Independent and Used Bookstores of Chicago

Chicago is
filled with used and independent bookstores, many of which are
struggling in the current economic climate. Here’s a thought: support
our local bookstores. Easy, right? Right.

Below is a list of independent bookstores in Chicago, and, rest assured, a companion list
for suburban independent and used bookstores with follow shortly. I’ve listed bookstores
alphabetically, and in the interest of space, I’ve not included much in the way of descriptions, but I do encourage visiting and patronizing these fine
places, run by some of the finest people in Chicago you’ll ever come to
know and with many hosting regular literary events.

While a few of these
below are specialty shops, (Historical Americana, architecture, Judaica,
primarily non-English titles) most offer a bit of everything.

  • The Book Cellar: General interest, many small press titles. Bonus: wine and beer.
  • Bookman’s Corner (also fondly known as “Rare Medium Well Done”): General interest used titles.

as lengthy as this list is, the city is still full of half-hidden
bookstores, some only known to neighborhoodies. Have I overloooked a
well-kept bookstore secret? By all means, do leave a comment and let’s
get it on this list.


Leave a comment
  • We should build you a Google map showing all these. A great resource!

  • Let's do!

  • what about the children? are there any kid-specific stores, or ones with great kids collections?

  • Clark Bender, you beat me to the punch! I was going to suggest we build Amy a map as well. I'm adding it to my list...

  • How cool would that be? Very, I say.

  • Wow, what an impressive list. I had no idea we had so many independent bookstores in the city. Will have to check out the ones I've never heard of.

    Thanks for stopping by the garden blog today and in case you don't see my re: if you need any help, let me know.

  • Thanks, Mr. Brown Thumb! I appreciate the offer, and will most assuredly seek your help.

  • Nice list. You left out a favorite though. Selected Works Used Books and Sheet Music on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building downtown on Michigan Ave. Scholarly general interest plus piles of classical and popular sheet music. Really pretty place. Beautiful and sociable store kitten too.

  • Big fan of Afterwords, and not opposed to big bookstores, but I also wanted to mention Armadillo's Pillow, 6753 N. Sheridan, and Shake, Rattle & Read, 4812 N Broadway.

  • In reply to ltaford:

    Liam, thanks for these! Great suggestions.

  • In reply to ltaford:

    How about adding Ravenswood Used Books at 4626 North Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Square, seven days, noon to six. Thanks!

  • fb_avatar

    I found this review when I did research for the campaign for our website. We are a start-up company contributing to building a SNS for book/music/movie lover. We want to help the local(from Chicago) independent/ used book stores. If you possibly are interested in our website, please contact us :)

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