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Brattle Book Shop | © Bill / Flickr
Brattle Book Shop | © Bill / Flickr

The Best Independent Bookstores in Boston

Picture of Ashley Kane
Freelance Writer
Updated: 6 February 2017

Bookworms will love these top independent bookstores in Boston. Spend hours wandering their shelves, sell or purchase new or used books, and enjoy a cup of coffee at the locations with a café.

Commonwealth Books

Commonwealth Books is a quaint used bookstore located in downtown Boston. Take a look at old and rare books as well as used finds. Pet Leo the Cat and check out the antiquarian maps. The staff is very knowledgeable about antiquarian books and can help you find the ones you want. Sit by the fire and enjoy your new read.

Commonwealth Books, 9 Spring Lane, Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 338 6328

Trident Booksellers & Cafe

Located on Newbury StreetTrident Booksellers & Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and holds different readings and events. It also has a bookstore and gift shop filled with new books and crafts. Choose from bestsellers as you enjoy a cappuccino, or sit down at a table overlooking Boston’s popular shopping street.

Trident Booksellers & Cafe, 338 Newbury St, Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 267 8688

Harvard Book Store

Harvard Book Store is an independent shop located in Harvard Square. The shop holds readings and events every month and has a used bookstore downstairs. Wander among the tables of books and check out the store’s printing press: Paige M. Gutenborg. Local authors print books here, and Harvard Book Store also creates their own anthologies on occasion.

Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA, USA, +1 617 661 1515

Brattle Book Shop

Brattle Book Shop has been around since 1825 and is one of America’s oldest and largest used bookstores. With three stories of used books plus an outdoor shop – there are plenty of works from which to choose. If you have any questions, there is always a book expert with whom you can speak.

Brattle Book Shop, 9 West St, Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 542 0210

The Coop

The Coop at Harvard Square has three levels of books. Stop at the café or wander the bookshelves that look down over the store’s entrance. The shop also has a section dedicated to local Cambridge and Harvard writers. It opened for business in 1882 to give students low prices on textbooks, and that is still its mission today.

The Coop, 1400 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, USA, +1 617 499 2000 

Raven Used Books

Raven Used Books is also located in Harvard Square and specializes in scholarly, literary, and general books. With over 15,000 books in stock, they have something for everyone.

Raven Used Books, 23 Church St, Cambridge, MA, USA, +1 617 441 6999

Brookline Booksmith

Brookline Booksmith offers new and old books in Coolidge Corner. Originally opened in 1961 as Paperback Booksmith, the bookshop was one of the first on the East Coast to realize that paperback books spread literature to a larger audience. Today, the bookstore has all genres of books, including a great children’s section and literary works. The store also has a bargain section and a used bookstore cellar, and it hosts many readings each month.

Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St, Brookline, MA, USA, +1 617 566 6660