Bookstores in Cambridge/Boston

 

Last change: 
23 Mar 2016

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Areas and topics listed include: 
Harvard Square 
GENERAL/FULL-SERVICE BOOKSTORES 
USED BOOKSTORES 
UNIVERSITY (BOOKSTORES AND PRESSES) 
POETRY 
FOREIGN BOOKS 
THEOLOGY/RELIGION 
CHILDREN'S BOOKS 
MISCELLANY (includes stores which may belong in 
	the above categories, but with which I am unfamiliar)
MAGAZINES, ETC. 
Comments 
other geographic areas 

[Note 0:  These lists were started thirty years ago, before search engines, 
Yelp, and so on.  Because those are now available, these listings will 
include only places that are noteworthy, or have substantive descriptions, 
or have been visited by me.  Old "minimalist" listings will remain as long 
as the stores are open, but no new "minimalist" entries will be added.]

[Note 0: I know this list is in need of updating, but although everyone keeps 
saying it's out of date, not many people seem send me specifics.]

[Note 1:  This list includes Cambridge, Boston, and environs.  There are 
separate files for western Massachusetts and for the rest of New England.  
Go to the bookshop index file for details.  

[Note 2: I collected these comments from a variety of people.  I personally 
have no knowledge of many of these places and take no responsibility if you 
buy a book you don't enjoy. :-)  Phone numbers and precise addresses can be 
gotten by calling directory assistance for the appropriate city.  Call ahead 
for precise hours, as even when I list them they are subject to change.] 

[Note 3: If you can add information for any of these, in particular 
addresses when they are missing, please send it to me.  *PLEASE SPECIFY CITY 
AND STATE.*] 

[Note 4: Area codes change so quickly these days that these may be wrong.] 

[Note 5: Thanks to Nichael Cramer, who maintained these lists for many 
years.]

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This is a list of many of what are some of the better/larger/more important 
bookstores in the Cambridge/Boston area.  This list is far from exhaustive.  
It is also somewhat outdated, since I am now [Feb 2003] reviving a list 
originally maintained by Nichael Cramer, but not updated since 1996.  Any 
corrections, additions, or (alas) deletions would be appreciated.  

I've arranged this partly by T-Stop and partly by category.  Eventually, it 
will probably be entirely geographic.  Help in sorting things out would be 
appreciated.

CONCERNING HARVARD SQUARE [Hereafter: HSq]: 
In this list there is a lot of emphasis on Cambridge, and in 
particular on Harvard Square.  I'm assuming that most people using 
this list (tourists, weekend-visitors, etc.) probably want the 
biggest book-buying bang per buck.  And around here that clearly means 
Harvard Square.  

By the way, most stores around Cambridge carry a brochure guide to the 
bookstores of Cambridge. Pick up a copy; it'll make getting around a whole 
lot easier.  

Harvard Square:

