Chicago’s independent bookstores rally for customers during Coronavirus
today at 12:00 am
Due to the Coronavirus, most Chicago bookstores are closed to customer traffic, but open for business in other creative ways. Many are offering curbside service, free delivery, and reading recommendations for quarantines. Most events are cancelled and some will be rescheduled. Subscribe to your favorite bookstores’ newsletters and follow them on social media to stay up to date. I’ll continue to add and update, but call ahead if you need a bookstore fix. It seems like a new chapter every hour. (No word yet on the fate of Independent Bookstore Day.)
Please continue to support your local bookseller! Although I hate spreading apocalyptic stories – we’ve all heard enough – independent bookstores could be among virus fatalities without our ongoing support. As the crisis unfolded in China, many of its bookstores struggled to survive. Overall, Chinese private bookstores reported a 90 percent drop in revenue. Chicago’s book community is rallying for their customers and I’m hoping we say to them “backatcha” and all come out of this as unscathed (and well-read) as possible.
Here’s what I know so far:
UPDATE 8:50 p.m., Sunday, March 15:
“The Book Stall prides itself on being a community bookstore, a gathering place, and a locus for the exchange of news and ideas. Recent developments concerning the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and directives from local and state governments prompt us to take our part in continuing to be your good neighbor. To that end, we are closing our doors to foot traffic beginning Monday, March 16.”
Free deliveries to nearby suburbs, all other deliveries 99 cents or $3.95 for two-day delivery. Curbside service also available.
I needed a bookstore fix this morning, but found this sign on the Book Stall’s door. By 8:56 p.m., everything had changed.
For now: open, but closing early. Some events are canceled. Shipping is free.
“As more and more people will end up homebound, we know that Netflix can’t keep your sanity forever. Books are here for you! Follow us on twitter or instagram or facebook to keep up to date or just chat with your fellow bookish humans. As always, we are here for you. We know many rely on us and the conversations we have. We are here. You can always email us or call us, too! If you opt for home delivery, be warned that we might sneak a fun gift in there for you as well.”
Open until further notice.
Still open. Sanitizing procedures in effect. “As of today, our ticketed events with N.K. Jemisin (March 31), Samantha Irby & Megan Stielstra (April 14) and Rebecca Solnit & Eula Biss ( April 23) have not been cancelled. Circumstances are changing quickly, though, so we will update you if and when they do. Also, please note that the books attendees receive with their tickets will be pre-signed. For everyone’s health and safety, book signings and photo lines will likely not be possible in the coming months.”
“Events and gatherings have always been the soul of our bookstore—the thing that sets us apart from corporate monoliths. Now is the time to look forward and imagine what a community space is, what it means, and what it needs to be when gathering puts our most vulnerable at risk. We thank you for your support as we continue to build our feminist future together. With love & thanks.”
The bookstore is closed until further notice, but you can still order online and shipping is free. Follow on social media for reading recommendations and the Co-Op’s regular feature “The Front Table.”
“As we reimagine the ways we can serve you during this uncertain time, your support is more crucial than ever. The Co-op remains committed to supporting inquiry, measure, contemplation, connection, and community. It is with gratitude and humility that we will help see each other through these uncertain times.”
Closed until further notice but website is open 24/7. Free shipping!
“As of today, it is our hope that we will be able to keep the store open as a place of calm and escape from the uncertainty around us.” As always, shipping is available.
Suspending in-store business starting Monday, March 16. “Offering Online & Phone Service and Speedy Same-Day Delivery Instead!”
“YOU need fun, diversion, uplift, and constructive family activities. WE are going to fatten up our inventory of puzzles, games, flash cards, activity books, crosswords, and guided journals.”
Also offering “$1 SAME-DAY HOME DELIVERY FOR ANY SIZE ORDER to Evanston, Wilmette, Rogers Park, and Skokie (applies to orders placed by 3 pm for in-stock items only; if we have to special order something, we’ll get it to you the day it comes in). WE will also continue to offer 99 cent media-mail shipping to anywhere in the continental U.S. If you already have a special order in the system, we’ll deliver it for free when it comes in.”
Temporarily closed, but “we will continue to bend over backwards to help you get recommendations and access to the best assortment of books to meet all your reading and gifting needs. We will continue to answer the phones, make recommendations and help you choose books that we will creatively deliver to you. After cleaning our hands we will select your books and make them available for pick up outside the front or back door.”
The store is closed until March 30, but you can order online. Free shipping for all orders over $10.
Still open as of March 13. Offering curbside service. “We currently have hand sanitizer and wipes at the counter for frequent use (though, honestly, if you have more than you can use, we’d accept donations because we’re a little nervous about running out!) We are frequently sanitizing shared surfaces, and please know that we do accept contactless payments: Apple Pay, Google Pay, and all credit cards with the tap symbol are accepted.
Our website, www.booktable.net, as always, is fully shoppable, and in addition to USPS shipping for as low as $3.99, starting Monday, March 16th, we will offer $3 local delivery to Oak Park and River Forest customers. Orders for in-stock merchandise placed before noon will be delivered the same day.”
Still open as of now. “Our booksellers will tell you where to pull up and then run your purchases out to your car!”
Closed, but offering curbside pick-up and free home delivery within Roscoe Village. $1 shipping everywhere else.