Chicago Independent Bookstore Day draws indie store fans

One participating bookstore reported a 300 percent increase in sales.

Ann Hermes
Chicago bookstore The Book Cellar was one of the stores that participated in Chicago Independent Bookstore Day.

The first Chicago Independent Bookstore Day was held on July 12, with nine bookstores teaming up to hold the celebration. 

The Book Cellar, 57th Street Books, City Lit Books, Open Books Store, Powell’s Bookstore, Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, Unabridged Bookstore, and Women & Children First Bookstore participated in various ways with author signings, giveaways, and the distribution of puzzle pieces that could be brought together to form a print by artist Lilli Carré. 

All activities were designed to support business and heighten awareness of Chicago's independent bookstores.

Different bookstores celebrated in different ways, with most reporting a gratifying response from customers. Five patrons were standing outside Open Books when it opened, Kevin Elliot of Open Books told Chicagoist writer Jaclyn Bauer. The store was offering a bag filled with books and other items to the first 20 customers who spent $30 or more. The Book Cellar had discounts, free advance reading copies, and cupcakes. Women & Children First offered two free advance reading copies and had writer Mary Schmich signing ARCS of her book “Even the Terrible Things Seem Beautiful.” Powell’s Bookstores hosted author Eula Biss.

Open Books stated on Twitter that they saw a 300 percent increase in sales. “We can't stop thanking you for making #chicagobookstoreday a success!” bookstore staff wrote. Meanwhile, Women & Children First Bookstore staff wrote on Facebook, “The first-ever Chicago Independent Bookstore Day, was quite a day! Hundreds of people visited the store, many of them ... were collecting the puzzle pieces, hoping to complete the puzzle designed by Lilli Carre. The first couple through our door in the morning planned to visit all 9 stores in one day, via public transportation! (We really hope they were successful!)”

All signs point to another celebration being held next year – Powell’s Bookstore staff wrote on Facebook that they were “looking forward to next year” and Seminary Co-Op staff tweeted the same.

Chicago’s Independent Bookstore Day followed a California Bookstore Day that was held this past May.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Chicago Independent Bookstore Day draws indie store fans
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today