Quimby’s Bookstore: Interview



We favor the unusual, the aberrant, the saucy and the lowbrow: I found this line in the FAQ on the store’s website and it gives the best idea of what the store celebrates on its shelves. The store has changed hands since Steven Svymbersky opened its doors in 1991 but it has retained that same aim — selling the cool – bizarre – strange – dope – queer – surreal – weird publications out there.

Tell us about community where you are located and the customers that usually come in?

We’re located on the edge of Wicker Park and Bucktown in Chicago. We get folks who live in the area but we also get people who make a special pilgrimage to Quimby’s. I joke that we’re the “tourist destination for cool people.” We get people who are zinesters and artists but also people who enjoy small press or something weird.

unicornholeHave you ever had problems with the community over the more… explicit books and zines you carry? Or on the whole have they been accepting?

On the whole pretty accepting.

If someone looked in the window of the store right now what would they see, and what would they think? Or what do you hope they’d think?

They’d see a bunch of small press stuff and some Chris Ware art. Hopefully it would compell them to come in!

The tag line on your site and in your FAQ (We favor the unusual, the aberrant, the saucy and the lowbrow) certainly promises nothing … ordinary! What is the strangest thing you got in that surprised even you?

Roy Orbison in Clingfilm: A Novel

Can give us an idea of the genres/categories of books and comics that you have in the store?

Fiction, Zines, Mini-Comics, Mayhem, Outer Limits, Graphic Novels. Artist Books, Lowbrow Art, Street Art, Design, Music Books, Essays, Politics & Revolution, Steampunk, DIY, Drug-related Books…

What are customers’ reactions to your books usually? Especially if they haven’t been in quimbys2before?

“I had no idea something like this existed.”

“I’m going to have to come back when I have more time.”

What do people come in looking for the most?

Zines and underground press comix.

Which are your favourite or perhaps I should say most unusual indie publishers that you have instore?

Nobrow, Last Gasp, Adventures Unlimited

slingshotHow have indie publishers changed since you first started working with them?

Better distribution, more tracking information, easier to contact if we have problems because of e-mail.

Is there a genre or a type of book that you would dearly love to include in the store, but haven’t had a chance to yet?

I can’t think of any but when I sit up at 4am sweating and think of something I’ll be sure to lt you know. Ha.

You can find out more about Quimby’s on their store website, their Twitter and Facebook.

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