In a suburb just north of Mr. Obie Joe's city, the future of bookselling exists.
On one side of the street, a pretty and shiny new Barnes & Noble located across the street from a well-worn store for Dungeons & Dragons, anime and other fantasy-related stuff.
Kids hang out at the D&D store regularly. The store has provided tables and ratty chairs for the kids to play the elaborate dice-and-card game, and to just talk.
On a recent Friday night, Mr. Obie Joe took a walk down this block. Looking inside the B&N, we saw some people, none of them under the age of 25. One the other side, the D&D store, teeming with kids, buying books, cards, snacks.
Now where did you say your next audience is coming from, B&N?
In Fredericksburg, Va., the Wounded Bookshop takes it chances on over 100 events annually. Some bring in audiences, some sell lots of book. And some don't. "Shows aren't always good for the books," said owner Paul Lewis to Shelf Awareness. "But somehow, it all works out. The kids who do come to the shows have a great use for the space, so nothing is ever in vain. This place brings people together."
Along with their affinity and debit card.