Books in Baltimore, Then and Now
Where have all the bookstores gone? Baltimore was once home to dozens, perhaps hundreds of bookstores. On this tour, you'll visit the sites and learn about the colorful characters that have fed the minds of Baltimoreans throughout the city.Today, a few independent bookstores remain: there’s Atomic Books and The Children’s Bookstore, for starters, while newcomers including The Ivy Bookshop in Roland Park, Red Emma’s in Station North, and Red Canoe in Lauraville have braved an inhospitable bookselling climate and reached out to readers, new and old, by providing meeting spaces, hosting readings, and becoming community centers. But much of the city’s vibrant independent bookselling scene was decimated by the emergence of online retailers such as Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Books in Baltimore is a map of bookstores throughout Baltimore's history. Booksellers moved with the city’s population, beginning at the city center and gradually moving outward to serve individual neighborhoods and communities. The first 16 stops of Books in Baltimore are organized as a walking tour; the last ten or so stops, which include all of the currently operating bookstores, will need to be reached by car or public transportation. Bookstores, no less than libraries, churches, coffeeshops, or schools, are places where people gather to exchange ideas and foster community. Visiting the sites where the old stores once existed—and browsing the shelves of the bookstores that remain—will give you a fascinating glimpse into Baltimore’s history and culture, while taking you to parts of Baltimore you may have never visited before. Enjoy!
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