The Bookworks was launched in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood in 1984 by Bob Roschke and Ronda Pilon. We started with a passion for books and a dream of taking on the challenge of creating and growing a small business. We survived by maintaining high ethical standards and a friendly and transparent business model.

We would not have been able to accomplish what we have without the help and dedication of our small part-time staff over the years. Each employee has had unique knowledge and skills and we’ve worked together with them to provide a shop that our customers appreciate.

Our Stock

Bookworks has always made an effort to locate and purchase books that our customers are looking to buy. In addition to a general stock of popular titles and authors, we offer a selection of out of print and rare books. Literary first editions, antiquarian titles, fine bindings, and other unique items are part of the extensive stock.

A large part of our success has been due to the diversity of what we sell. We’ve always carried a selection of LPs and CDs specializing in jazz, rock and classical music. We also have a dedicated section of new books by the Beat authors (Kerouac, Burroughs, Bukowski, Ginsberg) and we try to keep all of their in print titles in stock (sold at a 10% discount). Ephemera or older paper items (like cruise ship menus or Century of Progress brochures) and vintage photographs add to the uniqueness of what we sell.

Our Pricing

One of our primary goals is to offer books and recordings at affordable prices based on the current marketplace. We integrate new arrivals of quality stock every day. These strategies keep our inventory moving quickly and give our customers new surprises on each visit  The owners and staff are continually integrating new arrivals when quality books become available. Reasonable prices and the constantly changing selection make it worthwhile to continue to check back regularly to see what’s available.

Our History

Our original location was a historic gray-stone at 3441 N Sheffield Ave. On a Valentine’s Day in 1987 we moved the entire shop stock across the street to 3444 N Clark Street. It was the humor and energy of a committed group of volunteers who made this memorable experience possible and we couldn’t have accomplished it without them. The change in location helped us establish a greater presence in the Wrigleyville and Chicagoland area. We were able to double our floor space and expanded from an original stock of 10,000 titles to the current 40,000.

In 1995 we began to sell additional titles online and we continue to expand those offerings through our website and the vendors Amazon, Abebooks, Alibris and eBay

Who We Are

Bob Roschke is a Chicagoland native who is an alumnus of the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) with a degree in Anthropology/Archeology. He discovered his passion for bookselling while working for Journey Books in Seattle, WA and by publishing his first book catalog of rare Wall Street history titles in 1983. He reads in many areas: science, science fiction, radical movements of the 1960s and eastern philosophy.

Ronda Pilon is a Eugene, Oregon native with a degree from the University of Oregon. She worked with the Peace Corps in candidate selection before joining Bookworks full time in 1987. She loves learning from Bookworks’ customers about their reading, interests and life experiences. She reads in areas of science, literature, mysteries and has a special interest in esoteric subjects like Japanese garden history and Tibetan art.

What Our Customer’s Say