Urban Think! Bookstore is the type that I have looked forward to visiting. It's located in the Thornton Park neighborhood of downtown, very near Lake Eola Park. It's really a charming area, with no mouse ears in sight and not too many chain establishments. They offer a diverse selection of books, including many regional picks and works by Florida authors. They also display work by local artists and sell non-book gift items made locally. Their Signature Series has brought in an impressive list of writers.
Inside the store is an Infusion Tea, an urban vegetarian teahouse that offers a nice beer and wine menu. Take that, Barnes & Noble. I was really glad to see this, and I think more independents might think of marketing this combination that has worked so well for the book superstores.
The staff, including the manager Jim, is friendly in a laid-back, non-oversolicitous way. The store is a proud member of Indie Bound, and based on their literature they take their role in the community seriously.
I didn't give a reading here, just sat at a table with my books. It was interesting observing the different responses to me, some friendly and inquisitive, but many who seemed not to want to make eye contact with me. It's funny; I completely relate to the latter folk. To be drawn in can lead to the obligation to act interested for several seconds or, even worse, to make a purchase out of pity or obligation.
I did sell a few books, and I met a pretty young Ohio State Alum, a journalism grad now working in real estate.
Despite the inauspicious start to my day (see two posts down), I'm really glad I made this stop. That's Urban Think! Downtown Orlando. Check it out.