Need to buy some books, attend an author talk, or join a bookclub? Chicago's fortunate enough to have a fantastic indie & used scene, thriving despite the challenges of big box/online retailers.

(Note: this list has not been updated since early in the pandemic, and will be getting a refresher soon!)

City of Chicago:
  • Myopic Books
    Wicker Park. 3 floors of used books, check the basement for SFF. Hosts Think Galactic.
  • Volumes
    Wicker Park & Gold Coast. Cafe & bookstore, now with a satellite store. Host clubs & events. Hard to overstate how much Volumes has been part of the ongoing Chicago literary moment.
  • The Gallery Ltd.
    Lake View. Used. Significant older SFF stock.
  • Secret Agent Supply
    Wicker Park. Mostly younger-reader targeted; part of 826CHI, a writing/tutoring/publishing non-profit.
  • Quimby's
    Bucktown. Mainstay of the zine scene. Events & readings. Has a small but extremely hip/weird selection of novels, lots of graphic novels as well.
  • Bucket O'Blood
    Avondale. Used & new books, with an emphasis on SFF/horror. Music & video shop as well. Hosts multiple clubs & events.
  • Semicolon
    Fulton River District. New bookstore, lots of events (including BYOB stuff). Not sure how much SFF stuff.
  • Open Books
    West Loop & Pilsen. Non-profit literary organization with 2 excellent used bookstores. Host the Chicago Nerd Social Club & many other events.
  • Pilsen Community Books
    Pilsen. Employee-owned used bookstore, pretty rad.
  • 57th St. & Seminary Co-Op
    Hyde Park. 57th is the general-interest bookstore, Seminary is academic-focused. Have the most packed & vibrant author series in Chicago, recordings of which usually wind up on their podcast.
  • Powell's Chicago
    Hyde Park. Used, with heavy academic focus.
  • Women & Children First
    Andersonville. Feminist bookstore with a great events lineup.
  • Armadillo's Pillow
    Roger's Park. Delightfully quirky used shop.
  • Heirloom Books
    Edgewater. Used shop. I haven't been, gasp!
  • Uncharted
    Ravenswood. Former Logan Square shop, recently relocated. Used books, lots of events and reading series.
  • Ravenswood Used Books
    North Center, technically, I guess. Jam-packed used bookstore, I usually find some good stuff here.
  • The Book Cellar
    Lincoln Square. Fantastic mainstay of the Chicago indie scene. With a cafe. Lots of events & clubs.
  • Unabridged
    Lake View East. "The most dangerous bookstore in Chicago", in that it is the hardest for me to exit without having bought multiple things. Both broad & very well-curated selection. Hosts some clubs and occasional events.
  • Bookman's Corner
    Lake View East. Strong chaos energy. Used.
  • Sandmeyer's
    Printers Row. Beautiful indie in the scenic South Loop.
  • The Dial
    The Loop. Used, rare, & collectible. The most instagrammable bookstore in the Midwest, seriously, it's gorgeous. Hosts some events.
  • After-Words
    Near North. Used & new, large selection, tucked away just off the Mag Mile.
  • Madison Street Books
    West Loop. It's new, haven't been yet.
  • The Underground Bookstore
    Calumet Heights. Emphasis on Black, African, Diaspora authors.
Greater Chicagoland: Parts North

Greater Chicagoland: Parts West

Greater Chicagoland: Parts South

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