For book readers of the world, nothing is more enticing than a great read, a cheap buy, and while you’re at it, an open mic and a cheese table. In the growing age of Amazon and reality TV, you’d be surprise there are still book shops clutching onto their pearls. In no particular order, here are the top ten Indie bookstores in the city, according to no better bookworms than Chicagoan’s themselves.
1. POWELL’S BOOKS
Where the staff is hands-off, and rare graphic novels and Vintage Pogo titles dwell, Powell’s bookstore in Hyde Park is packed with outrageous deals on new and used books. Make note, however, the shop prides itself on being a bookstore and not reading room.
Powell’s Books is located at 1501 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60657
2. BOOKMAN’S CORNER
With books literally piled floor to ceiling, Bookman’s Corner is a chaotic jungle of bookworm paradise. With thin, junky aisles, this is either a claustrophobic book lover’s nightmare or a maze-running book lover’s dream. Bookman’s Corner is cash-only, however, the owner is willing to walk card holders across the street to the local drugstore, and let you buy him chocolate candy–Snickers particularly–to pay off the cost of your item. Fair trade, nonetheless.
Bookman’s Corner is located at 2959 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657
3. OPEN BOOKS
If you still carry the kindred spirit of a child fascinated by big, bright colors, Open Books gets it for you. And, if you like walking out of a bookstore with six books for under thirty bucks, this is your place. There are a few locations across the city, but this one in particular can be found downtown.
Open Books is located at 651 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60661
4. UNCHARTED BOOKS
Uncharted Books is one of those shop that encourages you to kick off your shoes and hop in a seat. From an array of used books in classic literature to non-fiction, you’ll also meet the beautiful store dog named Ramona. With events like “Waiting for the Bus Open Mic,” “Board Game Night,” and “Loose Chicks Live Lit,” who wouldn’t want to explore this newer gem?
Uncharted Books is located at 2620 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
5. AFTERWORDS NEW AND USED BOOKS
With music ringing in the background, and new books for three dollars, at Afterwords, you’ll find new and used titles jumbled together, yet carefully arranged in each section. The top floor is full of children’s books, while the bottom bunk thrives with everything else–like signed copies of books by the authors themselves.
Afterwords New and Used Books is located at 23 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611
6. ARMADILLO’S PILLOW
From Sci-fi to religion and everything in between, it’s likely they’ve got what you need. The great gift of Armadillo’s is that it is all about locality. They sponsor and support local artist and carry assorted handmade jewelry; think of doo-dad’s and whatnot’s. Sip yourself some locally roasted coffee at that.
Armadillo’s Pillow is located at 6753 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60626
Quimby’s is your curator of curators. It one-ups Amazon and Netflix. Plus, it’s Comics territory and books you won’t find at any other indie bookstore in town. Oh, and there’s a photobooth inside with props outside of the photobooth to let you unleash your wildest poses.
Quimby’s is located at 1854 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
8. WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST
Calling all citizens–who would think that a woman-based house of books that equally explores other important minority communities like Black Lives Matter, existed? Well, one does. And, if you want super-defining and moving books, shop here. Out-of-stock literature is not a problem, as they’ll easily reorder it for you.
Women and Children First is located at 5233 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640
9. MYOPIC BOOKS
If you dream stories, or love to dream, Myopic Books is likely the shop for you. You may not find New York Time’s best sellers, but you’ll discover those books you never knew you dreamed of discovering. From the outside, the shop looks pretty small. But, the inside opens up to a labyrinth filled with spires of books. With a strict cell phone policy, you are encouraged to engage with the world of literature and people around you.
Myopic Books is located at 1564 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
10. THE BOOK CELLAR
The Book Cellar is the perfect combination of indie bookstore/coffee shop, because books and coffee spills go hand-in-hand, right? With the most recent of book releases to the most classic of them all, this shop will feel like an online library. The alcove is a superb reading spot, during the wintry months.
The Book Cellar is located at 4736 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625