Two Dollar Radio, the Columbus, Ohio-based small press, is opening a bookstore where it will sell its own titles, alongside a carefully-curated selection of books published by other independent literary presses.
In September, Two Dollar Radio will move into its new headquarters in the city's South Side neighborhood. Aside from an office to house its publishing operations, the building will also feature a bookstore, café, and a bar. The press' expansion is following a trend set by other small literary presses: in 2016, Milkweed Editions opened a bookstore in the Open Book literary center near downtown Minneapolis, followed a few months later by Curbside Splendor Publishing, which opened a bookstore in Chicago’s Revival Food Hall in the National building.
An 1,800-square foot space in the front of the building that has been leased and is being built-out this summer will house the bookstore, café, and bar. The company's publishing operation will be located in the 1,100-square-foot back area, which also includes enough space for storage. The entire enterprise will operate under the business name, Two Dollar Radio Headquarters.
The publisher's bookstore will emphasize the offerings of independent publishers, and the café will be vegan, serving only plant-based items, as well as locally-roasted coffee and tea.
Eric Obenauf, co-founder of Two Dollar Radio, has a service industry background and will manage food operations for the bookstore's cafe, while editorial/marketing assistant Brett Gregory will oversee the location's bar. Obenauf's friends will staff the booksore/cafe/bar for the operation's first few months in business, but Obenauf said he expects to hire one full-time and two part-time employees in the fall. Besides Obenauf, there are currently two full-time employees at Two Dollar Radio.
Two Dollar Radio was founded by Obenauf and his wife, Eliza Wood-Obenauf, in 2005, to publish literary fiction. In 2013, the press expanded to include a film production arm.
Two Dollar Radio is publishing seven titles in 2017, up from five in 2016. This year's list includes the press’ first work-in-translation, Seeing People Off by Jana Bénová, which was originally published in Slovakian and won the European Union Prize in 2012. Two Dollar Radio is also publishing its first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by MTV News music columnist Hanif Abdurraquib. A 2016 release, The Gloaming by Melanie Finn, was named a New York Times notable book in 2016, and Two Dollar Radio is publishing Finn’s next novel, Fine Things, in May 2018, which will be the press’ first hardcover release.