Chicago's independent bookstores rally for customers during Coronavirus

Due to the Coronavirus, most Chicago bookstores are closed to customer traffic, but open for business in other creative ways. Many are offering curbside service, free delivery, and reading recommendations for quarantines. Most events are cancelled and some will be rescheduled. Subscribe to your favorite bookstores' newsletters and follow them on social media to stay up to date. I'll continue to add and update, but call ahead if you need a bookstore fix. It seems like a new chapter every hour. (No word yet on the fate of Independent Bookstore Day. UPDATE 3/23: According to the Independent Bookseller Newsletter, Independent Bookstore Day is tentatively rescheduled for Saturday, August 29.)

Please continue to support your local bookseller! Although I hate spreading apocalyptic stories - we've all heard enough - independent bookstores could be among virus fatalities without our ongoing support. As the crisis unfolded in China, many of its bookstores struggled to survive. Overall, Chinese private bookstores reported a 90 percent drop in revenue. Chicago's book community is rallying for their customers and I'm hoping we say to them "backatcha" and all come out of this as unscathed (and well-read) as possible.

Here's what I know so far:

THE BOOK STALL

UPDATE 3/19: "We’ve been so heartened and touched by the outpouring of support as we navigate this pandemic crisis. For the continued safety of our staff, and to help protect our community, we are ceasing all in-store operations today, March 19th, as of 3 PM. ... We will be able to do direct-to-home book orders on a limited basis through our website: www.thebookstall.com. This will work for books they have in stock, and for as for as long as they are processing orders."

Please visit The Book Stall's Facebook page for more information

UPDATE: Sunday, March 15: “The Book Stall prides itself on being a community bookstore, a gathering place, and a locus for the exchange of news and ideas. Recent developments concerning the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and directives from local and state governments prompt us to take our part in continuing to be your good neighbor. To that end, we are closing our doors to foot traffic beginning Monday, March 16.”

Free deliveries to nearby suburbs, all other deliveries 99 cents or $3.95 for two-day delivery. Curbside service also available.

March 16: I needed a bookstore fix this morning, but found this sign on the Book Stall's door. By 8:56 p.m., everything had changed.

book-stall

VOLUMES BOOKCAFE

UPDATE 3/22: Volumes went live on Facebook and Instagram today and it was therapeutic as heck. Co-owner Rebecca George talked about exciting upcoming releases and answered questions about anything people wanted to ask. Afterwards, I went to Volumes' site and ordered two books she recommended. I feel better already!

UPDATE 3/20: "Welp. Due to the mandate, we will be halting curbside pick up as of 3pm tomorrow. We will be there from 11-3 SAT (03/21) We will still be processing your online orders to be shipped. So, never fear!  ... In the meantime, take a gander at some recommended fiction and non-fiction to consider for your shelter-in-place life! As always, Rebecca is here to help. Follow us on Facebook for some updates on Miss Kimberly’s new videos for the kiddos. We will post soon. Sending all the love. @ Volumes Bookcafe."

UPDATE 3/17: Volumes is closed to foot traffic, but has free shipping and delivery through April - merch includes unique and beautiful puzzles.

“As more and more people will end up homebound, we know that Netflix can't keep your sanity forever. Books are here for you! Follow us on twitter or instagram or facebook to keep up to date or just chat with your fellow bookish humans. As always, we are here for you. We know many rely on us and the conversations we have. We are here. You can always email us or call us, too! If you opt for home delivery, be warned that we might sneak a fun gift in there for you as well."

March 16: For now: open, but closing early. Some events are canceled. Shipping is free.

QUIMBY'S

UPDATE March 19: "QUIMBY'S WANTS YOU (to stay safe and get your weirdo reading material). As of Wednesday, March 18th, we will temporarily close to the public until the end of March and assess at that time when to reopen. Both March and April in-store events have been cancelled. But lucky for you, someone will be here to fill mail orders and to provide curbside pick up. How can you help us make sure that Quimby's is still going to be here once this COVID business is past us? Mail order things from our webstore at quimbys.com/store. Buy something over the phone with your credit card (773-342-0910) and we'll bring it out to you in your car or bike at our curb (provided it is before 5pm, at which time remaining staff will go home). We'll pretend we're on roller skates with a tray of fries ..."

March 15: Open until further notice.

WOMEN & CHILDREN FIRST

UPDATE 3/22: Were you looking forward to attending N.K. Jemisin's reading of her new novel The City We Became and crushed when it was cancelled? It is back on! You can now livestream the event from home on March 31!  The virtual event includes a Q&A with this multi award-winning, bestselling author and a copy of The City We Became. Tickets and details here.

UPDATE 3/18: The store is closed to the public through March 30. You can still order online and your books will be shipped to you. Events through March 30 are all rescheduled or cancelled.

