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Where to find the city’s finest new and used books

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These small, heroic survivors of Borders are overflowing with reading suggestions and serve as a welcoming refuge from the summer heat.

23 E Illinois St

Locally owned, Loop bookstore houses a broad selection of new and used titles. They specialize in out-of-print books, they have computers and Internet for public use, and they also have a great neighbor, the historic Jazz Record Mart.

Book Cellar

4736 North Lincoln Avenue |

In this cramped Lincoln Square cellar there is hardly space to fit the books in stock, let alone the coffee, beer, wine and food bar that makes browsing their selection even more enjoyable. Their location in the middle of Lincoln Square also allows for easy breaks between chapters for gelato at Paciugo, a baked treat at Café Selmarie, or an in-house smoked sausage link from Gene’s.

Myopic Bookstore

1564 N. Milwaukee Ave. |

A diverse book selection and also a cozy place to sit and read. Aside from the massive selection of used books, the store itself has the cramped feel of a book hoarder’s attic filled with the musty scent of well-worn, well-loved tomes. The bookstore’s cat is definitely another highlight.


1854 W. North Ave. |

A great place to look for zines, comics and graphic novels, along with books on topics normally confined to tiny shelves in more mainstream stores. Their collection of erotica spans nearly every niche and fetish your poor, sexually-frustrated mind can think of. Also, if you’ve got a zine of your own, you can also sell it here for a 60% cut off the cover price.

Sandmeyer’s Bookstore

714 S Dearborn St. |

This local business has been around for nearly 30 years, bearing witness to Chicago’s ever-changing neighborhoods. Its owners take the Printers’ Row location seriously — the selection of books on Chicago’s history is impressive.

Seminary Cooperative Bookstore

5751 S. Woodlawn Ave. |

In September 2008, the Co-op began publishing The Front Table, a web magazine for book lovers and Co-op members. Barack Obama’s patronage of the bookstore earned them a good deal of attention.

Unabridged Bookstore

3251 N. Broadway |

This East Lakeview bookstore has a total of five people on staff — each of them self-described hardcore bookworms dedicated to helping their patrons find the perfect paperback. They stock both new and used book sections, including a comprehensive art book section and a strong spotlight on LGBT literature. You can also send a book from the store to anywhere in the U.S. for a flat rate, gift-wrapped free of charge.

Uncharted Books – Logan Square

2630 N. Milwaukee Ave. |

Right off the Logan Square Blue Line L stop. The store has a large selection of fiction/literature and organizes its books under interesting genre categories, one of them being: “Arts & Farts & Crafts.”

Women and Children First

5233 N. Clark St. |

This Andersonville staple is deeply committed to its community — their events calendar includes conversations with writers, as well as book clubs and book parties. There’s also a bevy of “feminist gift items” featured in the store and on their website, including [George W.] Bush-brand condoms for “schmucks that won’t pull out” and “Party in my Pants” panty liners.

The Yellow Book

1007 N. California Ave. |

Highlights: An artfully-minded used bookstore, filled with a seemingly endless selection of works hand-picked by the store’s owners. The Yellow Book also hosts an eclectic variety of events such as acoustic musical performances and drawing classes with live models.

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