Crimson Corner (TStop=HSq).  Right across the street from Out of Town News.  
	"To my taste, a better magazine selection."   Formerly Nini's 
	Corner.   [02/08]
Global Village Books (111 Mt Auburn, T-Stop=HSq, 617-491-8788).  New 
	Age.  
Grolier Book Shop (6 Plympton, TStop=HSq, 617-547-4648, 800-234-POEM).  
	"I don't know what all to say about Groliers.  As the sign on 
	the door says "minimum of prose".  Poetry to the ceiling.  Like 
	Ralph, if Louise doesn't have it--or know about it--you can 
	probably get along without it.  Has to be seen to be believed.  
Harvard Bookstore (1256 Mass Ave, TStop=HSq, http://harvard.com).  
	Full-service bookstore.  Nice classical and remaindered 
	sections.  A fairly good used-book section (and remaindereds) 
	in the basement.  Offers delivery in local area via 
	emission-free bicycles for about the cost of a round-trip T 
	ride.  (In spite of name, not associated with Harvard so far 
	as I know.)  [06/09]
Harvard Coop (1400 Mass Ave, TStop=HSq, 617-492-1000, 
	http://store.thecoop.com/).  Pronounced "koop".  The 
	official "college bookstore" of Harvard. Three floors of 
	books.  (Also clothes, school supplies, etc.)  Good source 
	for that weird anthro text you've always wanted.  Has a 
	coffee shop.  Run by Barnes & Noble.  [09/03]  
Harvard Divinity School Book Store (Francis St, TStop=HSq).  Again, name 
	says it all.
Million Year Picnic (99 Mount Auburn, 02138, 617-492-6763).  Comic 
	book store.  [02/08]
Museum Shop at the Harvard Museum of Natural History (26 Oxford, just 
	past Harvard Yard, 617-495-4473, http://www.hmnh.harvard.edu).  
	"A wonderful source for kids' and adults' books, broad selection of 
	natural history, science, wildlife photography, as well as books on 
	the extraordinary collections there.  The shop also carries minerals, 
	jewelry, fossils, toys, games....  Open seven days 9AM-5PM.  [10/07]
Out of Town News (0[!] Harvard Sq, TStop=HSq).  A Cambridge fixture.  
	Newspapers from all over.  Good magazine selection.  
Pandemonium Books (6 Pleasant Street, just off Mass Ave, next to the 
	Central Square post office. TStop=Central, 617-547-3721 (?), 
	http://www.pandemoniumbooks.com/).  The kind of little SF shop 
	that you would expect to find in HSq.  "Devoted to SF and 
	gaming and has 10% discounts.  They carry some specialty 
	press stuff not available elsewhere the Square.  And 
	they'll discount at least some of it."  [06/06]  
Raven Used Books (52B JFK, TStop=HSq, 617-441-6999).  Contains smaller 
	selection of more scholarly material than most used 
	bookstores.  [12/05]
Revolution Books (1156 Mass Ave, TStop=HSq, 617-492-5443).  Well, it 
	*is* Cambridge...  (It was suggested that I make clear that 
	"revolution" in this context does *not* mean "as in 1776".  The 
	store is run by the RCP (the Revolutionary Communist Party).)
Schoenhof's Foreign Books (76A Mt Auburn, TStop=HSq, 617-547-8855, 
	http://www.schoenhofs.com/).  Foreign language books; 
	literature, non-fiction, language learning, etc.  160 
	languages in reference section.  "I don't think the listing 
	really does this place justice.  Simply put, this is THE 
	foreign bookstore for the entire east coast.  Smartest sales 
	staff in HSq, bar none."  "Bookstores from all over the 
	country refer people to Schoenhof's."  [09/03]  
Seven Stars (Mass Ave, Central Square, Cambridge).  Standard college-town 
	occult/New Age bookshop.

GENERAL/FULL-SERVICE BOOKSTORES: 

Barnes and Noble (Prudential Center. T-Stop: Prudential, 
	617-247-6959).  Open Mon-Sat 9AM-11PM, Sun 10AM-9PM.  [08/04]  
Barnes & Noble at Boston University Bookshop (Kenmore Sq, Boston, 
	TStop=Kenmore Sq).  *Huge* store.
Barnes & Noble (Old Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington).  Judging just by the 
	outside, I can see why Massachusetts abolished counties--several 
	of them were smaller than this store.  
Bertram & Oliver (73 Main, Amesbury 01913, 978-388-BOOK, 
	http://www.bertramandoliver.com/).  New books.  Open Tue, 
	Wed, Sat 10AM-6PM; Thu-Fri 10AM-8PM; Sun 12N-5PM.  [12/09]
The Book Rack (13 Medford, Arlington, 02474).  New and used books, 
	[08/04]
Brookline Booksmith (279 Harvard, Brookline, 02446, 617-566-6660, 
	FAX 617-734-9125, http://www.brooklinebooksmith.com).  New 
	books; also has a used book cellar.  Open Mon-Fri 8:30PM-11PM, 
	Sat 9AM-11PM, Sun 10AM-8PM; used book cellar closes an hour 
	earlier.  [10/05]
Concord Bookshop (65 Main, Concord, 978-369-2405).  New books.  An 
	independent bookseller, so a more interesting assortment of 
	books.  Heavy on local authors (quelle surprise!) but good selection 
	in other areas as well, if inconsistent--four different guidebooks 
	for Vietnam, a Vietnam culinary guide, but no Vietnamese phrasebook.  
	Very friendly staff.  Open Mon-Fri 9:30AM-6PM, Sat 9:30AM-5PM, 
	Sun 1PM-5PM.  
Derby Square Book Store (215 Essex, Salem, 01970, 978-745-8804).  New 
	books, everything discounted 30% but sorted only by category 
	(more or less) and in huge six-foot high stacks rather than on 
	shleves.  It takes a steady hand to get to most of them.  
Newtonville Books (296 Walnut, 617-244-6619, Newton, 
	
