Saturday, October 9, 2010

My Favorite Used Bookstore Needs Help!

The best used bookstore in Chicago, in my humble opinion, is Armadillo's Pillow in Rogers Park. They are in financially troubled times (who isn't these days?), but there's a way that you bookstore lovers can help them out. It's simple enough: Buy some books from them and/or drop off the used books that you know you'll never read again. Armadillo's Pillow is not the biggest used bookstore in Chicago. It doesn't have the largest selection, and there is no off-street parking (although it's along some major bus lines and is an easy walk from the Morse CTA Red Line station). But the quality of selections and the charm of the space itself will hook you. What makes A.P. the best is a combination of things: A warm, cozy environment that encourages lingering and browsing, a wide variety of genres and titles, the home made art for sale on the walls, and never knowing what new literary gem you may find for a couple of bucks in the well-organized aisles and rows of used books. Actually, they're in such good condition that owners Matt and Beth might take a cue from the auto retail industry and refer to them as "pre-owned" books. Like many businesses these days, Armadillo's Pillow is having a rough time financially. You might think that a seller of used books (or used anything) would see an uptick in business during such times, when people are looking for bargains. Not so, says Matt. Apparently, people are willing to forego books to keep their own budget in line. I find that confusing, since a good book can be found for less than what might pay for a beer at tavern. Unlike the beer, the book can provide entertainment for days or weeks and will not increase your need to urinate or impair your ability to operate heavy machinery. Armadillo's Pillow has been in business for 15 years. I discovered them 12 years ago, when I first moved into Rogers Park. Over the course of 10 years, I think I purchased something like 70 or 80 books there. Most of those were used (pre-owned) science fiction items, often under $2.00 each. With no television at home, the books were welcome entertainment. Also welcome has been the many hours of good conversation I've had over the years with Matt and Beth. Now, Armadillo's needs a little extra love. Friend and fellow blogger Bill Morton recently helped in a big way. "I donated roughly two thousand books to local bookstore The Armadillo's Pillow. The books that I donated were the ones that I saved from the North Shore School demolition a few years ago." Read Bill's post at his RP1000 blog. The Armadillo's Pillow is located at 6753 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago, Illinois, 60626. They're on the east side of Sheridan just south of Pratt. Their website is Their phone is 773-761-2558. Photos taken October 9, 2010 by T.H.Mannis