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Open Books Halves Prices So Chicago Can Give the Gift of Reading

RIVER NORTH—Book lovers, rejoice.

Open Books' bi-annual sale is coming up this weekend, and their half-off-everything event promises deals to please every bibliophile on your shopping list.

The local nonprofit works with Chicago Public Schools for literacy-promoting programming that starts grade-schoolers on a path to reading, and sticks with students through high school with book clubs and college essay writing workshops. Donated books sold in the storefront fund their services.

From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 and Sunday, Dec. 9, everything in the store at 213 W. Institute Place will be on sale for half price.

That includes their rare and limited edition stock, like a signed copy of Christopher Hitchens' first book, an early printing called Cyprus, and a rare first edition of Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. Both are priced upwards of $700, but will be available for half that during the two-day sale.

"The books in our store, because they're donated, can be extremely unique," Bookstore Coordinator Lizzy Boden said. "They make fun gifts to give someone, and the money goes to a really good cause. It makes a really great gift on a lot of fronts."

Not a collector? You can still expect some serious deals. Boden says the average book price "hovers around $4.60," and the shop's collection has been growing as e-book readers purge their libraries. Donations will be accepted at the store during the sale, and voracious readers looking to unload five boxes or more can schedule a pickup online.

Boden says shoppers usually line up outside the store on sale day before the doors open, but this year, they're offering a cheat to cut the line. Cardholding members of the Open Books loyalty program can get in the door at 8 a.m., and staffers will be on hand selling memberships that morning for interested earlybirds.

The Samich Box food truck will also be on-site, so visitors can shop til they drop, refuel, and get right back at it.