	http://www.newtonvillebooks.com/).  Lots of author readings 
	and other special events.  Open Sun 11AM-5PM; Mon, Fri 
	10AM-7PM; Tue-Thu 10AM-9PM; Sat 9AM-7PM.  [07/09]
Porter Square Books (Porter Square Shopping Center, 25 White, 
	Cambridge, 02140, 617-491-2220, T-Stop=Porter Square, 
	http://www.portersquarebooks.com).  General interest with all new 
	books, and a selection of cards, journals, etc.  It is large for an 
	independent store.  Full price except for a few selected new books.  
	Heavy on author appearances.  It has parking!  [11/04]  
Spirit of '76 (107 Pleasant, Marblehead, 01945, 781-631-7199, 
	http://www.spiritof76bookstore.com).  New books.  Open 
	Mon-Fri 8AM-8PM, Sat 8AM-6PM, Sun 11AM-5PM.  [08/04]  
Trident Booksellers (338 Newbury, Boston).  "Large, left-wing bookshop 
	with good non-fiction and reference sections covering some of 
	the more esoteric publishers not usually seen in the likes of 
	[Barnes & Noble], etc.  The fiction sections have a scattering 
	of secondhand books among the new titles, though nothing 
	exceptional (no horror section, and a disappointing SF 
	range).  What is most attractive about this bookshop is the 
	atmosphere engendered by the large cafe which the shop itself 
	surrounds, especially as it's open until midnight every day, 
	usually with some decent jazz to listen to.  Also a large 
	selection of magazines and greeting cards."  Open seven days 
	9AM-12M.  
Wellesley Booksmith (82 Central, Wellesley, 02482, 781-431-1160, 
	FAX 781-431-0660, http://www.brooklinebooksmith.com).  New 
	books.  Open Mon-Sat 9-9, Sun 10AM-6PM.  [10/05]
Willow Books & Cafe (279 Great Rd (Route 2A east of Route 27), Acton, 
	978-266-0066).  Large and well-lit.  Open Mon-Sat 9AM-9PM, Sun 
	12N-6PM.  

USED BOOKSTORES: 

