Buoyed by the success of the first California Bookstore Day, nine Chicago independent bookstores have teamed up to start the first Chicago Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, July 12. Just as the California bookstores did on May 3, the participating Windy City independents are offering special deals, free books, and refreshments to customers the entire day. Customers will also receive a handful of puzzle pieces from each participating store that are meant to fit together to create an exclusively designed print suitable for framing by Lilli Carré, an interdisciplinary artist and illustrator currently living in Chicago. The cofounder of the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation, Carré has created several comic books, most recently one for children titled, Tippy and the Night Parade (Toon Books).

The nine stores participating in Chicago Independent Bookstore Day include the Book Cellar (Lincoln Square); 57th Street Books and Seminary Coop (Hyde Park); Sandmeyer’s (Printer’s Row); Unabridged Books (Lakeview); Open Books (River North); City Lit Books (Logan Square); Powell’s Bookstore (University Village); and Women & Children First (Andersonville).

Stefan Moorehead, the frontlist buyer at Unabridged Books, told PW that he was inspired to collaborate with other Chicago booksellers on this initiative after talking at Winter Institute earlier this year with Amanda Bullock, the director of public programming at Housing Works Bookstore in New York City. She had told him, he said, that Housing Works had partnered several times with McNally Jackson Books on a series of events, “sort of a small-scale Manhattan Independent Bookstore Day.” He then heard about Green Apple Books in San Francisco’s push for the California Independent Bookstore Day, which further inspired him to contact other bookstores in the city.
“We need to do something, “ he said, “Our hope is that this year will be successful and we can branch out next year and make it a Chicagoland bookstore day, or even bring in the Great Lakes [Independent] Booksellers Association. The Platonic ideal is that next year we’d have a nationwide independent bookstore day.”