MARCH 15: Still open. Sanitizing procedures in effect. “As of today, our ticketed events with N.K. Jemisin (March 31), Samantha Irby & Megan Stielstra (April 14) and Rebecca Solnit & Eula Biss ( April 23) have not been cancelled. Circumstances are changing quickly, though, so we will update you if and when they do. Also, please note that the books attendees receive with their tickets will be pre-signed. For everyone's health and safety, book signings and photo lines will likely not be possible in the coming months.”

“Events and gatherings have always been the soul of our bookstore—the thing that sets us apart from corporate monoliths. Now is the time to look forward and imagine what a community space is, what it means, and what it needs to be when gathering puts our most vulnerable at risk. We thank you for your support as we continue to build our feminist future together. With love & thanks.”

SEMINARY CO-OP

The bookstore is closed until further notice, but you can still order online and shipping is free. Follow on social media for reading recommendations and the Co-Op’s regular feature “The Front Table.”

“As we reimagine the ways we can serve you during this uncertain time, your support is more crucial than ever. The Co-op remains committed to supporting inquiry, measure, contemplation, connection, and community. It is with gratitude and humility that we will help see each other through these uncertain times.”

57th STREET BOOKS

Closed until further notice but website is open 24/7. Free shipping!

THE BOOK CELLAR

Closed to foot traffic as of 3/18, but still offering many creative ways to buy books.

"Stop by and 'carry out' your book.

-Knock on the window or call us and we will bring your book out to you.
-We are also happy to deliver your book to you for free.
-We can ship a book to you."

The Book Cellar is also licensed to sell beer and wine - both are available for carryout. Payment by phone only.

POWELL'S

UPDATE 3/16 at 8:00 p.m. Powell's-Chicago in-store operations are suspended indefinitely. "We are currently exploring different ways in which we can continue to serve the Hyde Park neighborhood, Chicago and beyond as we continue to monitor this difficult situation."

March 15: “As of today, it is our hope that we will be able to keep the store open as a place of calm and escape from the uncertainty around us.” As always, shipping is available.

BOOKENDS & BEGINNINGS

Suspending in-store business starting Monday, March 16. “Offering Online & Phone Service and Speedy Same-Day Delivery Instead!”

“YOU need fun, diversion, uplift, and constructive family activities. WE are going to fatten up our inventory of puzzles, games, flash cards, activity books, crosswords, and guided journals.”

Also offering “$1 SAME-DAY HOME DELIVERY FOR ANY SIZE ORDER to Evanston, Wilmette, Rogers Park, and Skokie (applies to orders placed by 3 pm for in-stock items only; if we have to special order something, we’ll get it to you the day it comes in). WE will also continue to offer 99 cent media-mail shipping to anywhere in the continental U.S. If you already have a special order in the system, we'll deliver it for free when it comes in.”

UNCHARTED BOOKS

"Our focus is on strange, unique, and affordable rare books." Uncharted books can't purchase books from the public during its closure, but you can absolutely still browse over 1,000 rare books and continue to order from the store's site. I will be doing some serious browsing in the days ahead. You can also subscribe to Uncharted Book's blog Substack for behind-the-scenes secrets and insights.

I also found out that the store has a sweet t-shirt featuring Ramona, the store's famous dog. Even though our beloved dog passed away ten days ago and I'm still reeling and can barely look at another dog without lethal pain, I had to get a shirt - they are that beautiful.

THE BOOK BIN

Temporarily closed, but “we will continue to bend over backwards to help you get recommendations and access to the best assortment of books to meet all your reading and gifting needs.  We will continue to answer the phones, make recommendations and help you choose books that we will creatively deliver to you.  After cleaning our hands we will select your books and make them available for pick up outside the front or back door.”

OPEN BOOKS

The store is closed until March 30, but you can order online. Free shipping for all orders over $10.

THE BOOK TABLE

Still open as of March 13. Offering curbside service. “We currently have hand sanitizer and wipes at the counter for frequent use (though, honestly, if you have more than you can use, we'd accept donations because we're a little nervous about running out!) We are frequently sanitizing shared surfaces, and please know that we do accept contactless payments: Apple Pay, Google Pay, and all credit cards with the tap symbol are accepted.

Our website, www.booktable.net, as always, is fully shoppable, and in addition to USPS shipping for as low as $3.99, starting Monday, March 16th, we will offer $3 local delivery to Oak Park and River Forest customers. Orders for in-stock merchandise placed before noon will be delivered the same day.”

ANDERSON'S BOOKSHOPS

UPDATE 3/21 Due to Gov. Pritzker's "shutdown" order, Anderson's must close. Will continue to process orders at Andersonsbookshop.com with 99 cent shipping.

UPDATE 3/18: Anderson's may be the only independent bookstore open to foot traffic as of this posting.

UPDATE 3/16 Still open at all three locations as of now. “Our booksellers will tell you where to pull up and then run your purchases out to your car!”

ROSCOE BOOKS

UPDATE 3/21: All in-store operations suspended as of 5 pm today. Honoring all orders even as a one-woman operation. Please visit Roscoe Books online to learn more.

MARCH 15:Closed, but offering curbside pick-up and free home delivery within Roscoe Village. $1 shipping everywhere else.

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