Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Women & Children First
by Ross Forman
2007-04-11

This article shared 14222 times since Wed Apr 11, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Women & Children First co-owners Linda Bubon ( left ) and Ann Christophersen. Photo by Ross Forman. Linda Bubon accepting the Lesbian Community Cancer Project award presented to the bookstore in February. Photo by Kat Fitzgerald

_____________

The bookstore isn't just for books, of course. There are magazines, CDs, magnets, jewelry and more. Women & Children First, a popular Andersonville anchor, has been in business for almost 28 years, and since 1990 it has been at 5233 N. Clark.

'You'll see books here that you won't see anywhere else,' said co-owner Linda Bubon. 'I think people often are surprised with what they find when they come inside the store; [ there's such a ] variety, including books, magazines, cards, videos, etc.'

The books' subjects range from spirituality to psychology to pregnancy to politics to cooking. People can also order any item they don't see in the bookstore—including textbooks.

'People don't know perhaps the breadth of our stock. They may well find things that they don't expect to,' said co-owner Ann Christophersen. 'Our identity has shifted a bit since moving to Andersonville. We still are a specialty—a feminist store. We carry a lot of books by and about women in a depth and breadth that you just won't find at other general bookstores. But, since moving to this location, we're functioning more as a neighborhood bookstore and Women & Children First doesn't quite capture that fact. It just shows our focus, but not our entire store.'

Underscoring that statement is the fact that the store's customer base is about 40 percent men. W&CF has a diverse stock of books, including some sports titles that, no doubt, would appeal to male consumers.

W&CF also has a deep selection of contemporary politics and loads of fiction titles.

'We certainly have a lot of male customers these days. Heck, there are times when there are only male [ customers ] in the store, and that wasn't the case in the early days,' Christophersen said. 'Our male customer-base has risen significantly over the years because we carry a very diverse selection of books.'

The staff at W&CF includes two full-timers, including Bubon, as well as six part-timers. The staff is knowledgeable, helpful and friendly.

One thing that has affected independent bookstores over the past few years is a decline in sales—and W&CF is no exception. 'At the end of the 1990s, we were at a good place [ financially ] ,' Bubon said. 'We maintained [ that level ] for the first few years [ of the 2000s ] , but the last three years have been a downward trend in sales.'

One factor hurting sales at W&CF is competition, of course. Borders Books & Music, for instance, has four locations—all within four miles of W&CF. The Internet is also a significant factor because it's made book-shopping simple and cheaper, especially for those who know exactly what they want. 'It's extremely hard to compete with [ the Internet ] ,' Bubon said.

W&CF was one of the first Chicago-area bookstores to sell online, and it still does.

'We're working as smartly and operating as smartly as, frankly, we know how to,' Christophersen said. 'We have done everything we can think of to cut our operating costs, including my salary.'

Things have gotten so bad at W&CF that both confirm the store must now plan month-to-month, not long-term. And the possibility that W&CF might close before the end of the summer is very real, they confirmed.

'What it ultimately comes down to is: whether people in the community, and the city as a whole, decide it matters enough that we exist and then make their shopping decisions based on that,' Christophersen said. 'We want people's support, and we need it now. By that we mean, that they buy their books here.

'What we offer that none of the Internet sites offer is: an actual place where people can look at books they may be interested in, see other people, and hear book suggestions.'

W&CF hosts regular author speaking and signing events, mostly for lesbian writers. The store also features a handy bulletin board, loaded with local information.

'Good bookstores just seem like an important part, an important space in community life,' Christophersen said. Unfortunately, about 70 percent of independent bookstores have closed in the last 15 years, Bubon said.

W&CF still hosts about 30 or 40 children every Wednesday morning for a free storytelling that has been going on for the past 20 years.

'This reminds me of the early days, when we were really struggling. It's really hard like that again. Hopefully things will turn around, because they have to if we are to stay in business,' Christophersen said.

PROFILES:

LINDA BUBON

Age: 55

Originally from: Western suburbs of Chicago; now resides in: Chicago, for the past 22 years

Also: Is a storyteller

Book suggestions: The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart; Waiting For Daisy, by Peggy Orenstein; The New Yorkers, by Cathleen Schine

ANN CHRISTOPHERSEN

Age: 58

Originally from: Northwest Indiana

Chicago: Since 1970

Book suggestions: Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Grace, by Anne Lamott; Writing in an Age of Silence, by Sara Paretsky

Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark, ( 773 ) 769-9299, wcfbooks@aol.com, www.womenandchildrenfirst.com, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible.


