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Baltimore's Ivy Bookshop has a new owner

New year, old bookstore, new (sole) owner.

The Ivy Bookshop, a much-loved Baltimore institution since it was founded in 2002, announced Wednesday that it has been sold to one of its co-owners, literary insider Emma Snyder.

The sale is the culmination of retirement plans that began about two years ago for Ed and Ann Berlin, the transplanted New Yorkers who had been running the independent bookstore at 6080 Falls Road since 2012. On Jan. 1, 2017, the couple brought in Emma Snyder, the former executive director of Washington’s PEN/Faulkner Foundation, as a co-owner.

The Berlins are no longer affiliated with the store but plan to remain in Baltimore, Snyder said.

“I’ve got a million ideas, but the fundamental thing is to keep the Ivy the same incredibly warm and vibrant place that people have come to treasure,” she said. “An anchor bookstore like the Ivy has the potential to develop collaborative projects that help weave books into the social fabric of Baltimore. I'm incredibly excited to explore those possibilities.”

For example, Snyder hopes to provide a selection of the Ivy’s titles for local tea shops, food stores and other establishments that have lacked the infrastructure to sell books alongside their regular merchandise.

“Books are the best things that human beings have ever created,” Snyder said. “I want to create little pockets of them all around the city.”

The Ivy was started in 2002 by Darielle Linehan and quickly established a base of devoted customers. But by the time the Berlins bought the store a decade later, the publishing industry nationwide was in crisis.

The Berlins were determined that their enterprise would succeed. Among other steps, they formed mutually advantageous book-selling partnerships with such major institutions as the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Johns Hopkins University and the Baltimore Book Festival.

The Ivy’s gross revenues nearly doubled under the Berlins’ stewardship and in 2016, the Ivy opened a satellite store inside the Charles Village cafe Bird in Hand. The Ivy has 17 full- and part-time employees and now holds about 150 author events a year.

mmccauley@baltsun.com

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