One of the nation's largest booksellers, Books-A-Million, has one location in Illinois, which opened in 2001 in what was the Crown Books store cater-cornered from Federal Plaza. It's small and rectangular, but it takes full advantage of its space. "We're one of the smaller (stores) but we're very well-stocked," said Jeff Burakowski, the store's general manager. The aisles are narrow and organized into 36 to 40 categories, Burakowski said, with the store's most popular titles, business and popular fiction located at the front. The impressively varied newsstand takes up the back wall and leads to Books-A-Million's most recent addition, the Joe Muggs cafe, which opened last year. The chain started as a Christian bookstore out of Birmingham, Ala., and has a strong presence in the Southeast, but, Burakowski said, does a good job of responding to the specific needs of each region. "With us they have to address our diverse clientele." Though there is a row devoted to Christian titles and a Bible table, Books-A-Million also carries books pertaining to Islam and Judaism. Some of the many Christmas books are discounted up to 75 percent.
Visit: Books-A-Million, 144 S. Clark St., 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday, or go to booksamillion.com.