Sunday, December 1, 2019

Bookie's - Chicago, IL

Bookie's, Chicago, IL
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How have I missed visiting this gem until now?  I'm over 400 bookstores into my journey, Bookie's has been around for 30 years, and I'm just getting here now?  Thankfully, there are many more long-running indies around the country like Bookie's that I'll enjoy visiting eventually.  And while I'm always excited to visit newly-opened stores, I'm equally enthusiastic to visit bookstores that have endured and stood the test of time.  These stores deserve to be recognized and acknowledged for their success, longevity, community involvement, and much more.  And here at Bookie's you can check all of those boxes.

Even though Bookie's has been around for 30 years, there are new things happening.  They're in a new location on very busy Western Ave in The Beverly neighborhood of south Chicago.  They re-located here from around the corner and now are able to shelve a much larger fiction section.  As Mary told me, much easier to browse here in the new larger space.  They also opened a second location in nearby Homewood.  Two great signs that things are trending upward for Bookie's and the business, a trend I see almost everywhere I visit.  Here at the Western Ave location, the store is divided into two large adjacent rooms with most of the adult books in the left room and most of the children's in the main entrance room.  The store offers both new and used books and you'll find them shelved together throughout the store.  Bookie's offers store credit to customers who bring books in but they also receive books that are simply donated.  This indie is extremely fortunate to have a good partnership with many local schools.  On the day of my visit, owner Keith L. had been hosting a book fair at one of the schools.  They are also a vendor for the Chicago Public Schools, a great advantage that other indies would enjoy.

Keith is the 3rd owner in the store's history and he and his staff were super to meet.  Carrie, the store manager, along with booksellers Mary and Brianna were fantastic to talk to and tell me about the store and all things books.  

If you're a book-lover in the Chicago area and haven't found this store yet, what gives?  You've had 30 years BUT all will be forgiven and you'll have the same appreciation I did when I discovered this fantastic bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Great Believers, Rebecca Makkai.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Baby, You're Gonna Be Mine, Kevin Wilson.  The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce.

A sidewalk sign we can all agree with, right?!

These are the sentiments of all indies and their respective communities.  

Lots of front window display space.  

View looking through the store from the front entrance.  After the tall bookshelves along the left there is an entryway into the adjacent room with more books.  

Good news Bookie's customers.  The inventory continues to grow.  

Just inside the front door you'll find the display of current fiction and non-fiction bestsellers.  

Display of a few of the sidelines available, located conveniently in the center of the main room.  

Once Keith explained this to me I understood it perfectly.  This is the store's logo featuring the Chicago star surrounded by depictions of books.  Very cool.  

Just inside the front door you'll see some excellent art work complete with talking bubbles.  

Display of staff picks.  

Always glad to see reading glasses available on my travels since I sit on mine every so often.  

Some great holiday gift ideas.  

Partial view of the children's section.  

Curious George is waiting for you.  

Pass through this entryway to another room of books.  

This is the view of the second room, looking to the right and to the back of the store.  This room has a large offering of adult fiction.  

Always one of my favorite pictures, a long wall of books.  

If you're vertically challenged and the book you want is on the top shelf, Bookie's has you covered.  

An overview of the second room looking from the back toward the front.  

If you're vision impaired, they have a fine section of large-print.  

If you're in Chicago and a Bears fan, this is da book for you.  

Overview of the main room looking from the back toward the front entrance.  

Bring your well-behaved friend in for a treat (to clarify, your 4-legged friend).  

If you live in the Beverly neighborhood, this is for you.  

Just a few of the books offered of local interest.  

