Ed Devereux opened Unabridged on November 1st, 1980. The shop is nestled in the heart of East Lakeview in Chicago, Illinois.
Tell us something interesting about your store.
Unabridged is one of the country’s oldest gay bookstores. Over the years we’ve transformed into a full-service new bookstore, but we maintain a strong focus on queer literature. Unabridged is UNUSUAL in that Ed only employs full-time booksellers, all of whom receive benefits and vacation time and are paid a living wage. For this reason our staff has very little turnover—between the 7 of us we have something like 150 years of bookselling experience.
Do you have a holiday tradition at the store?
We host an annual holiday party the second Saturday of December celebrating our favorite books of the year. If you live in or around the city, you should come! There’s nothing quite like watching a group of literary-minded Midwesterners really let their hair down.
What's the most memorable event or moment at your store?
We held a pretty stellar small press party at the shop the last time BEA was in town wherein we convinced our out-of-town guests that chasing a shot of Malört with a sport pepper was a cherished Chicago tradition. We were hugely entertained. Our guests were somewhat less so.
What bookstore do you consider to be a hidden gem?
Folks who haven’t explored much outside of Chicago may never have visited The Book Table in Oak Park. The store’s owners, Rachel and Jason, are dyed-in-the-wool booksellers who employ a passionate and knowledgeable staff. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, beat a path to OP posthaste!