Chicago’s Indie Bookstores

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You know what you can’t buy on Amazon? A local, family friendly place that makes you feel like you belong, with knowledgeable staff to recommend favorite novels and a cozy nook to chill out in and skim through new and used books alike until you’ve found the one that begs to be delved into.

So, the next time you’re craving a page-turner, go and visit one of Chicago’s appraised independent book stores:

The Book Cellar, Lincoln Square.  Image copyright bookcellarinc.com

The Book Cellar, Lincoln Square. Image copyright bookcellarinc.com

The Book Cellar, Lincoln Square
This has to be the classiest bookstore I have ever been in. You can actually sip on a nice glass of wine while you browse through the book shelves, and the staff recommendations always seem to be on point with what you are looking for in a good read: the genres are varied, but the plot lines gripping! You can also catch local authors every third Thursday of every month at “Local Author Night” where they do Q&A and readings.

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Myopic Bookstore, Wicker Park
Legendary for its huge selection of used books, and one of the oldest and largest indie bookstores in Chicago, you won’t want to miss out on this mystical place. Myopic has a magical charm to it that can only be compared to what a local bookstore would look like in the Harry Potter world. Its three stocked floors and narrow, bendy halls bleed with character, while the smell of old, dusty books puts your mind at ease. Local poet, Larry Sawyer has booked one of the best free poetry series in the Midwest here for years, and in Myopics top-floor space, the readings are always a delight.

City Lit, Logan Square
This indie bookstore sells fresh new books, and has an extensive section that is dedicated to children’s books. What really makes it stand out from the rest is that they also have a whole area that offers literature in Spanish. The owner, Teresa Kirschbraun, has lived in Logan Square for 25 years, and felt that it always needed a bookstore. So, she decided to open one! And, get this, they have a fireplace to relax and get cozy with your new book!

Inside Sandmeyer bookstore, South Loop. Image credit sandmeyersbookstore.com

Inside Sandmeyer bookstore, South Loop. Image credit sandmeyersbookstore.com

Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, South Loop
Being family owned and operated since 1982, this bookstore provides a much more personal experience compared to others. It has to be one of the cutest little bookstores in Chicago! Only about the size of a decently large living room, inside are exposed pipes and brick walls, giving it an industrial kick, and almost every book’s cover seems to be on display, making it easy to browse and pick the perfect book for you. Sandmeyer’s is known for carrying a wide selection of new releases, and travel guides for those adventure hungry!

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Open Books, West Loop
This bookstore emulates creativity and fun! With wooden bookshelves painted primary colors and paperbacks dangling from the ceiling like flying birds, you can’t help but feel like a kid in a playground of adventure and imagination. Open Books also has a warehouse-like shop located in Pilsen. The shop is an outgrowth of Open Books nonprofit, so more than 50,000 books that are stacked on their shelves are actually used and donated. Store sales from both locations go towards the company’s literacy programs which benefits over 5,000 kids yearly.

Even though going to your local bookstore to buy a book has become something that doesn’t happen as much anymore, it is still a very important part of our artistic community in Chicago. These bookstores are part of what makes Chicago so special, and it’s a way to support the small businesses that truly love books for whats beyond the price tag.

 

Alyssa
Pilsen, Chicago
Contributor, LoveForChicago.com
Instagram: @lyss_lou

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