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  #1  
Old 05-02-2009, 11:29 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Used Book Stores in Chicago? (Plus: Cecil's column!)

I'm a huge used book store junkie. Partly because I'm a cheap bastard, but even more so, because mainstream bookstores are all the same, and are annoyingly rooted in the present. Used bookstores are all unique, and are like hopping into a time machine and pressing "Quick Pick."

My favorites so far are Bookleggers on Broadway and Bookworks on Clark, with an honorable mention to Armadillo's Pillow way up on Sheridan when I can get that far north.

Anyone else have any nominations? I need to expand my repertoire. Thanks!......TRM
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  #2  
Old 05-03-2009, 01:35 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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The other two small shops I enjoy browsing are Myopic in Wicker Park and Bookworks at 3444 N Clark.

Powell's on 57th Street in Hyde Park is in a category by itself. The South Loop (828 S Wabash) and Lakeview (2850 N Lincoln) stores are also excellent, with a lot of remainder stock from university presses and Texas Bookman (parent of Half-Price Books). Also on 57th in Hyde Park is O'Gara's, but it's not as strong in recent and technical stuff (my interests) as Powell's.

Half-Price itself is now in the Chicago suburbs, with stores in Niles, Palatine, Bloomingdale, Highland Park, and Countryside. And out in Downers Grove, there's a branch of Frugal Muse, a big used bookstore from Madison, Wis.

Be sure to come to the Printers Row Book Fair, Dearborn Street between Congress and Polk, which attracts dealers from all over the country. This year, renamed Printers Row Lit Fest, it will be held June 6-7. The same weekend is the opening of what used to be called the Brandeis Book Sale at Old Orchard mall, a weeklong event which has now been taken over by the Little City Foundation. And generally the third week in July is the Newberry Library Used Book Sale, which can be excellent.
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  #3  
Old 05-06-2009, 12:50 PM
MikeS MikeS is offline
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Bookman's Corner, at Clark & Wellington, is pretty good (if not as large as Myopic or Powell's.)
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  #4  
Old 05-13-2009, 08:36 AM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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A bit north, but Titles in Highland Park is pretty good on rare and hard-to-find used books. They're probably a little over-priced, though, but ...
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  #5  
Old 05-13-2009, 09:11 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
Bookman's Corner, at Clark & Wellington, is pretty good (if not as large as Myopic or Powell's.)
I've been to that one. Didn't care for it. Too small, too disorganized, and NO science fiction section to speak of! And I never did know the name of it, other than, "Rare, Medium, and Well Done." Thanks for cluing me in.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Please keep them coming! My Jack Vance "Lyonesse" series is not yet complete......TRM

Last edited by Tim R. Mortiss; 05-13-2009 at 09:11 AM..
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  #6  
Old 05-15-2009, 07:22 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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You do know about bookfinder.com, right?
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  #7  
Old 05-15-2009, 07:53 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
You do know about bookfinder.com, right?
Yes, and AbeBooks.com. They're great when you're looking for something specific. But it's fun rummaging around with all that musty paper and making unexpected discoveries in a crowded shop.......TRM
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  #8  
Old 05-16-2009, 01:31 AM
thatdudeguydude thatdudeguydude is offline
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The two that I like and frequent most (probably out of location if anything) are Shake Rattle & Read next to the Uptown Theater and the Gallery Bookstore on Belmont.

I like both because I always end up chatting with the owners. They are both very polite and knowledgeable about all things literature. Also, Gallery makes it a point to have a "No Cell Phones" policy, which is awesome.
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  #9  
Old 06-03-2009, 12:40 PM
mcsnail mcsnail is offline
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Back in the 1960s there were some old time used bookstores along Clark Street, from Lake to around Grand. There was the old ABC Books and Magazines, which was heated by a pot bellied stove, and was the last place in Chicago to have massive holdings of back issue magazines.
There was also the Acme, the Gallery, and perhaps some others now lost to memory. The neighborhood in those days had more in common with Skid Row than its now trendy incarnation of River North.
Downtown now; there is the S. Loop outpost of Powells. A much more charming place is Selected Works Used Books and Sheet Music, now on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building at 410 S. Michigan. It is both airy and cosy and is filled with unusual and scholarly books, as well as a large and varied collection of used sheet music and scores.
Interesting bric-a-brac and a very sociable and energetic store kitten. Decent prices--especially considering its location.

Last edited by mcsnail; 06-03-2009 at 12:42 PM..
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  #10  
Old 06-05-2009, 06:30 PM
whet whet is offline
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Just south of Chicago?

