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Best Bookstores in Chicago

Despite the current shift to online reading, people still prefer hard copies because of that raw feeling they portray.

And if you have ever been to a bookstore, you should understand that nostalgic smell of old books. Well, the pandemic has put all that to a halt. Online reading is the way forward now.

Many bookstores have felt the negative impacts of the ebook culture. Some bookstores are barely thriving during this pandemic-accelerated era of digitization.

But if you are in Chicago, you can still visit a used bookstore Chicago to rent or buy books.

Currently, the best bookstores in Chicago sell books in different genres of literature to make your reading experience memorable. These books range from classics by revered authors to new thought-provoking books that leave us wondering what’s more.

Many books stores Chicago cater to a specific community, from sci-fi thrillers to alternative books. Regardless of your taste, you will find a book on their shelves that satisfies your desires.

Besides, some of these bookstores are themed to create a reading environment that lets you escape the bustling city. With this in mind, let’s go through some of the best bookstores in Chicago.


5 Best Bookstores in Chicago

Before getting into the list, here is a quick background of the book scene in Chicago.

The best used bookstores in Chicago offer you much more than just books. You get book suggestions from the bookstore managers who probably give better advice than a recommendation algorithm would. But it’s not just advice on which books to read; you also become a part of the book community in the city.

Besides, each bookstore Chicago has a unique character and aura. Several booksellers and bookstores host open mic nights, book clubs, reading events, and so on. These stores have become an integral part of their communities by catering to a specific audience.

We’ve carefully selected highly recommended used books stores Chicago that offer a bustling reading community. Let’s check out some of these lovely places.

Chicago Bookstores: Unabridged Bookstore

The Unabridged Bookstore was established on Saturday, 1st of November, 1980, by Ed Devereux. Since then, the shop has continued growing and thriving as a pillar of Chicago book stores.



The bookstore has an acclaimed section for children’s books as well as well-trained staff to help you through the shelves. Like other Chicago bookstores, the shop hosts several book events, book clubs, and sales to encourage its book community.

Unabridged is also famous for being the most reliable bookstore for all LGBTQ books. The iconic bookstore was declared one of the best bookstores in Chicago in 2015 by Chicago’s reputable magazine. Unabridged continues to offer exquisite award-winning books, weekly bestsellers, and a vast range of literature.

Chicago Book Stores: Quimby’s Bookstore

There aren’t many bookstores like Quimby’s when it comes to rare prints. You are more likely to get a book on a random new idea in this shop than at other books stores in Chicago.



Over the years, Quimby’s bookstore has grown into one of the best used bookstores in Chicago. Also, it has developed to adapt to a broader range of short and large volumes.

Quimby’s bookshop offers different book genres, ranging from adult comics to non-fiction.

Books Stores Chicago: The Book Cellar

The Book Cellar’s uniqueness is that it offers more than just books. Once you are inside the bookstore, you get a whole reading experience second to no other used books stores Chicago have.



Settling down to a book with coffee or even wine by the glass in this Lincoln Square bookstore is a unique experience. It feels more like reading in a quiet place and absorbing the whole essence of the book in little sips.

The Book Cellar is a popular hangout for Chicago book stores lovers within the reading community. There is always a book event happening here, whether a book signing or an open mic.

Chicago Bookstores: Sandmeyer’s Bookstore

Among Chicago bookstores, Sandmeyer’s bookstore has been one of the most reliable sources of new and trending books. From the moment you walk in, you fall in love with the historic building that houses it, which used to be a printing press.

Since 1982, Sandmeyer’s bookstore has remained one of the books stores in Chicago that offers a refuge to book lovers in the city’s South Loop.



You can quickly get one of the classic Chicago used books by local authors or a new release to pass the evening. The Children’s section at Sandmeyer’s bookstore consistently offers fresh reading material for young readers.

Bookstore Chicago: Volumes

Two siblings — Rebecca and Kimberly — opened the Volumes Bookcafe, and it has remained a family-run business since then. Their passion to be among the best used bookstores in Chicago is interwoven in the bookstore’s drive to create a conducive environment for different book communities.



The Volumes bookstore Chicago provides a cafe and bookshop in one space. You could walk in, purchase a book, and sit down to read it over a cup of coffee. If you don’t want to stay, you can browse the shop for new arrivals and classics.

Just like in other bookstores in Chicago, open mic nights and book reading events are never scarce on their calendar. Kids also get in on the action with different story-telling events during the daytime.

Final Words About Bookstores in Chicago

Sometimes all you need is to get lost in your favorite book in a cozy place, sipping wine or coffee. You could also meet other readers at Chicago used bookstore or even run into favorite authors at a book signing.

Many of these books stores Chicago go the extra length to ensure you get the complete experience with any book you choose. Besides, some have a vibrant reading community in the town.

With the shops on this list of best bookstores in Chicago, you can never go wrong. Most of them have track records in offering top-quality book-related services to the communities in Chicago.

Make sure you visit some of these Chicago used bookstores. You will love every bit of it.