May 9, 2023:
Booksellers Abby Dan and Betsy Haberl are pleased to announce that they are the new owners of Booked, Evanston’s cozy independent bookstore known for its child-sized tiny door, located at 506 Main Street. Both women are Evanstonians, parents, writers and, most importantly, avid and enthusiastic readers.
Along with the change in leadership, Booked is pleased to announce that the store will stay open until 6:00pm on Wednesday evenings this summer to accommodate late shoppers. Additionally, Abby and Betsy are thrilled to unveil the store’s new logo, designed by Evanstonian Richa Cordero.
Abby and Betsy succeed previous owner Rachel Round, who welcomed them to the store as booksellers after years as Booked shoppers. Both new owners hold degrees in Creative Writing from Northwestern University (Abby a BA, Betsy an MFA), and both have diverse backgrounds in programming, marketing, fundraising and more.
“I know I speak for both of us when I say we’re honored to lead Booked into its next era,” says Betsy. “The store is such a gem in Evanston and on the Main Dempster Mile, and we’ve already had so much fun revitalizing it in the last year as booksellers and event organizers.” In the months the duo have worked together at Booked, they’ve hosted events with local authors like Jacob Grant and Zetta Elliott; relaunched a weekly story time with their colleague Jessica Iverson, MFA; grown the store’s social media presence; and curated the selection of adult titles available in-store. They’ve also hosted publisher-driven events for Shannon Messenger’s “Keeper of the Lost Cities” series and Dav Pilkey’s “Dog Man” series.
“We hear from customers all the time that they wish we were open later, so they can shop after work or pick up a book on their way home,” says Abby. “For the summer, we’ll try out staying open through 6:00pm on Wednesdays and Fridays to help these shoppers out.” The summer hours will be a trial run for the fall and holiday season, when the store may stay open later weekly or on key days for shoppers.
Since it opened in 2018, Booked has focused on children’s books, from board books to young adult titles, with a small selection of titles for adults. Though Booked will remain, as founder Chelsea Elward coined, “A Bookstore for Youthful Readers,” the increased interest in adult books at the store is undeniable. “We want to update Booked’s image to better reflect our dedication to readers at any level and age, and Richa Cordero did a fantastic job helping realize our vision in our new design. Adults want to experience the joy of reading at Booked just as much as the kids do! Plus, we have curated a fantastic selection at Booked,” says Betsy. Abby says, “The store will still focus on books for kids ages 0-18, and our staff can help any customer find just the right thing for that birthday or upcoming holiday, but we want Evanston to know that we’ve got great titles for grown-ups, too, that we love to read and love to talk about.”
Welcome to Booked! We are owners Abby Dan (L) and Betsy Haberl, and we are Evanstonians, parents, writers and, most importantly, avid and enthusiastic readers.
Booked is an independent bookstore located at 506 Main St. in Evanston, Illinois, that carries a diverse selection of books for children and a curated selection of adult books. We are a welcoming space for all members of our community that celebrates reading at any age! We host author events, story times, book clubs, a Trans and Non-Binary Dungeons & Dragons Club, and more.
photo by Angela Renee Photography