North Baltimore Patch has a really great series of interviews with Baltimore Booksellers, past and present:
Part Five - Book Miser: "During my six years selling real estate, I was inside hundreds of private residences, and it always struck me how many houses contained not a single book, other than periodicals."
Part Four - Royal Books: "As Internet bookselling evolved, buyers followed the path of least resistance. Why look in bookshops endlessly for the obscure book you need when you can go right to the computer and find it at a small shop in Kansas, put it in your shopping cart and be done with it? Since 1996, everything has changed, and today only the heartiest bibliophiles actually set foot in bookshops."
Part Three - Red Emmas: "We started out anticipating that our cafe would sustain the bookstore (i.e., we thought the cafe would pay the rent and the bills), and the bookstore -- the reason we started this project -- would just kind of sustain itself. But over time, as we've grown in our selection and curation of our stock, our sales have increased, and we now find that the cafe and the bookstore balance each other out, which is exciting."
Part Two - Atomic Books: "Look at the amount of e-reader advertisements you see on television. Based on the advertising, you’d think that everybody reads all the time. But the reality of it is that not that many people actually read. And the number regularly decreases."
Part One - Normal's: "I may be old and sentimental (I am old and sentimental), but I've always found bookstores to be one of the arteries to the heart of a city or place. Whenever I go to a new place the first thing I do is hit the local bookstore - this is becoming a lot harder because they're closing down. Browsing in a local shop you get a feeling for place through the stock and the people coming and the conversations that take place. I hope people will always have a desire to seek out environments beyond their own home and computer screen."