Barrow Bookstore (79 Main, Concord, 01742, 978-369-6084, 
	http://barrowbookstore.weebly.com/).  Used books.  Smallest 
	selection around but also a bit cheaper.  No SF that I 
	could find, other than a few mixed into fiction.  
	Reasonable-sized mystery section, though.  Open 
	Mon-Sat 9:30AM-5PM, Sun 12N-4:30PM.  [04/12]
The Book Collector (375 Elliot, Newton Upper Falls, TStop=Newton Highlands 
	on Riverside branch, then bus #54 to corner of Elliot & Chestnut).  
	"Used books.  Better prices than in-town shops.  Strong on 
	children's, history, and reference.  Not open nights or Sundays."  
The Book Rack (13 Medford, Arlington, 02474).  New and used books, 
	[08/04]
Books with a Past (17 Walden, upstairs, Concord, 01742, 978-371-0180, 
	bwap@erols.com).  Used books.  Smaller selection than Upper Story 
	Books in Lexington. but probably worth a stop if you're around 
	when it's open.  Specializes in local authors.  Open Tue-Sat 
	10AM-5PM.  [09/06]
Boston Book Company (705 Centre, Jamaica Plain section of Boston, 
	02130, 617-522-2100, http://www.rarebook.com).  
	"Used books.  Strong in recent (last twenty years) hardcover 
	fiction, history and politics."  Open Mon-Sat 9AM-5PM.  [04/12]
Boston Book Annex (906 Beacon, Boston, 02130, TStop=1st above-ground stop on 
	Cleveland Circle branch, 617-522-2100, http://www.rarebook.com).  
	"Used books.  Strong in recent (last twenty years) hardcover 
	fiction, history and politics."  Open Mon-Thu 11AM-7PM, 
	Fri-Sat 11AM-9PM.  [04/12]
Brattle Bookshop (9 West, Boston, 02111, TStop=Park St, 800-447-9595, 
	FAX 617-338-1467, http://www.brattlebookshop.com).  
	Ancient.  Also has "antiquarian" paraphernalia; e.g. 
	autographs, etc.  Nice old/used magazine selection.  "Again, 
	strongest on history and other non-fiction.  Most of their 
	paperbacks are $3/1 on a big unsorted table; you can usually 
	find some good ones if you take the time to weed through 
	it."  "They've added a section on science fiction, three 
	shelves of which are paperback.  It's not large but some quite 
	good stuff has shown up in it.  The reason, of course, is that 
	their contacts are so good that a significant percent of all 
	used books being sold sort of funnel to them automatically."  
	Open Mon-Sat 9AM-5:30PM.  [04/12]
Bryn Mawr Bookstore (373 Huron Ave, Cambridge, near Harvard Sq, 
	617-661-1770, http://www.brynmawrbookstore.com).  
	[A wide selection.  All profits go to establish scholarships 
	at Bryn Mawr and for this reason they don't buy books but only 
	accept them as donations.  One result is that a portion (but 
	only a minority) of the books are not in as good condition as 
	one would like.  Another is that everything is significantly 
	cheaper, being closer to 1/3 list price rather than the 1/2 
	which is the norm."  Open Tue-Sat 10AM-5:30PM; also Thu 10AM-7PM 
	(Apr-Dec).  [09/06]
Commonwealth Books (2 Milk, 02108, basement of Old South Meeting House 
	in downtown Boston, 617-338-6328 or 800-259-7616, 
	http://www.commonwealthbooks.com).  "An eclectic mix of 
	scholarly and general interest.  Somewhat disorganized but a 
	determined search can yield good books at reasonable prices."  
	Open daily 10AM-7PM.  [02/08]  
Diskovery (Brighton Avenue, between Harvard Street and Linden).  "You get 
	both used books and used music here.  This is quite a small shop, 
	but it is an honest sort of smallness, not to be sneered at.  The 
	place is a mess, which makes it ideal for browsers.  Comes complete 
	with a middle-aged Peruvian woman who plays rap most of the time and 
	authentic black bookstore cat, as lazy as the best of them."  
Lorem Ipsum Books (157 Hampshire. Inman Sq, 617-497-7669, 
	http://www.loremipsumbooks.com).  General used bookstore with 
	a specialty in "useful books."
Manchester By The Book (27 Union, Manchester, 01944, 978-525-2929).  
	"A superb bookstore.  Strong in local and national history, 
	literature, and children's books.  A very well-chosen 
	selection, some of which is displayed on tables that invite 
	the reader to sit down on a sofa or chair and browse.  I have 
	bought a number of older children's books there as well as 
	some fairly off-beat but quality titles."  [04/04]
Much Ado (108 Washington, Marblehead, 01945, 781-639-0400).  "Not 
	cheap, but a large selection usually in good shape.  This 
	children's section is very good; the SF section is not large, 
	but has unusual stuff.  [08/04]  
Pazzo Books (4268 Washington off Adams Park, Roslindale, 02131, 
	617-323-2919).  Used books, with particular strengths in 20th 
	century fiction, children's, and the social sciences, as well 
	as books in Spanish and French, magazines and work from local 
	artists.  Open Tue-Thu 11AM-7PM, Fri 11AM-8PM, Sat 10AM-6PM, 
	Sun 12N-5PM.  Moving to West Roxbury.  [05/08]  
Puddingstone Books & Prints (65 Cedar, Dedham, 02056, 781-326-1115).  
Rodney's Book Store (Central Sq, Cambridge (on Massachusetts Ave, just 
	north of Prospect/Western Ave)).  Used books, fairly good-sized 
	store, reasonably eclectic collection.
Symposium Books (526 Commonwealth Ave, TStop=Kenmore Sq, 
	http://www.symposiumbooks.com).  [07/09]
Village Books (168B Main, Medway, 02053, 508-533-9109, 
	tseager@earthlink.net).  General used, especially mysteries.  
	Open Wed-Sat 10AM-5PM, Sun 12N-5PM.  [09/06]

UNIVERSITY (BOOKSTORES AND PRESSES): 

MIT Press Bookstore (292 Main, TStop=Kendall Square, 253-5249, 
	http://web.mit.edu/bookstore/www).  They sell all MIT 
	press publications.  Goode section of MIT hurt sale books and 
	remainder form other publishers.  Extensive selection of books by 
	MIT-affliated authors.  Very good c selection of books from other 
	publishers in art & architecture, culture & media, science, 
	technology & society, economics & management, linguistics, general 
	science, etc.  Open Mon-Fri 9AM-7PM, Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun 1PM-6PM.  
	[09/03]

FOREIGN BOOKS:

Sasuga Japanese Bookstore (96 Clematis Ave, Waltham, 02453, 
	781-891-5055, 877-891-5055).  Books, magazines, comics, etc in 
	Japanese, and (a smattering of) books in English about Japan.  
	[10/04]  

THEOLOGY/RELIGION:

[NOTE: These stores are not "Religious" bookstores, per se; rather they are 
bookstores that function as sources for the many seminaries and religious 
schools in the Greater Boston area.]

