Best Independent Bookstores In Maryland

April 25, 2011 1:46 AM

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If you enjoy books but would prefer to support local businesses, you’re in luck.  There are many wonderful independent bookstores in and around Baltimore.  Some focus on specific genres, some offer used books, too, but all are great places to spend an afternoon.
atomic Best Independent Bookstores In Maryland


Atomic Books

3620 Falls Road
Baltimore, MD 21211
(410) 662-4444

If your taste in reading skews toward comics and/or the unusual, Atomic Books is the place for you!  You can also buy movies and toys, making this a one-stop-shop for fun and kitschy items. As an added bonus, there’s a chance you’ll run into John Waters, so have your Pink Flamingos DVD handy.

bookescape Best Independent Bookstores In Maryland


The Book Escape

805 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 504-1902

The Book Escape offers new books, but also used and rare ones.  If you’re a hardcore reader, they also offer a “Book Pass,” which gives members discounts , coupons and special evening hours.  On their website, they also have mystery grab bags of three to six books for $5 per bag.  Grab bags are sorted by genre (romance, mystery, etc.) or you can opt for a random bag.

constellationbooks Best Independent Bookstores In Maryland


Constellation Books

303 Main Street
Reisterstown, MD 21136
(410) 833-5151

Constellation Books is a fun place to go and hang out, especially during one of their First Friday wine tastings.  They also offer book signings and release parties.  You can also order books from their website, giving it all the convenience of a “big box” bookstore.

daedalus Best Independent Bookstores In Maryland


Daedalus Books

5911 York Road
Baltimore, MD 21212
(410) 464-2701

Daedalus is located in Belvedere Square and offers bargain books, CDs and DVDs.  The Baltimore City Paper consistently names it as one of the best bookstores in the area, and on Saturday afternoons, you can browse and listen to live music.  It also offers online shopping on their website.

greetingsandreadings Best Independent Bookstores In Maryland


Greetings and Readings

118-AA Shawan Road
Hunt Valley, MD 21030
(410) 771-3022

Greetings and Readings is located in the Hunt Valley Towne Center.  It offers books, obviously, but also things like Maryland sports items (for the O’s, Ravens and Terps), handbags and candy, making this a fun place for the entire family to spend time.  There are book signings and story times scheduled throughout the month.

ivy Best Independent Bookstores In Maryland

(credit: AP GraphicsBank)

The Ivy

6080 Falls Road
Baltimore, MD 21209
(410) 377-2966

The Ivy is an incredibly popular Baltimore bookstore.  The store has many popular titles, as well as some lesser known ones, and the staff is willing to order any title they don’t have.  There’s free parking.

kelmscott Best Independent Bookstores In Maryland


Kelmscott Bookshop

34 W. 25th Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
(410) 235-6810

If you collect old and rare books, Kelmscott Bookshop is the place for you.  According to the website, there are almost 30,000 books in stock.  If you can’t find a specific book, you can leave a “want” for the staff and they will notify you if they come across it. 

mysterylovescompany Best Independent Bookstores In Maryland


Mystery Loves Company

202 S. Morris St.
Oxford, MD 21654
(410) 226-0010

This store offers all types of mysteries and thrillers, but it’s also a place to go to find books on the eastern shore and its history.  It offers new and used books, as well as book signings.  The staff provides helpful recommendations, for those who aren’t sure which authors they’ll like.

normals Best Independent Bookstores In Maryland


Normals Bookstore

425 E. 31st Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

This is the used bookstore that John Waters says is his favorite in town.  It consistently wins awards and also offers used records and CDs.  Expect to spend several hours browsing through the stacks—you won’t have to, but odds are, you’ll want to.

redemma Best Independent Bookstores In Maryland


Red Emma’s Bookstore/Coffeehouse

800 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 230-0450

While you’re browsing through Red Emma’s, you could also enjoy some coffee and some vegan or vegetarian food.  The bookstore’s focus is politics, but there are many other types, as well.  They also host book signings and discussions.

ukazoo Best Independent Bookstores In Maryland



730 Dulaney Valley Road
Towson, MD 21204
(410) 832-BOOK (2665)

Ukazoo has over 100,000 used books, which means that no matter what you’re looking for, odds are good you will find it.  If you already have more books than room, you can bring some to Ukazoo and sell them or exchange them for store credit.  There are comfortable chairs for reading and free WiFi, plus coffee and tea.

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