Stan Lee, the black cat, lies almost invisible on a chair of the same color. Behind him is a wall of biographies. Next to a twin black chair, cady-corner from him, is a basket of Nancy Drew mysteries.
“There are approximately one thousand books for sale – or barter – at the Parkville Bookworm,” said owner Melissa Eisenmeier. On the corner of Audrey Avenue and East Joppa Road, the bookstore offers about sixty percent fiction and forty percent non-fiction.
No book is more than ten dollars and many paperbacks sell for less than a dollar. In eleven hundred square feet of retail space, the Parkville Bookworm sells all kinds of fiction, from historical to mysteries to science fiction. Art books, cook-books, histories, books on humor and locally produced jewelry are also offered for sale along with regional artwork.
In what was a grocery store, the Parkville Bookworm opened six months ago. According to Eisenmeier, the bookstore is located in an area of Baltimore where 20,000 readers reside. Parkville is also her hometown. A graduate of Parkville High School, she attended the Community College of Baltimore County, intending to become a paramedic.
“I changed my mind,” Eisenmeirer explained. “I’ve always loved books, I like people and I wanted to own my own business. So I opened a bookstore.”
Holding up three of her favorite authors, Michael Koryta, whose So Cold the River was priced at $.94, Tanya Huff’s The Wild Ways ($2.83) and Erica Spindler’s Cause for Alarm ($2.83), Eisenmeier also offers a wide variety of others. Paul Bowles The Sheltering Sky, was on the same shelf with Melissa Banks’ The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing. Gail Godwin, Nora Ephron, A. Scott Berg shared wall space, though in different sections, with the Hardy Boys, Madeline, and the American Girl series for children.
The Parkville Bookworm averages a couple of hundred book sales a month. And it allows readers to bring in books for store credit. Eisenmeirer will look through the old books; a dollar will be offered for a substantial biography. “A little bit less for a paperback,” she added.
Stan Lee, the “staff cat,” whom she got from Charm City Animal Rescue, was a foster cat at first. Eisenmeier wasn’t certain she would keep him. She’d been advised that visitors to the bookstore might increase when word spread that a cat was there. Some may come just to pat or befriend him and wind up browsing the bookshelves.
Business is picking up and Stan Lee is staying, mainly in the black chair that matches his coat.
Located at 2300 East Joppa Road, The Parkville Bookworm is open Tuesday through Saturday 10–8; Sundays noon-6. Closed Mondays. Learn more from the store’s website.
Photos: Caryn Coyle