How to take the #MyChicagoBookstore Challenge on Independent Bookstore Day

You guys, Independent Bookstore Day (IBD) is coming up! It’s this Saturday and it almost snuck up on me.

If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a one-day nationwide party that takes place at participating locally owned bookstores across the country. Festivities vary by store, just as the stores themselves vary, but the idea is that each store creates its own unique events. Think: special kids’ storytimes, guest author appearances, readings, contests, giveaways and sales.

If you and your kids are avid readers, it’s so much more than something to do on a Saturday and a great way to support the local shops you love.

This year, Chicago-area stores are stepping up their IBD game and 24 stores in and around the Chicago area are teaming up to participate in the #MyChicagoBookstore Challenge sponsored by the Chicagoland Independent Bookstore Alliance (ChiBA). The challenge encourages book lovers to hit up their favorite neighborhood store and then indulge in a little bookstore tourism by visiting 10 or more participating shops that day.

If you’re interested in participating, you can pick up your #MyChicagoBookstore carabiner and your first “luggage tag” from the participating independent store of your choice with an initial purchase of $25 or more. From there, visit 10 or more additional book stores participating and pick up a tag at each store. No additional purchases are required to pick-up the additional tags, but if you make it to 10 stores on IBD, you’ll get 10 percent off at the bookstores who participated for an entire year. Visit 15 stores and save 15 percent for a full year.

Plus, if you’re social media savvy (and who isn’t these days?) share a pick of yourself and your IBD haul with the #CHIBD17 hashtag on Instagram or Twitter, or tag @chibookstore in your tweet to win more prizes.

You can also check out the #MyChicagoBookstore Facebook page, where all member stores can post readings and other literary events to create one central “billboard” making it easier to sync up the events you want to check out.

Here are some of my favorite book stores participating in the challenge:


Wicker Park

1854 W. North Ave., Chicago

One of my absolute favorite places in the city, there’s nothing quite like Quimby’s. Specializing in small press zines, books, comics and more, there’s a wide variety here offering a little bit of everything you aren’t likely to find in most places.

Women & Children First


5233 N. Clark St., Chicago

This feminist bookstore has been around since 1979 and is one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country. There’s 30,000 books by and about women, children’s books for all ages, and the best of lesbian and gay fiction and non-fiction. My favorite part is that the books themselves are organized in a way that allows me to find kids’ books on specific topics, making it easier to stop in and get exactly what I want.

The Book Cellar

Lincoln Square

4736 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago

If books + wine is your jam, this independently owned part-book store, part-café is where you should go. Grab wine by the glass, check out your book with the friendly staff and settle in to a comfy spot by the windows.

Find the full list of participating shops here.

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