Best Bookstore in Boston

2015 Best Bookstore

Brookline Booksmith

Brookline

More than just a bookstore, it’s a monument to the literary life. The orderly stacks have helpful comment cards from the staff, and they’re packed with more than just bestsellers….Read More

2015 Best Bookstore

Brookline Booksmith

Brookline

This was a winner in our 2015 Best of Boston Readers’ Poll. See all the 2015 winners…Read More

2014 Best Bookstore

Harvard Book Store

Cambridge

Here’s one thing you can’t do on Amazon: Roam the aisles, thumbing through new releases and used books. Also impossible: attending readings and lectures by Elizabeth Warren, Gary Shteyngart, B.J….Read More

2013 Best Bookstore

Brookline Booksmith

Brookline

This was a winner in our 2013 Best of Boston Readers’ Poll. See all the 2013 winners…Read More

2013 Best Bookstore

Brookline Booksmith

Brookline

Despite our devotion to Kindles and iPads, it takes just two minutes at Brookline Booksmith for us to fall in love with the printed word all over again: the scuffed…Read More

2012 Best Bookstore

The Coop

Cambridge

With independent bookstores (and even national chains) falling by the digital wayside, it’s all the more impressive that this classic soldiers on. The four-story Harvard Square behemoth peddles both bestsellers…Read More

2011 Best Bookstore

Andover Bookstore

Andover

A working fireplace and mismatched, well-worn furniture make the Andover look more like a private library than a retail store. The atmosphere at this 200-year-old spot (the second-oldest bookshop in…Read More

2011 Best Bookstore, Cape Cod

Parnassus Book Service

Yarmouth Port

Owner Ben Muse’s bookshop is 56 years in the making, and it shows. Every spare inch of the space is jammed with books, from bodice rippers to obscure 19th-century naturalist…Read More

2011 Best Bookstore, West

New England Mobile Book Fair

Newton Highlands

Forgive this book shop for its bizarre name and oddball location. Once you get past the tiny storefront, the Mobile Book Fair stretches through a parking lot and nearly to…Read More

2011 Best Bookstore

Brookline Booksmith

Brookline

As it marks its 50th year, this place is still free of the “ism”s (elitism, hipsterism) that characterize too many independent booksellers. Instead, it continues to keep the focus on…Read More

2008 Best Bookstore

Brookline Booksmith

Brookline

At heart, a bookstore’s job is simple: Carry the latest and greatest. The Booksmith does this handily, while rising above Blahs & Noble to stand as a true bibliophile meeting…Read More

2008 Best Bookstore, North

Cornerstone Books

Salem

With tarry-awhile touches like overstuffed chairs, a fireplace, and a wee café offering bites from nearby bakery A&J King, this handsome independent shop encourages people to lose themselves in books….Read More

2008 Best Bookstore, South

The Blue Bunny

Dedham

Once in a blue moon, you get a Blue Bunny. Cofounded by children’s author-illustrator Peter H. Reynolds (The Dot, The North Star) five years ago, the magical little bookshop has…Read More

2008 Best Bookstore, West

Newtonville Books

Newtonville

How did book lovers ever live without Itty Bitty Booklights and Page-a-Day calendars and frightfully clever refrigerator magnets? Quite nicely, as proven by this 10-year-old independent where the bibelots are…Read More

2007 Best Bookstore

Harvard Book Store

Cambridge

Sticking it to the corporate chains is most satisfying when you can do so without, you know, sacrificing anything. Seventy-five years after Boston native Mark Kramer opened a bookstore in…Read More

2006 Best Bookstore, New Books

Brookline Booksmith

Brookline

Their fiction inventory is faultless; their nonfiction, superb. But it’s Brookline Booksmith’s book cellar that again propels this independent store to the top of the pile. If you’re going to…Read More

2005 Best Bookstore

Brookline Booksmith

Brookline

It’s not easy for an independent bookstore to weather the perfect storm of Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Amazon.com; more local favorites have closed this year. But this shop takes…Read More

