Blocks away from Wrigley Field, hidden among the bars lining Clark Street, there is a literary outpost that traffics mostly in used and rare books. That place is Bookworks.
Owned by husband and wife Bob Roschke and Ronda Pilon, Bookworks has been in Wrigleyville for 26 years and has about 40,000 titles, which, according to Roschke, are divided into 30 to 40 subject areas. While the store has large areas devoted to fiction, poetry and history titles, it also has a number of books in categories such as metaphysics, humor and chess.
"Ninety-nine percent of our titles are used or out-of-print books," Roschke said. "We also have a select number of new books and a small collection of CDs and LPs."
According to Roschke, Bookworks has two seasons of clientele. Because of the store's proximity to Wrigley Field, the summer season is dominated by tourists and Chicagoans new to the neighborhood, while the winter months are frequented by regulars who brave the cold for Bookworks' unique titles.
Bookworks also has an impressive collection of fine bindings, illustrated books, first editions and rare books.
A leather-bound copy of "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville sells for $20, and a first edition of Gwendolyn Brooks' poetry collection "In the Mecca" is also priced at $20.
The extremely rare books are kept in a locked cabinet and include titles such as a 25th anniversary edition of "Slaughterhouse-Five" signed by Kurt Vonnegut for $350 and a 1927 copy of "Ulysses" by James Joyce for $400.
Bookworks does purchase used books, but it is selective about which titles it buys. Roschke said the store is looking to buy larger personal libraries and cautions potential sellers to call first.
Visit: Bookworks, 3444 N. Clark St., noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday or visit thebookworks.com.