Books on the Square began almost thirty years ago with one small bookcase in a small mall in small town Illinois. Today it's the largest bookstore in the state, south of Springfield anyway. And now the business has expanded to Springfield. Virden remains the home base, however, with three contiguous buildings full of books at 154, 157, and 167 E. Jackson Street. Owners John and Jeannie Alexander have more than 50,000 books, reasonably well organized by subjects of all types.

The Springfield shop opened in October of 2017. It's located just west of the corner of Fifth and Washington (427 E. Washington Street) in the historic downtown district of the Capital City. Books on The Square is located in a historic building dated to 1854. Originally known as the Enterprise Building, it's now owned by John's son. Abe Lincoln's first night in town was spent across the street at Speed's store. His last night in town was spent at the Chenery House, at the end of our block. The smaller Springfield shop features titles about Lincoln, Illinois history, and the Civil War. There are also miscellaneous subjects and bargain books.


  • John and Jeannie Alexander; Owners

  • Sara Gwinn; Associate

  • James M. Cornelius, Ph.D. Lincoln specialist and editor.

  • Judy Wagenblast; retired director of community education programs and active reader

             Big Guy, 2007? - 2019i