6 Bookstores A Boston Bibliophile Must Explore

If you’re like me and you love filling your already crowded dorm room space with books (even though you’re already drowning in readings for class), you’ve come to the right city. Boston’s array of unique and historic bookstores may not be a good thing for your shelf space, but these six are definitely worth checking out.  

  1. 1. Commonwealth Books

    Commonwealth Books was the first bookstore I visited in Boston, and I absolutely fell in love with it. This cozy Downtown Crossing shop is a must-see, whether you’re a college student looking for a new paperback or a collector interested in rare books.  Commonwealth Books is open seven days a week year-round, so there is no excuse to not add it to your list!

  2. 2. Brattle Book Shop

    Founded in 1825 in Downtown Boston, Brattle is one of America’s oldest and largest antiquarian bookstores. The store has two floors of general used books and a third floor of rare books.  Brattle is perhaps best known locally for their outdoor book market, which transforms the city street into a book lover's dream. For more info on Brattle and other topics relating to Boston and literature, check out current owner Ken Gloss’s Brattlecast: A Firsthand Look at Secondhand Books!

  3. 3. Brookline Booksmith

    This Coolidge Corner bookstore was originally opened as Paperback Booksmith with the slogan “Dedicated to the fine art of browsing.” Paperback Booksmith was one of the first bookstores to sell “serious” literature in paperback editions rather than hardcovers, and they were also one of the first bookstores to organize books by genre rather than publisher. Stop by to do some paperback browsing yourself, and be sure to check out their Used Book Cellar for some cool finds or to sell some books of your own!

  4. 4. Trident Booksellers and Café

    Out of all the bookstores on this list, Trident is absolutely my favorite. Located on Newbury Street right by the Hynes Convention Center T stop, this restaurant/bookstore has something for everyone. Come for dinner (I’m personally a fan of their all-day breakfast options) and stay for the books and unique gift ideas. Trident also hosts a ton of really cool events such as film screenings, themed trivia nights, book/poetry readings, and even murder mystery dinners. Check out their events calendar, bring your friends, and join me in spending all of your money at this place.

  5. 5. Grolier Poetry Book Shop

    If you love poetry, this Cambridge bookstore has got to be on your list. Since its founding in 1927 by Adrian Gambet and Gordon Cairnie, Grolier has been frequented by many famous poets such as T.S. Elliot, e.e. cummings, Allen Ginsberg, and Robert Pinsky. In the 1970s, new events such as autograph/reading parties and poetry street festivals turned Grolier into a Cambridge landmark that created a space for people to gather and share their appreciation for poetry.  Visit Grolier to peruse the shelves while surrounded by photographs of famous poets who have done the same.

  6. 6. Barnes and Noble at Boston University

    This list wouldn’t be complete without an honorable mention of the BU bookstore. Recently relocated to West Campus, this Barnes and Noble is perfect for buying textbooks, grabbing some Terrier swag, as well as meeting any of your regular bookstore needs.  

Even with limited dorm room storage, you can truly never have too many books.  Whether you go for the history, shopping, or the comfort of being surrounded by that old-book smell, I hope you love these bookstores as much as I do!   


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