2004 Best Bookstore, Cape Cod

The Brewster Book Store

Brewster

Don’t let the genteel nature of this shop, run by a pair of friendly sisters-in-law, mislead you: It has a large selection and a knowledgeable staff and hosts readings by…Read More

2004 Best Bookstore

Brookline Booksmith

Brookline

Everything from the aroma of newly bound books down to the creaky wooden floor makes Brookline Booksmith a cherished local institution. Its extensive selection ranges from bestsellers to children’s books…Read More

2003 Best Bookstore

Harvard Book Store

Cambridge

The Boston area is blessed with several world-class independent bookstores, all of them vibrant proof that the megachains are soulless vampires, slaves to the mass-market title and the Starbucks outlet….Read More

2002 Best Bookstore

Harvard Book Store

Cambridge

Just can’t find that book you want? They’ll almost certainly have it here. One of the last of Harvard Square’s great independent bookstores, the Harvard Book Store is still run…Read More

2002 Best Bookstore, Children's

Children’s Book Shop

Brookline Village

Our first choice for children’s books is your local public library. That said, this wee shop in Brookline is a close second for its thoughtful mix of classics (of the…Read More

2002 Best Bookstore, West

New England Mobile Book Fair

Newton

The up-and-comer in this category is the nearly four-year-old Newtonville Books, but while that otherwise admirable small shop considers its lack of organization quaint and quirky, we just think it’s…Read More

2001 Best Bookstore, West

New England Mobile Book Fair

Newton

Inside this family-run warehouse are miles of floor-to-ceiling shelves stacked with almost any book you desire. Even better, the staff not only finds what you’re looking for in a flash,…Read More

2001 Best Bookstore

Brookline Booksmith

Brookline

As megachains and the Internet continue their assault on small retailers, we give thanks to every independent bookshop still out there fighting the good fight. And Brookline Booksmith reminds us…Read More

2001 Best Bookstore, Specialty

Kate’s Mystery Books

Cambridge

Except for the rock tunes that blare from the speakers, this little shop of horrors seems right out of a WGBH Mystery! episode, with its Victorian architecture and hundreds of…Read More

2000 Best Bookstore, Used

Boston Book Annex

Boston

Like a portal to Narnia, a door below street level reveals an impossibly boundless collection of used books, neatly organized into hundreds of irresistible categories, including “espionage,” “nature writing,” and…Read More

1999 Best Bookstore, Gay

We Think the World of You

Boston

This delightful shop boasts a quirky selection, a white-hot reading series, a helpful and knowledgeable staff, and a magazine rack that recognizes there’s more to gay life than porn…Read More

1999 Best Bookstore, Suburban

The Concord Book Shop

Concord

The historic town that produced such literary luminaries as Emerson, Alcott, and Thoreau seems destined to have the bookshop. And Concord does. Why go to a depersonalized megastore staffed by…Read More

1999 Best Bookstore

Brookline Booksmith

Brookline

Brookline Booksmith is dedicated to the art of browsing. This cozy store allows book lovers to curl up on the wood floor and thumb through their favorite tomes. Friendly staffers…Read More

1998 Best Bookstore, General, Urban

WordsWorth Books

Cambridge

Much more than best-sellers and self-help, this complex two-store shrine to the written word stocks and discounts almost everything from Aristotle to Zagat’s. Books are displayed in a way that…Read More

1998 Best Bookstore, General, Suburban

Borders

As much as we hate to say it, Borders is elevating the culture quotient in the suburbs. If only it weren’t a chain. Live jazz and book signings, readings by…Read More

1998 Best Bookstore, Cookbooks

New England Mobile Bike Fair

Newton Highlands

Nobody has a more luscious selection of cookbooks than this mammoth warehouse on the Newton/ Needham line. Your 15-year-old just became a vegan? Hosting 60 people for Indonesian rijsttaffel? Next…Read More

