Not all businesses become an integral part of the community that supports them, but these Baltimore area bookstores have made the effort. No matter the store you visit, you can look forward to author appearances, reading groups, movie nights, field trips and more. Dive into the literary world through these community-centered bookstores.



Red Emma’s
800 St. Paul St.
Baltimore, Md. 21202 
(410) 230-0450

This Mount Vernon bookstore is moving on up in the world. Set to relocate September 2013 to West North Ave., next to Liam Flynn’s Ale House, Red Emma’s promises space for more books and more events. As always, they will continue to promote fair trade and organic products, including a vegetarian-vegan cafe menu with ingredients supplied by local vendors. Stop by for various book discussions highlighting a slew of topics, including historical figures, war, feminism, the environment and capitalism, in addition to film screenings and author appearances.

Related: Best Books About Baltimore

Breathe (Credit, Pam Goldberg Smith)

Breathe Books
810 W. 36th St., #A
Baltimore, Md. 21211
(410) 235-7323

Sitting calmly on the Avenue in Hampden, this bookstore encourages locals to take time to breathe and reflect on the mind, body and spirit. Shop owner Susan Weis-Bohlen hosts a meditation group and consultation sessions focusing on the 5,000 year-old Indian practice of Ayurveda. Breathe Books also offers author visits, weekly psychic readings, food discussions, past life explorations and a variety of workshops and events discussing both the physical and metaphysical. An onsite cafe is in the works, specializing in vegetarian, vegan, raw, gluten-free and Ayurvedic diets.

(credit: Sherri Weaver)

(credit: Sherri Weaver)

Collectors Corner
7911 Harford Road
Parkville, Md. 21234
(410) 668-3353

Everyone’s favorite comic book shop truly offers much for the community at large, both at its Parkville location and through participation in conventions. Collectors Corner not only sells graphic novels, posters, clothing, DVDs, vintage toys and other collectibles but also buys them. Subscription memberships and frequent sales, such as Free Comic Book day, keep merchandise affordable. Meet with others who share your interest by stopping in for the Comic Club discussions, girls-only events including Ladies Night, free movie nights every third Monday and Saturday morning cartoons.

Related: 5 Must-Read Books By Baltimore Authors

Atomic Books (Credit, Pam Goldberg Smith)

Atomic Books
3620 Falls Road
Baltimore, Md. 21211
(410) 662-4444

A true trend-setter, this independent store in Hampden sells books, comics and magazines in addition to music, art, action figures and films. Owners Rachel Whang and Benn Ray certainly know how to throw a party. Adult beverages will be served on May 22 to celebrate the release of “Henry & Glenn” issue #2 with a visit from the comic artists themselves, John Bayer, Tom Neely and Mark Rudolf. The Atomic Music club also meets every first Tuesday of the month. Keep an eye out for more author appearances as well as Free Comic and Record Store days.

Politics & Prose Bookstore
5015 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 364-1919

Ideally situated in our nation’s capital, Politics & Prose is the place to meet with others to exchange ideas, discuss literature and even participate in fun events. In-store events are free, and attending book groups earns you 20 percent off the featured book. They will even arrange for you to receive an autographed book if you cannot attend a particular author event. Classes are offered in writing, young adult selections and knitting challenges. The Modern Times Coffeehouse within the shop hosts community events, such as Nerd Trivia and weekly open mic nights, and the fun continues off-site as well. Join a Prohibition-related tour, though the bookstore also organizes overseas trips, most recently to Paris, France and locations in Italy.

Pam Smith graduated from Penn State with a B.A. in English and a passion for writing. Her adaptive nature led her to work in the scientific, energy supply, and business industries while writing on a multitude of topics for various online media. Pam currently resides in Baltimore County. Her work can be found at