Book lovers alert: Greedy Reads, a new independent bookstore, is scheduled to open in Fells Point in late February.
The store is owned by former publishing professional Julia Fleischaker. She said said that the 500-square foot storefront, located at 1744 Aliceanna St. on the site of a former boutique, will be a general interest bookstore consisting of about 2,000 titles: new fiction and nonfiction releases, children’s and young adult literature and a rotating selection of older releases. The store will also carry gifts and a small inventory of magazines. She’s aiming for a Feb. 25 opening
The name Greedy Reads captures its owner’s aspirations for her new venture.
“That’s the feeling I get when I walk into a great bookstore,” she said. “I’m greedy. I want to read everything in it.”
The 42-year-old Fleischaker said she grew up in Montgomery County and graduated from the University of Maryland. Last November, she moved from New York to Baltimore. She said she was surprised to discover that the closest bookstore to the Fells Point neighborhood was Barnes & Noble at Power Plant Live.
“That didn’t make any sense to me,” she said. “It seemed like such a big hole to me to not have an independent bookseller. And if I had any doubts about setting up shop, the absolutely welcoming response from the neighborhood has totally squashed them.
“I’ve gotten emails from three or four people who have volunteered to work in the store. The other day, I was putting together a desk from Ikea and people walking past popped their heads in and said, ‘Do you need any help?’ The response has been beyond what I could have imagined.”
Fleischaker began her career at Penguin Books and later became publicity director of Melville House.
Plans are in the works for two lecture series at Greedy Reads: one featuring nonfiction titles that may have a political focus, and a second reading series centering on young adult literature.
Common wisdom holds that the publishing industry and, in particular independent bookstores, are a dying breed. But Fleischaker thinks the tide is changing.
“From everything I’ve read, it’s become a much healthier environment in the past two years,” she said. “There were a few hard years when bookstores were closing. I think people have realized what they brought to the neighborhood and really miss them.”
She knows she won’t be able to duplicate the discount pricing offered by such behemoths as Barnes & Noble and Amazon, but thinks her store will survive by filling a different niche. As a matter of principle, she said, she does not shop for anything — books or non-books — on the Amazon website.
“What we can do that Amazon can’t do is to be a community space and a resource,” Fleischaker said.
“We can be a place where people can come in and get a recommendation for a book that wasn’t generated by an algorithm. We can be a place where people can be surprised by a book or an author they didn’t know. Independent bookstores are good for people and the community and the country and for how we talk about ideas. I’d like to be a small part of helping that to continue.”