The Chicago bookstore scene continues to shift this fall, as the Seminary Co-op Bookstores retrenches following its move last year to a larger space about a block from the old one in Hyde Park, near the University of Chicago campus. The Seminary Co-op turned over management as of November 1 of the Newberry Library Bookstore to its parent organization, an independent research library dedicated to the study of the humanities and social sciences since 1887. The Seminary Co-op has managed the Newberry Bookstore since 1995, when Newberry Library administrators asked the Seminary Co-op to take it over.
The Newberry Bookstore, which is also known as the A.C. McClurg Bookstore, specializes in history, book arts, Native American studies, Shakespeare, and Chicago books. It is housed on two floors inside the lobby of the Newberry Library in downtown Chicago’s Near North area.
The Seminary Co-op informed its 53,000 members in October that it was giving up the management of the Newberry Bookstore to “better focus our resources on the broad and rich inventory and programming” at the Seminary Co-op flagship store and at its sister store, 57th Street Books. Representatives of the Seminary Co-op Bookstores were unavailable for comment.
The Seminary Co-op announced earlier this fall the retirement of its long-time general manager, Jack Cella, and previously, in August, that it was changing its discount policies “to address continuing financial pressures” and “put the store on a more solid financial footing.” Instead of a 10% discount for members on each purchase, members will now receive a 10% credit annually towards future purchases, based on their prior purchases that year.
The Newberry Library has named Jennifer Fastwolf its new bookstore manager; she previously managed the sales operations at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art Bookstore. Kelly McGrath, the Newberry’s director of marketing and communications, told PW that there will be more changes made at the bookstore, including the addition of used and rare books into the store’s inventory. The Newberry also hopes to add a cafe to the Newberry Library and place it in the lobby area next to the bookstore.