UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

Read All About It: Boston’s best indie bookstores

The Brookline Booksmith

There are rumors going around that independent bookstores are about to be a relic of the forgotten past, a rarity that has been pushed out of the market by growing electronic book sales. Think this is true? Think again! In Boston, independent bookstores are a thriving industry, and you can find one in nearly every neighborhood in the city that caters to every book lover, from the used book aficionado to the New York Times bestsellers’ audience. Stop by these bookstores and find your own favorite.

Trident Booksellers & Café

Located right on Newbury Street, this small bookstore has something for everyone. The two-floor niche bookseller offers a café tucked away among rows and rows of bookshelves with a menu that ranges from small appetizers to salads and sandwiches. And the best part? They have free wi-fi and are open until midnight, which is perfect for any college student staying up late doing homework. Service is friendly, and the bookshelves are always stocked with contemporary bestsellers and obscure book titles. They offer a variety of special events from book discussions and author signings to trivia every Friday night in the loft upstairs.

338 Newbury Street, located right off the Hynes Convention Center on the green line

Brookline Booksmith

Named “Boston’s Best Bookstore” multiple years in a row, Brookline Booksmith definitely lives up to that reputation. In the heart of Coolidge Corner, the bookstore sports a wide selection of books as well as quirky and crafty gift ideas. For those that venture down in the basement, they are rewarded with piles of used and antique books ranging from $1-$5. The staff here is incredibly friendly and approachable, and will gladly point you towards their favorite reads. Customers are also encouraged to bring everyone they know, from little kids to furry friends since the Brookline Booksmith has a fantastic children’s reading corner, as well as treats for dogs at the registers. Between the wide selection of books, welcoming atmosphere, and helpful staff, this is the type of bookstore to put Barnes and Noble out of business.

Located at 279 Harvard St, Brookline MA accessible from the Coolidge Corner green line stop

Porter Square Books

Smaller than your average bookstore, Porter Square Books is a wonderful neighborhood spot. Tucked away in the corner of a strip mall that most tend to overlook, this bookstore draws a local crowd that sees this as a wonderful place to curl up with a cup of coffee and a new book. Inside this hidden gem is Café Zing, a café dedicated to serving Equal Exchange coffee and tea, as well as baked good from local bakeries in the area. The bookstore offers an eclectic mix of books that tend to be more off the beaten track and an even more eclectic mix of furniture to sit in throughout the bookstore as well. Walking through the bookshelves, you can hear employees and customers alike talking about their favorite books and sharing their own book recommendations.

Located at 25 White St, Cambridge MA off the Porter Square red line stop

Commonwealth Books

Commonwealth Books a specialty bookstore offering used, antique, and contemporary books. On one side of the store, you can browse and find medieval manuscripts, but then on a very different bookshelf you can also find the bestsellers we all know and love. In the nice weather, their book collection overflows onto bookshelves on the sidewalk, encouraging curious people to stop and browse. This is not the kind of bookstore for those on a mission to find a specific title, however: this caters more to the crowd of perusing customers and seasoned bibliophiles. Commonwealth Books offers an impressive variety of first-edition, autographed, vintage books for decent prices. It’s easy to get lost in the sprawling bookshelves full of browning books, but a day spent in this bookstore is a day well spent with a guarantee that you will go home with a title you had previously never heard of.

Located at 9 Spring Lane, Boston MA off the Downtown Crossing stop on the red or orange line