Best Independent Bookstore
Published: September 21, 2011
3620 Falls Road, (410) 662-4444, atomicbooks.com
If you’re ready to give up on print and/or bricks-and-mortar retail for pixels, then you’re obviously not an Atomic shopper. As it does most years, this Hampden stalwart/cultural hub wins this award for its tightly curated but wildly expansive stock of ink on dead trees in all its finest forms, from stapled-together zines to hardcover fiction to comics to glossy art books, spanning all the brows—high, middle, and low—with everything from crafting how-tos to the new Denis Johnson novella to The Big Book of Boobs. We know, we know, the internet, the long tail, and all that, but actually being in the store, surrounded by all those weird and wonderful things to read and look at that maybe you didn’t even know existed until you happened to spot them filed next to something else, is an invitation to impulse buying and, well, better than the internet. There, we said it.