From L-R: Carrie, Mary, and Keith.  Just a few of the fine folks you'll meet at Bookie's.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Monday, November 25, 2019

Page 1 Books - Evanston, IL

Page 1 Books, Evanston, IL
(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

Red rover, red rover send Ginger right over.  Attention all bookstore scholars, historians, owners, and staffers, especially those of you who are familiar with 1970s Texas bookstores (Indie Bob, what does this have to do with Page 1 Books in Evanston?  Just stick with me here, people!).  Just as people are curious about their ancestors, Page 1 Books is curious about theirs.  You see, owner Brandy O., grew up in Corpus Christi with a neighborhood bookstore she rode her bike to.  She loved it so much that when she was 9 years old, she asked owner Ginger for a job in this bookstore, Page 1 Books.  Brandy was so inspired by this store and owner that she named her new store Page 1 Books to honor that past.  So now, she's searching for Ginger, Page 1 Book's owner in Corpus Christi during the 1970s.  Brandy is trying to locate Ginger to thank her for the impact and inspiration she's had on her life and the new store.  If only there were an for bookstores!

Here's what I know for sure about Ginger.  She will be extremely proud of Brandy and this new, 6-month old bookstore that she's opened in Evanston, near the Northwestern University campus.  A beautiful interior space offering all new books and a variety of literary-themed sidelines.  If you're looking for literary-themed tea or candles, you'll find them here along with some unique gift ideas.  This business actually began a couple of years ago as an internet book subscription service.  That business grew so well (including 12,000 instagram followers) that Brandy decided to open a brick and mortar store.  Her background in technology and marketing along with a talented team of family members prompted her to tell me that results so far have been "incredibly overwhelming."  

The store is already offering an active events schedule, including a twice-weekly story time.  They enjoy a lot of walk-in traffic and regular customers as well as staff members from the Northwestern community.  And if any Northwestern students stop in to shop they'll get a 10% discount.  Thanks to their subscription series they also enjoy customers from all over the country, some of whom visit Evanston to see the physical store.

Brandy and bookseller Sara are the reasons my journey is such a blast (bookstore dog, Boo Radley, was not present and had the day off.  I'm required to deduct points for this staffing transgression).  These people will make your visit outstanding and Ginger will love this beautiful descendent of her Page 1 Books.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Thirty Years A Slave, Louis Hughes.  Autobiography originally published in 1897.  An excellent primary source of the author's life from the 1840s through the 1890s.  Considering the time period, this is very readable.  The brutality of slavery recorded by this author and the attitudes of both races during this time period are vividly recorded.  Life as a slave on the plantation and the home of the planter.  Also excellent observations about the Civil War.  Published by NewSouth Books.  I thoroughly enjoyed this accounting.  Recommended.  

CURRENTLY READING:  The Great Believers, Rebecca Makkai.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:   The Overstory, Richard Powers.  

You probably can't read these unless you enlarge the picture.  This is a display window of gratitude, a great idea.  Thanks Page 1.  

The store already has a busy events schedule.  

This is so indie.  

View looking to the right from the front entrance.  

Just inside the front door you'll see a table display of new and noteworthy fiction.  

A very comfortable place in the front of the store to enjoy good company and a good book.  

There are inspirational quotes found throughout the store.  I've seen this in other indies and I like the idea.  

Wonderful display of new and noteworthy non-fiction.  

Literary-themed tea to go with your book.  Jane Austen's black tea blend.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

I think this is a fantastic service.  This part of the business was in place a couple of years before the store opened.  

And if you don't like your book?  No biggie, no sweat, no hassle.  

This is what one of the book subscription gift bundles looks like.  As one customer told Brandy, it's like getting a present for yourself once a month.  

Much of the artwork you see displayed in the store was done by Brandy's daughter and is available for purchase.  

Sometimes you can find beauty beneath the display tables.  Beautiful.  

You saw the gratitude display window?  I call this the gratitude pole.  Way to go Page One!   

Unique.  A must have.  

Find these shelves for some 50% off bargains.  

A few of the books available by Evanston authors.  

If you know a Shakespeare fan, this gift pack would be perfect.  

Or get the same gift bundle for your Charles Dickens fan.  

Partial view of the children's section.  

Overview of the store looking from the rear toward the front entrance.

With Brandy, the fine owner at Page One Books.  Thanks for a great visit.