This article shared 14222 times since Wed Apr 11, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Hell in a Handbag Productions to present Christmas Dearest Nov. 27-Dec. 31 2021-12-03
--From a press release - CHICAGO (December 2, 2021) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to continue its 20th anniversary season with the return of one of its most popular holiday musicals: Christmas Dearest, featuring book and lyrics by ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: World AIDS Day, 'Benedetta,' books, wine in a can 2021-11-26
- —World AIDS Day event at Belmont Harbor: —The Chicago Parks Foundation will hold a World AIDS Day event on Dec. 1, 9-10:30 a.m., at the Belmont Harbor Yacht Club. Antonio King, LGBTQ health and outreach liaison ...


Gay News

Designer and entrepreneur Kiki Bryant discusses future of 'Lollipop Lola' 2021-11-26
- On Jan. 21, 2021, Kiki Bryant set a $2,000 fundraising goal on Kiva.org to launch a children's doll based on her original book character, Lollipop Lola. The goal was met that same day. "That was a ...


Gay News

Missouri district returning LGBTQ+ books to high school libraries 2021-11-23
- In Missouri, the North Kansas City School district said it would return two books exploring LGBTQ+ themes to its high school libraries following public outcry, The Hill noted. The district announced its plans to reshelve All ...


Gay News

Downers Grove parents complain about LGBTQ books 2021-11-16
- Continuing a battle that's been taking place in several other states, parents in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove say they want publications they call "pornography" removed from the high schools' libraries, according to WGN-TV. At ...


Gay News

ATTRACTIONS 'The Dr. Seuss Experience' at Water Tower Place 2021-11-12
- It's certainly a time and place to be immersed in nostalgia. The family-friendly attraction "The Dr. Seuss Experience" is running through Jan. 2, 2022, at Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave. It's certainly hard to ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Pump Boys and Dinettes 2021-11-12
- Title: Pump Boys and Dinettes. Playwright: Book, music and lyrics by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann At: Porchlight Music Theatre at the Ruth Page Auditorium. Tickets: $45-$74; PorchlightMusicTheatre.org. ...


Gay News

Lambda Literary executive director stepping down 2021-11-12
- Lambda Literary Executive Director Sue Landers announced that she is stepping down. In an open letter, Landers stated, "On December 1, I will step down as executive director. Maxwell Scales and Cleopatra Acquaye-Reynolds will join the ...


Gay News

Actor Kal Penn discusses coming out, acting journey, systemic racism during tour 2021-11-09
- Following the publishing of actor Kal Penn's memoir You Can't Be Serious, he stopped in Chicago on Nov. 6 to discuss his Hollywood and White House careers—and the news of his coming out. Co-founder of Vice ...


Gay News

Bisexual youth tell their identity stories in new book 2021-11-04
- While Zoomer (Gen Z) and millennial young adults are increasingly rejecting traditional sexual labels, Ritch C. Savin-Williams explores the topic of bisexuality in his newest book BI: Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Christmas Dearest' Nov. 27-Dec. 31 2021-10-31
- Hell in a Handbag Productions will continue its 20th-anniversary season with the return of one of its most popular holiday musicals: Christmas Dearest, featuring book and lyrics by Artistic Director David Cerda; music by Cerda and ...


Gay News

BOOKS Twelfth (and final) 'Boystown' cover revealed 2021-10-17
- Boystown author Jake Biondi has revealed the cover of the twelfth book of his series—while simultaneously sharing that the next installment will be the final one. Boystown: Season Twelve: The Final Season will be released in ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Activist Peter Staley's Memoir 'Never Silent' is a real-life thriller 2021-10-13
--From marksking.com - "Attention must be paid to such a man." — Arthur Miller Peter Staley's much-anticipated new memoir, Never Silent, opens with almost unbearable nail-biting suspense, sweeping us into the behind-the-scenes machinations of an ACT UP takeover of ...


Gay News

Achy Obejas' bilingual poetry book Boomerang/Bumeran explores immigration, liberation 2021-10-11
By Max Lubbers - Achy Obejas is a Cuban-American writer, translator and activist. Boomerang/Bumerán, her newest book, confronts questions of immigration, love and liberation. Like a boomerang, these ideas return throughout the collection, even ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Victory Institute, LGBTQ books, youth items, NASA, LGBTQ Nation 2021-10-10
- LGBTQ Victory Institute and nine additional candidate-training organizations announced a partnership with Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, to provide a native-to-mobile tool to encourage young people to run for office, a press release noted. ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.