Opening a bookstore in the Amazon age may seem daunting, but Chevy Chase native and publishing industry veteran Julia Fleischaker makes it look easy. Her new Fells Point-based venture, Greedy Reads, is a book lover’s dream: bright, airy, inviting and packed with titles just begging to be taken off the shelves.
Tell us about the name.
I chose “Greedy Reads” because when I think about going into a bookstore, that’s how I feel: greedy. I want it all. Even in here, these are mostly all books I have read or want to read. [The inventory] is going to be a reflection of me. I’m filling the store with the voices I like to listen to and that I trust. Bookstores have been my lifelong happy place, and I want people who come in to feel the same way, to be comfortable here.
What are your plans for the space?
I want to have author visits in the store (or off-site, if the size can’t accommodate it), a book club, story time and collaborations with the other stores in the neighborhood. I’m also really excited about the idea of a subscription box, like for mystery books.
We have to ask: Why open a bookstore now, when so many are closing?
They say everybody in publishing wants to write a book or open a bookstore. I had been spending a lot of time in Baltimore, and I liked its spirit and grit, the idea that people are following their passions here. Then I saw the space and that sealed the deal. There were a few years where a lot of bookstores were closing, and I think people really recognized the loss. They realized that if they wanted to keep them around, they had to support them. We’ve had e-books for a while, but I think the novelty is wearing off. People are realizing that they don’t absorb or enjoy or get lost in them in the same way. I think the [physical] book is a pretty perfect invention.
Julia’s New Read Recs
“Happiness” by Aminatta Forta (on shelves March 6): This novel starts with a chance encounter between a wildlife biologist and a trauma specialist. Through their stories, Forta tells an absolutely beautiful tale about the weight of history, the ways we coexist and the importance of connection.
“The Pisces” by Melissa Broder (on shelves May 1): Broder is the formerly anonymous tweeter known as So Sad Today, as well as the author of acclaimed books of poetry including “Last Sext.” She’s funny and dark and not afraid to get a little weird. “The Pisces” is about a woman’s obsessive love affair with a merman. Engaging book that’s not for those who blush easily.
“Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’” by Zora Neale Hurston (on shelves May 8): Imagine! A never- before-published book from Zora Neale Hurston. This is definitely cause for celebration. “Barracoon” is the true story of one of the last known survivors of the slave trade and is based on interviews Hurston did with Cudjo Lewis, the survivor, in 1927.