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Interview with Suzy Takacs, owner of The Book Cellar, Chicago

Suzy Takacs

During Sam Weller’s book reading for ‘The Ray Bradbury Interviews’ at The Book Cellar a few weeks ago, I took some time to interview the owner of the bookstore, Suzy Takacs, about life in the world of the independent bookshop.

Philip: In a former incarnation you were a nurse practitioner. When did you discover the burning desire to open a bookstore?

Suzy: I have always been an avid reader. As a child, my mom had a hard time keeping enough books around for me to read. After being a nurse for sixteen years, I began thinking about making a life change. I thought I should get out of the rat race and work in a book store. My husband suggested I open my own bookstore. There wasn't one quite near to where we live and I always thought we could use one in our part of the city . I met with the Chamber of Commerce Presidents of Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, and North Center, together with the alderman, and I presented my business plan. As luck would have it, they were trying to recruit an independent bookstore at that time.

Philip: What is it that makes The Book Cellar so different?

Suzy: The people who work here. There is a human touch and connection with the books we read and love and our hopes in recommending a book for our customers that they will read and love. We are a community meeting place for lots of events both literary and otherwise.  We also help to make Lincoln Square a unique neighborhood and a destination in the city for those that live here, and for travelers as well.  Plus we have my favorite combination: books and wine.
Philip: In the age of Borders, Amazon, and E-Readers, how do you attract browsers and readers to The Book Cellar?

Suzy: A personal connection to our customers and good service. We also host many literary and non-literary events so there are many reasons to visit the store. Quite soon we will be adding a shopping cart to our website so people can shop for both print books and E-books 24/7.

Philip: What are you reading at the moment?

Suzy: "Toad's Museum of Freaks and Wonders" by Goldie Goldbloom, "Finny" by Justin Kramon, and "Paris Wife" by Paula McClain.  It's never just one.
Philip: Looking into your crystal ball, what do you see in the future for independent bookstores?

Suzy: I envision indie bookstores continuing to be places to get a great book recommendation, places that make a neighborhood or town unique and interesting, places that contribute to the community as a resource for entertainment, or for communing with books through book groups, and so on.

Philip: As they say on the best interview shows: “Suzy Takacs, owner of The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square, Chicago: Thank you very much.”

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