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Best Specialty Bookstores In Baltimore

In the world of books, the only limitations come from your imagination. If you haven't found what you are looking for at the big box stores, some of Baltimore's specialty bookstores are here to help. These local stores cover comics, the metaphysical, children's literature and the old and rare, offering a wide array of different material for you to explore.


The Kelmscott Bookshop And Johanson Rare Books
34 West 25th St.
Baltimore, Md. 21218
(410) 235-6810
(410) 243-0700

Is the electronic reading of the technological age not your cup of tea? Ditch reading screens to travel back in time with the feel of a leather-bound book and appreciate the texture of its pages. The Kelmscott Bookshop in Charles Village was originally owned by Donald and Teresa Johanson before they sold it to Fran Durako, opening Johanson Rare Books and traveling the world to locate ever more rare literature. Once inside and greeted by the store's cats, you can browse more than 30,000 fine, rare and antiquarian books — in a word, old literature — from modern times back to works of medieval 15th century. Whatever you may need to find, in volumes, issues or folios, they will locate it. Kelmscott offers illuminated manuscripts, prints, binding and restoration services, while Johanson has appraisal and collection development services.

Related: Best Books About Baltimore

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

Located in Hampden, Breathe Books dispenses new-age knowledge to indulge the community's curiosity and interests. Shop owner Susan Weis-Bohlen will help you on your personal exploration of the mind, body and spirit, with a selection that focuses on "conscious living and spiritual awareness." Read up on feng shui, world religions, herbs, nutrition, psychology, astrology, yoga and relationships. This store not only sells books but music and gifts as well. You may attend meditation groups, psychic readings, author visits and various other workshops.

Alliance Comics

Alliance Comics
904 Light St.
Baltimore, Md. 21230
(410) 685-0021

With the rise of comic book films dominating the box office, the interest in the books themselves has piqued, as well. Alliance Comics in Federal Hill boasts an extensive selection of comic books, graphic novels, and paperbacks, ranging from the popular DC and Marvel comics to Frank Miller and Alan Moore, in addition to a slew of equally talented independent authors. Also available for sale are popular industry merchandise, including action figures, posters, board games and card games. Knowledgeable and friendly staff are on hand to help, and if what you are looking for is not at the Baltimore location, they will have it shipped from the store in Silver Spring. Sign up for their subscription services so you never miss a single issue of your favorite comic. Check the site for upcoming releases and mark May 4 on your calendar for Alliance Comic's free comic book day.

Related: Best Independent Bookstores In Maryland

Harry Potter Through The Years
(Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

The Children's Bookstore
737 Deepdene Road
Baltimore, Md. 21210
(410) 532-2000

Ideally located on a quiet street near Roland Park Elementary is the store that will inspire your child to love reading. The Children's Bookstore creates a learning atmosphere with their large selection of children's literature and illustrations, as well as toys, puppets, posters, music, and stories on tape. With the help of donations, the store's foundation gives books to teachers for free to supplement the lessons and to inevitably go home with the students to add to their own home library. Various yearly events are held at the bookstore, where your children's favorite authors make an appearance.

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

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