The sheer number of bookstores in Boston make it a haven for bibliophiles. // © 2015 Creative Commons User bruceberrien
Feature image (above): Brattle Books’ outdoor sales rack is a popular stop for locals and tourists alike. // © 2015 Creative Commons User comstock
Known for its universities and for its famous hometown writers (including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott and Edgar Allan Poe), Boston has unsurprisingly become a hub for booksellers.
Following are a few new and used bookstores that will familiarize you with Boston’s literary scene.
Brattle Books carries more than 250,000 books, maps, prints and postcards in its three-story building. Of note is the top floor, home to many rare first editions and out-of-print manuscripts you won’t find on Amazon.
If the indoor collection isn’t enough, head outside to check out yet another giant display of discounted books all priced $5 or less. There’s a reason people will brave Boston’s extreme weather to check out the outdoor racks — if there’s a heaven just for bibliophiles, Brattle Books might be it.
Bookistan is located near Boston’s Allston and Brighton neighborhoods, an area popular with local students, so it’s no surprise that the strange and wonderful Bookistan thrives there. Loosely organized, but wonderfully stocked, Bookistan features a wide range of genres, from old-school science fiction to vintage children’s books.
In addition to being a bookstore, Bookistan also sells antiques. The shop’s owner, Elcid Shahroozi, is also a highlight — pick up any book or antique, and he can tell you all about it. That kind of knowledge and service can’t be found just anywhere.
Located in charming Brookline, Mass., the homey Brookline Booksmith is just a couple of stops away from Boston — and it’s well worth the trip. The bookstore hosts several famous authors every month and even has its own “Used Book Cellar” — an entire floor dedicated to cheap used books.
But if used books aren’t your thing, the main floor features new copies at substantially discounted prices. Even when visiting as a tourist, Brookline Booksmith’s quaint decor and friendly staff will make it feel like your neighborhood bookstore.
Harvard Book Store
The greatest thing about Harvard Book Store is its custom printing service. Customers can print books from electronic files online, including rare texts and original manuscripts. Where else but in Boston can you get an out-of-print book created for you in minutes? Besides the on-demand service, Harvard Book Store also features a great mix of bestsellers and academic titles.
Raven Used Books
When strolling along Boston’s famous Newbury Street, be sure to rub shoulders with scholars at Raven Used Books. If there’s a college class on the subject, you’ll find a book on it at Raven. The store purchases more than 1,000 books a week, so you can always find something new.