FORT WAYNE — On a typical weekday, Hyde Brothers Booksellers is quiet save the occasional purr of the cats that wander the stacks. On Saturday night, however, the cavernous bookstore on the Historic Wells Street Corridor was packed with book lovers for its midnight sale.
From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., night owls swooped in for the event. Some chatted excitedly while others quietly browsed the titles. Underfoot, the cats darted about the commotion that filled the typically quiet store.
Tasha Bushnell, who has worked at the bookstore for 19 years, organized the first midnight sale event in 2013 after customers suggested the idea.
“Over the years, we’ve heard people say that it would be so cool to shop and hang out here overnight – play with the cats, look at your leisure, nobody in your way,” she said.
That was the idea at least, she laughed.
“I had my fingers crossed that it would work and within the first 20 minutes, the store was packed,” she said.
Since then, the bookstore has hosted similar events once or twice a year. Bushnell said she doesn’t know exactly how many people attend or how many books are sold, but judging by the long line of customers who were waiting to check out and the regular flow of people who left with plastic shopping bags, the sale was a huge success.
During the sale, books were marked down and customer who came dressed in pajamas or holiday garb received a free, gift-wrapped book. Customers also enjoyed refreshments, including hot chocolate and cookies.
Entertainment included The Poem Market by Kourtney Jones, who wrote poems for customers on her typewriter, and musician Joe Martyn Ricke, who played guitar between the stacks.
Bushnell said the event is a place where book lovers can hang out with like-minded people and have fun.
Abby Grim was one of those people. It was her first midnight sale at the bookstore. She heard about it from a friend in her book club. The public group, Fort Wayne Book Club, has a poll on its Facebook page each month and members vote on which book they want to read.
“When I came at 10:30 p.m., it was packed,” she said. “By 11 o’clock, the line was all the way down across the building and starting to go down the stairs.”
She came to meet up with friends and find a title by George R.R. Martin. She couldn’t find it, but she picked up an anthology by the author and a Christmas present for her cousin. She also went home with a free book.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said.
To learn about future events at the bookstore, follow Hyde Brothers Booksellers on Facebook.