar

4736 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 293-2665
www.bookcellarinc.com

The Book Cellar has an impressive selection of books and the staff is always happy to help you find a new title to enjoy. The Book Cellar hosts many special events and they go out of their way to open the doors to Book Clubs looking for a quiet space to host meetings. Even better, if you are not yet part of a book club they’d be happy to give you information about one of the many that already meet there and are looking for members!

powellsboos Best Indie Bookshops In Chicago

Powell’s Bookstores Chicago is one of the largest used bookstores in Chicago and houses more than 250,000 books under its roof. (Credit: http://www.powellschicago.com)

Powell’s Bookstores Chicago

1501 E 57th St
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 955-7780
http://www.powellschicago.com

Powell’s Bookstores Chicago is one of the largest used bookstores in Chicago and houses more than 250,000 books under its roof. While there are two Chicago locations, this one in Hyde Park is the largest and keeps the longest hours. You can stop in here 7 days a week up until 11 p.m. Powell’s primarily focuses on used, rare, and discounted academic and scholarly works.

bookslisamareewilliams96283987 Best Indie Bookshops In Chicago

credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

After-Words

23 East Illinois Street
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 464-1110

After-Words is the best bookstore you’ll find downtown, and even though it’s a little bit hidden on Illinois Street, it is well worth the trek! After-Words has a great selection of new books upstairs and used books downstairs. Keep an eye out for their yearly book clearance sale where a great selection of used books are drastically reduced in price. Remember to give After-Words your mailing address and they will send you a birthday coupon each year that’s good for $5 off any purchase!

Lisa Koivu is the founder and editor of FantabulouslyFrugal.com
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