Sunday, November 18, 2007

Two great bookstores

The Seminary Co-op Bookstore and 57th Street Books in Hyde Park, Chicago, are two great bookstores. They do not offer coffee. They do not offer tea. Nor do they offer Burt's Bees lip balm, or Lindt chocolate, or the other notions and sundries that have infiltrated both chain and independent bookstores. The Sem Co-op is the best scholarly bookstore in the country, a spacious, well-lit basement labyrinth of bookshelves. 57th Street Books is its trade-oriented sibling. Both stores (along with a third store at the Newberry Library) are member-owned; buying three shares of stock ($30) makes you a member and gets you a 10% discount on all purchases. Another benefit: the Sem Co-op will order (and ship) virtually any book in print.

It's always inspiring and humbling to visit the Co-op. It can also be expensive: I spent $125 on Proust-related reading — and could have spent twice as much.

The Seminary Co-op Bookstores

comments: 4

Sharon Delman said...

Oh, Michael! I went to the College at the University of Chicago and returned for grad school. I LOVE both the Seminary Co-op Bookstore and 57th Street books. In fact, I hold stock in them still. I appreciate your description of and enthusiasm for those bookstores. I've never encountered anywhere as wonderful. Long live these magnificent labyrinths of books.

Anonymous said...

Michael, you nearly gave me a heart attack. When I saw the headline and opening sentence, my first thought was that the Sem Co-op was closing. Thank heavens it's not. So I second Sharon's comment!

Michael Leddy said...

I didn't mean to alarm! Sharon and Stefan, you will be pleased to know that the Sem Coop seems to be "same as it ever was": mathematics, Loeb Classical Library, and Penguins at the front, then the front table, and so on. And the store still opens at 8:30 a.m. on weekdays.

thalkowski said...

Darn - I was just in Chicago a few days ago -- wish I had seen this posting while I was there! Oh well, next time, I guess.