1998 Best Bookstore, Specialty

Globe Corner Bookstore

Boston

This is the place to satisfy literary wanderlust, from Boston to Bangladesh to Beijing. Seating makes longer browsing more comfy. And the staff doesn’t seem to mind, even when you…Read More

1997 Best Bookstore, Poetry

The Grolier Poetry Book Shop

Cambridge

Founded in 1927, the Grolier is the only establishment of its kind in the nation—and probably the world: a bookstore devoted to poetry, and nothing but poetry. Its cramped interior…Read More

1997 Best Bookstore, Travel

The Globe Corner Bookstore

Cambridge

Although the Globe Corner Bookstore no longer shares space with the home of Anne Hutchinson at Downtown Crossing, the remaining Cambridge and Boston stores will ably meet your escapist needs….Read More

1996 Best Bookstore, African American

A Nubian Notion

Roxbury

A great selection of books, including ones you can’t find anywhere else. You’ll be pleasantly surprised…Read More

1996 Best Bookstore, Art

Borders Books and Music

Boston

A combination bookstore, music store, and cafe, Borders Books and Music has a huge selection of art books, ranging from classics like Picasso, Homer and O’Keeffe to Pop Art and…Read More

1996 Best Bookstore, Cook Books

Boston Cooks

Boston

There are more than 1,000 titles in this small, packed store, and what you don’t see they can always get. The emphasis is on New England books and authors…Read More

1995 Best Bookstore, Esoteric

Seven Stars

Cambridge

If you want to read up on holistic health or simply expand the horizons of your mind, Seven Stars, in Harvard Square, offers the greatest collection of esoteric books in…Read More

1995 Best Bookstore, Cookbook Selection

New England Mobile Book Fair

Newton Highlands

It’s hard to avoid temptation in this bibliophile’s paradise—especially if you love cookbooks. All the latest books are sold at a 20 percent discount, and a separate room is devoted…Read More

1994 Best Bookstore, Cookbook Selection

The Kitchen Shelf

Brookline

The Kitchen Shelf sells coobooks—and only cookbooks. It features a world-class selection of regional cookbooks, as well as a tasty vegetarian and healthful-cooking section, all sure to please professionals and…Read More

1994 Best Bookstore, General

Waterstone’s Booksellers

Boston

We’re not saying that biggest is necessarily best, but who can beat Waterstone’s selection, browsing room, helpful staff, late hours, and discounts of 30 percent on New York Times bestsellers…Read More

1994 Best Bookstore, Cafe

Trident Booksellers & Cafe

Boston

Trident houses an eclectic and interesting collection of books, as well as tarot cards, bonsai trees, and the little cafe area where you can look through magazines and have a…Read More

1994 Best Bookstore, But More than a Bookstore

Rizzoli Bookstore

Boston

Rizzoli does indeed carry a great selection of books, but we also find it to be good for gifts, particularly picture frames, stationery, blank notebooks, and compact discs…Read More

1994 Best Bookstore, Poetry

Grolier Poetry Book Shop

Cambridge

Despite its clutter, since 1927 this small hole-in-the-wall bookstore off Mass Ave in Harvard Square has been the place to buy poetry books of many countries and genres…Read More

1994 Best Bookstore, Creature Comforts

Brookline Booksmith

Brookline

Bookline Booksmith deserves kudos for its open-door policy for dogs. The deal is, if they wag their tail, they get a treat…Read More

1994 Best Bookstore, Audio

Boston Audio Books

Boston

Suburban commuters who work downtown will be thrilled to find Boston AudioBooks. This store carries a wide selection—including fiction, self-help, mystery, and science fiction—that can be bought or rented. Note:…Read More

1994 Best Bookstore, Foreign

Schoenhof’s Foreign Books

Cambridge

Schoenhof’s stocks books in French, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian, and other languages, and its knowledgeable reference staff is ready and waiting in the back of the store to guide you…Read More

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