Monday, January 12, 2015

After-Words Books - Chicago, IL

After -Words Books - Chicago, IL
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Readers, this will not be a good entry for my blog.  On my journey, which is now over 70 indies visited, I've always been open to the bookstore staff about what I'm doing.  I've been nothing less than courteous, respectful, and patient.  Everyone I've visited has always been welcoming; appreciative of my project for independent bookstores, and usually open to receiving some positive free publicity.  Not so here at After-Words.  I talked to the  manager, the only employee on site (or so he told me which means there was a stranger downstairs shelving books).  After introducing myself (something I always do, a social courtesy, right?), it was like pulling teeth for him to reciprocate, but he finally did.  I asked a few questions about the store, which again, was like pulling teeth.  His basic answer was, "I don't know, I just work here."  I was told to come back and talk to the owner, whenever she might return later in the day.

Maybe it was a bad day for this guy?  Is this a reflection of the owner?  At every indie I've visited, someone has always signed one of my books on behalf of the store.  Not here.  I'm not a journalist, I don't represent any organization, I'm not running a scam, and nobody is paying me.  But, he wouldn't sign on behalf of the store.  Needless to say, I didn't even ask if I could take his picture.

I suppose I was bound to run into a lemon after so many visits.  I just didn't think that was possible with an independent bookstore.  I would love to return to all the bookstores I've visited and I'm sure I will with some of them.  But not this one.  Indies are supposed to be fun, this one wasn't.  This one was a drag.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Just don't do it here.  Bonsoir.


  1. Bob, I live in Chicago and visit After-Words often: I'm sorry you had a bad experience at the store. I have been treated well on my visits there, and can only speculate about why things went the way they did the day you were there. I went by on 2/10/15, a few weeks after you visited, to find the store closed for "remodeling" -- which I fervently hope is true, and doesn't actually mean they're closed for good. Based on that, I think it's possible that the employee you talked to had a lot on his mind that day.

    I found your blog because I was searching for information about what's going on with After-Words, and think your project is great! I have a habit of taking photos of book and record stores wherever I go, so I sympathize entirely with what you're doing.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Nancy, and you're right; we can only speculate about my experience at After-Words. My visit was only one short, snapshot, so hopefully it was the exception rather than the rule. Thanks for following and thanks for reading!