I just wanted to start a discussion and see what other peoples opinions are.
Last weekend there was supposed to be a show in my area. Over the past few years, these shows have become few and far between and I always look forward to the once a month (or so) shows that come around. Eventhough I do a lot of trading as well as buying on the Bay, it is still fun to talk to dealers and search the boxes for hidden gems. I arrived about an hour and a half after the doors were to have opened, only to find it had been cancelled. So I started thinking, just like Video Killed the Radio Star...did the Internet Kill the Card Show/Shop?
From about 1990-2001, there were 3-4 shows in my regional area (which I consider about a 40 mile radius) each weekend. With the larger shows at the Rosemont in Chicago and the occasional appearance of the National, some major damage could be done in a year with buying/selling/trading. Now there is lucky to be 1-2 a month. With the cancellation this weekend, there isn't another one scheduled until October 17th (the next closest one is 37 miles away the weekend before).
As for shops, I remember in the summer of 1996 I plotted a map of all the shops in my area and made an effort to visit them all. There were 33 shops within a half hour drive in any direction. I only made it to 26 of them on my list but I picked up at least 1 item at each one. I felt a great sense of accomplishment and also created a "friendship" with many of the dealers. Of the 26 that I visited, 2 of them still exist. I checked on the other 7 and two of those are still in business as well. Four of the dealers, that I know of, are dealing exclusively online. The rest...who knows? Now there are 5 shops within 30 miles of where I live and only two of those carry more than 1 sport in their inventories(1 of them only does non-sports).
So I pose these questions...Are their still shows in your area, do you go to them, are their shops around you, do you go to them, is the internet eventually going to be the only way to sustain this hobby?