Divinitas (5 Magazine, TStop=Central Sq, 354-1114).  Nice selection.  Often 
	has good prices on remaindered/damaged books.  Closed weekends and 
	sometimes during school vacations.  Also, if you're into the 
	material, check out the Harvard Divinity School library while you're 
	nearby.  One of the best, if not the best, in the country."  
Israel Bookstore (410 Harvard, Brookline, 566-7113).  "More specialized, but 
	worth mentioning.  In their domain, they have an excellent 
	selection."  [More specialized seems to mean Jewish rather than 
	Christian, since I suspect the other two listed here don't cover all 
	religions either.]

CHILDREN'S BOOKS:

Children's Book Shop (237 Washington, Brookline. TStop=Brookline 
	Village).  Excellent selection.  

MISCELLANY:

The American Textile History Museum (491 Dutton, Lowell, 01854, 
	978-441-0400, FAX 978-441-1412).  Bookstore that covers
	both historical and contemporary aspects of clothing, 
	textiles, and handcrafts: social, academic, artistic, and 
	popular. Some *very* specialized, hard-to-find items; also 
	how-to books on sewing, knitting, crocheting, etc.  Open 
	Tue-Fri 9AM-4PM, Sat-Sun 10AM-5PM.  [08/04]  
Calamus Bookstore (92B South St, 02111, 617-338-1931, 
	http://www.calamusbooks.com/).  Has sort of a split 
	personality: as you enter, the back half is basically an adult 
	bookstore.  The front is what one might call a full-service 
	gay bookstore (i.e. they seem to carry about any book 
	available that has so much as a single gay character).  
	Postcards, records, tapes, etc.  [09/03]  
L. J. Harri (120 Lewis Wharf, Boston, 248-0996).  Nautical books, maps and 
	charts.
Lucy Parsons Center (549 Columbus Ave (South End), 617-267-6272, 
	T-Symphony or MassAve, http://www.lucyparsons.org/).  
	Left-wing radical bookstore.  Used to be the Red Book Store, 
	which was at various times at different locations in Central 
	Square (Cambridge) and Jamaica Plain.  [02/08]
National Park Service Visitor Center (246 Market, Lowell, 01945, 
	978-970-5000).  "The main NPS site has a small but good 
	bookstore covering industrial history, both academic and 
	general and small specialty presses."  Open 9AM-5PM seven days 
	a week, slightly longer in summer.  [08/04]  
New England Mobile Book Fair (82 Needham, Newton).  *Huge* warehouse of a 
	store.  It has three sections: hardbacks, paperbacks and remainders, 
	each section being as big as any other bookstore you've probably 
	ever been in.  All at discount prices.  (Warning: except for a few 
	specialty sections, most books are sorted by Publisher alphabetical 
	by *TITLE*!  This makes browsing nearly impossible, and it can be 
	pretty overwhelming your first time there, but if you know what you 
	want, it can be a good deal.  Copies of BOOKS IN PRINT all over the 
	place.)  The New England Mobile Bookfair has the word 'Mobile' in 
	its name because it warehouses books for school bookfairs. 
The USS Constitution Museum Gift Shop (at the Charlestown Navy Yard).  Books 
	on naval history, sailing, and other nautical matters that you might 
	not find elsewhere in the city.

MAGAZINES, ETC.:

Magazines by Joseph (279 Newbury, Boston, 02116, on the second floor).  "He 
	buys and sells magazines of all types.  His prices are good and he's 
	always willing to make a deal.  If you ask he'll keep an eye out for 
	particular magazines for you.  He has a small stash of misc 
	paperbacks, hardbacks, and misc stuff.  He's been around at one 
	location or another for at least 13 years.  He's a good guy."  Open 
	seven days from 11AM-7PM.  

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Comments: 

There are also Book Hunter Press's USED BOOK LOVER'S GUIDE TO [various 
regions], seven regional guides to over 7,900 used, out-of-print, and 
antiquarian book dealers in the United States and Canada.  The complete 
database is online and can be searched by location, dealer name, specialty, 
and type of dealer. Access to the database is available on a two tier basis: 
partial access is free, full access is by subscription.The web page also 
includes free access to regional and city maps showing locations with used 
bookstores. For more information or a free catalog, check their web page at 
http://bookhunterpress.com/.

============================================================================ 
Copyright Notice 

Information contained in this FAQ is compiled from many sources.  The 
compiler accepts no responsibility for the comments contained herein.  
The comments are provided "as is" with no warranty, express or implied, 
for the information provided within them.  

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To support this, this FAQ is Compilation Copyright 2016 by Evelyn C. Leeper 
(the FAQ maintainer).  

============================================================================= 


Evelyn C. Leeper
Evelyn C. Leeper (eleeper@optonline.net)

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