On the last Saturday in April, Independent Bookstore Day showcases local bookstores across the country. Over 400 are slated to participate this year, ranging from small towns to the biggest metropolises. Dozens of Chicagoland’s independent bookstores will proudly host events, speakers, and sales that will have both avid readers and casual shoppers rejoicing. With the recent opening of Amazon Books in Lakeview, local vendors have been rallying to encourage Chicagoans to shop local, despite potentially cheaper prices available from Amazon. With so many independent bookstores in some of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods, shopping local has never been more important.
To spur local sales, tons of bookstores are participating in the #MyChicagoBookstore Challenge! This pilgrimage will take readers across the city and suburbs to visit at least 10 bookstores on Saturday, April 29th. Once they visit their first bookstore and receive a ‘luggage tag’ with a purchase of $25 or more, they simply have to travel to additional bookstores throughout the day (no further purchases required) and collect more luggage tags. If a shopper visits 10 bookstores, they receive 10% off at all participating bookstores for an entire year! To further the challenge, if a shopper visits 15 bookstores on Independent Bookstore day, they receive 15% off at all participating bookstores for the year!
Details about the #MyChicagoBookstoreChallenge, including participating bookstores and additional contests, can be found on the event’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MyChicagoBookstore/
Events are taking place all over the city. Check with your favorite local bookstore to see what they have going on or check out the list below for a few options:
Women and Children First (5323 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640): Join Chicago’s premiere feminist bookstore in Andersonville for a day of local authors, eclectic music, and free coffee and donuts! Starting at 4pm, the bookstore will host “The Conversation: Books that Matter Now”, a discussion on literature that’s essential for today’s political and social climate. Local authors Anne Elizabeth Moore, Sarah Kokernot, and Sandra Jackson-Opoku will offer short readings, followed by a discussion moderated by Kim Brooks.
Seminary Co-Op Bookstore (5751 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago, IL 60637): Head to Hyde Park for a riveting conversation with Ukrainian author and poet Serhiy Zhadan as he reads excerpts from his newest novel, Voroshilovgrad. The politically-infused novel centers around an advertising executive who moves back home to take over the family business but is met with ‘mysteries and ghosts’. This engagement is in partnership with the University of Chicago’s CEERES of Voices Event Series.
Bookie’s Chicago (2419 W. 103rd St., Chicago, IL 60655): Beverly’s bookstore has been a staple in the neighborhood for over 25 years, and this is as good a time as ever to visit the iconic store before they move! The store will keep its existing address for events and book clubs, but a brand new storefront is set to open on June 7th at 10324 S. Western Avenue. The store will host sales and feature local books as well as national bestsellers.
Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore (7419 Madison St., Forest Park, IL 60130): If you’re just outside of the city, head to Centuries and Sleuths for a discussion and signing with local author Adam Selzer for his new book H.H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil. Offering readers a glimpse into America’s first true serial killer, this mystery-fueled historical read offers new insight into the 19th century supervillain. Selzer is a local expert on the history of Chicago’s seedy underbelly, and this book is sure to fascinate history buffs and Chicagoans alike.