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Meet Liz Mason of Quimby’s Bookstore in Wicker Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Liz Mason.

Liz, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started here in 2001. I sold my zines here so I had kind of a relationship with the store, and when I found out the store was hiring, I jumped at the chance. When the previous manager left, I stepped into her shoes. Since then I have seen many changes in the print industry of books, comics, and magazines. The one thing that I keep coming back to is that the people who shop here are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, whether it’s a self-published tract about some idiosyncratic interest or a weird comic an artist conceived and created without shopping it around to big publishers.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has certainly not been a smooth road but nothing worth doing ever is. There are the same struggles that any small business has, like finances and battling the big box stores and websites that look to invade your territory. Then there are other more niche-like challenges: the paperwork-labor-intensive process of dealing with consignment (how we’re able to sell a lot of what we do), the passionate artistic personalities of folks who sell their stuff here or that exist in the culture that surrounds the store, or the gender dynamics that I encounter as a woman in a leadership position.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Quimby’s Bookstore – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Quimby’s Bookstore is an independently owned bookstore that sells independently-published and small press books, comics, zines, and ephemera. Quimby’s favors the unusual, the aberrant, the saucy and the lowbrow.

I am most proud of the fact that many of the zines and comics are things that are created, published and consigned by the folks who made it themselves, so it’s stuff you can’t necessarily get in a lot of other places. The fact that we have been around for more than 25 years is amazing to me, and it proves that folks still leave their house and read things in places other than on their devices!

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We plan to keep in keepin’ on! The fact that there is now a Quimby’s in New York warms my heart. It was opened and is run by Quimby’s Bookstore original founder Steven Svymbersky.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Corinne Halbert

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