There's a used book store just south of Chicago - between Chicago and Erie, specifically - that has fairly limited hours, but looks promising. Can't remember the name. Anyone been there?
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  #11  
Old 09-12-2009, 07:41 PM
zuzubaloo zuzubaloo is offline
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The Open Books Bookstore will be opening this fall at 213 W Institute Pl. Open Books is a not-for-profit literacy advocate and all profits go to supporting the cause.

open-books.org
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  #12  
Old 09-15-2009, 08:50 PM
Ed Zotti Ed Zotti is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
I've been to that one. Didn't care for it. Too small, too disorganized, and NO science fiction section to speak of! And I never did know the name of it, other than, "Rare, Medium, and Well Done." Thanks for cluing me in.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Please keep them coming! My Jack Vance "Lyonesse" series is not yet complete......TRM
Cecil recently mentioned Ravenswood Used Books, 4626 N. Lincoln, which I also like. Is it small? Yeah. Is it disorganized? Depends on what you consider organized. Great place for serendipitous discovery IMO, and the owner seems to have a pretty good idea what he's got. Wasn't looking for SF so can't speak to that. Worth a look.
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  #13  
Old 09-23-2009, 08:09 PM
MikeG MikeG is offline
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My favorite is Myopic books on Milwaukee just south of North Ave. THhy have an extensive Sci Fi/fantasy and horror section downstairs.
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  #14  
Old 10-16-2009, 11:20 AM
photopat photopat is offline
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Powell's on Lincoln and Myopic are my favorites, but I also like Bookman's Alley in Evanston. It occupies several rooms in a shop in the alley on the west side of Sherman Ave. north of Church street and is a great place to meander and find odd books and paper ephemera (Bookworks on Clark in Wrigleyville is also a great place for ephemera) plus the owner has a great collection of random antiques.
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  #15  
Old 03-10-2010, 11:59 AM
Zek46 Zek46 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcsnail View Post
Back in the 1960s there were some old time used bookstores along Clark Street, from Lake to around Grand. There was the old ABC Books and Magazines, which was heated by a pot bellied stove, and was the last place in Chicago to have massive holdings of back issue magazines.
There was also the Acme, the Gallery, and perhaps some others now lost to memory. The neighborhood in those days had more in common with Skid Row than its now trendy incarnation of River North.
Downtown now; there is the S. Loop outpost of Powells. A much more charming place is Selected Works Used Books and Sheet Music, now on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building at 410 S. Michigan. It is both airy and cosy and is filled with unusual and scholarly books, as well as a large and varied collection of used sheet music and scores.
Interesting bric-a-brac and a very sociable and energetic store kitten. Decent prices--especially considering its location.


I remember the old ABC magazine store at 418 North Clark St. very well. The owners name was Bob. The whole block north of the Clark St bridge had some very good book shops.
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  #16  
Old 03-18-2010, 02:56 PM
Iridic Iridic is offline
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Seconding the Selected Works' recommendation. A triumph of atmosphere! It's nothing like a Ravenswood or Co-op in volume, but what's there is nicely curated.

(Though I do wish that they had a bit more turnover in their inventory. The lovely Gorey-designed Anchor trades I snapped up over my first few visits left gaps on the shelf that have never been filled.)

The South Loop Powells' closed this summer, and the venerable Prairie Avenue architectural bookstore followed shortly after. I wouldn't wait to visit any of the bookstores mentioned in this thread, and I'd make sure to bring a camera.
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  #17  
Old 03-18-2010, 07:18 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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I used to go to Selected Works on Broadway and liked it a lot. This weekend I finally visited their new location on S. Michigan, and was VERY disappointed. The science fiction and mystery collections were lumped in with all the other paperback fiction, and NONE of it was alphabetized. Virtually useless for searching.
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  #18  
Old 03-19-2010, 06:17 AM
mailman mailman is offline
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Used Bookstores

I just read the article on Ravenswood Used Books, and I just had to say:

Unca Cec, yer the greatest.

As if I didn't know it already, but your obvious affection for the used book trade just warmed my cold cynical heart.
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  #19  
Old 03-19-2010, 07:52 AM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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Cecil has chimed in on this one, praising Ravenswood Used Books: http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20100318.php
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  #20  
Old 03-19-2010, 10:12 AM
Rico Rico is offline
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<mod>

Moved to Sweet Home Chicago, as this was a reply to one of Cecil's SDChicago columns.

CCC > SWC

ETA: Link to the column.

</mod>

Last edited by Rico; 03-19-2010 at 10:15 AM.. Reason: add link to column
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  #21  
Old 03-19-2010, 11:37 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Originally Posted by C K Dexter Haven View Post
Cecil has chimed in on this one, praising Ravenswood Used Books: http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20100318.php
Woo hoo! That's my third question that Cecil has addressed!

I must be the local poster boy for Ignorance That Needs Fighting. I shall wear the badge proudly.....TRM
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