Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Independent Bookstore Day draws ‘busloads’ to Evanston bookstores

A mural reads Bookends & Beginnings and displays colorful stacks of books.
Daily file photo by Valerie Chu
Bookends & Beginnings and other Evanston bookstores participated in the Chicagoland Bookstore Crawl.

A group of Chicagoland residents exited a white Hummer limo Saturday afternoon. Their destination: local bookstore Bookends & Beginnings.

To celebrate Independent Bookstore Day, the group rented a limo to visit 15 Chicago-area independent bookstores, said Nina Barrett, owner of Bookends & Beginnings. This was the group’s final store, so many in the group had a celebratory drink at the Bookends & Beginnings’ basement mini bar after browsing, she added.

“It just felt like there were a lot of people out there just really having fun,” Barrett said.

Bookends & Beginnings is one of 46 independent bookstores that participated in the Chicagoland Bookstore Crawl, which encouraged shoppers to visit 10 or 15 stores in one day to secure a 10% or 15% discount from all participating stores for the rest of the year.

This year, shoppers could also purchase bus tickets to ride along routes to participating stores.

Bookends & Beginnings events and marketing coordinator Molly Hart said it was great to see the book crawl bring “busloads” to the store.

Chicago residents Cassie Buchignani and Maddie Nakfoor started their crawl in Evanston, visiting Bookends & Beginnings and Booked.

Buchignani said she decided to participate in the crawl because her favorite bookstore — Volumes Bookcafe in Wicker Park — helped organize the events.

“I feel like the authors get the best deal when it comes to independent bookstores,” Nakfoor added.

Buchignani and Nakfoor said they planned to visit at least 10 stores, but they had a list of 15 if they were feeling up to it.

Not all customers had extensive lists of stores to visit, though.

Cheryl Gladfelter said this was the first time she shopped on Independent Bookstore Day because she was usually working.

She added that she and her two children — who were each selecting books to take home — would only be visiting Booked because visiting multiple stores is difficult with children. Gladfelter said she is a regular customer of Booked and attends one of its book clubs.

“I love getting to know the people who work here,” she said. “It’s really nice to get the recommendations from them knowing what I like to read.”

Local bookstores took the opportunity to offer activities and promotions to shoppers.

Booked held bookmark decorating with illustrator Hannah Bess Ross, tarot card readings and a scavenger hunt for children. Bookends & Beginnings hosted artist George Booker and offered a free tote bag to anyone who purchased three classics. Squeezebox Books & Music ran a “Book Lover’s Raffle.”

Barrett, who is also involved with the Chicagoland Independent Bookstore Alliance, said Independent Bookstore Day is largely designed to attract customers to locally owned bookstores.

She added that while small bookstores charge higher prices than chain retailers like Amazon, they provide greater value to the community.

“We’re not just selling you a product,” Barrett said. “We are creating a third space in your community where you can browse, have fun and meet people, authors do readings and you can meet them. We offer a lot more value for the price of the book you buy from us.”

Email: [email protected] 

X: @hannahe_webster

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