Celebrating reading Book Festival: Small publishers and two new book megastores enliven Baltimore's literary scene.

September 25, 1998

THE THIRD annual Baltimore Book Festival takes place tomorrow and Sunday in Mount Vernon Place amid feelings of satisfaction: The number of local publishing houses keeps increasing and two big bookstores will open here shortly.

When Barnes & Noble's megastore opens Oct. 6 in the Power Plant at the Inner Harbor, Baltimore will finally hit the mainstream of contemporary book merchandising.

A city which has never had a shortage of first-rate writers will finally have a first-rate book store. (A rival megastore, operated by the locally owned independent Bibelot chain, is scheduled to open later this year at the American Can complex in Canton.)

This is an important development. Today's megastores sell more than books and music. Through book-signings and talks by authors, they have become important venues for intellectual exchange. Among the chief beneficiaries of this exposure will be local authors.

Several Baltimore authors of various genres have made it to the big-time and have national publishers. Many other talented writers have found a good match with small local publishing houses, which range from the Black Classic Press and Woodholme House Publishers to Bancroft Press and producers of children's books.

This horn of plenty of local writing and publishing will be showcased at this weekend's free Book Festival, which has some 150 exhibitors and a busy program of readings and other events. Be there, learn and enjoy.

The Baltimore Book Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday at Mount Vernon Place in the 600 block of North Charles Street. Admission is free.

Pub Date: 9/25/98

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