Hey, I just bought a lot of new bookshelves.
February 7, 2011 7:21 AM   Subscribe

I'll be attending a conference at Boston University next Friday, and (barring some sort of apocalyptic weather) will have nearly all of Thursday to myself. This means...I need to go to some academic bookstores. (Yes, I'll do other things. But, really, I need to go to some academic bookstores.) I've checked online reviews, etc., and while I know about the Harvard area, where else should I go? If it helps, I'm always looking for stores with good stocks of history of religion, literary criticism, and British history. Home base while I'm there will be in the immediate vicinity of BU.
posted by thomas j wise to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
McIntyre and Moore in Porter Square. Really cool used book store.
posted by Perplexity at 7:23 AM on February 7, 2011


The basement used books section of the Harvard Book Store at the corner of Mass Ave and Plympton. I could bankrupt myself there.
posted by jefficator at 7:35 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Raven Used Books in Harvard Square is a must, especially if you're coming here anyway.

Brattle Book Shop doesn't have a specifically academic focus, but has an extensive stock.

The MIT Press store is great, but probably won't have much in your subject areas.

Seconding McIntyre and Moore, but they're not quite as impressive in their new location.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:47 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The MIT Press bookstore is great - many half-price MIT press books and a nice selection too. Not the strongest in your preferred categories but probably worth a visit if you're headed that way.

And I second MacIntyre and Moore. Leave a good chunk of time T- they have tons of stuff.
posted by googly at 7:48 AM on February 7, 2011


Boston Book Annex is worth a look, and really close to BU, just a few blocks from Kenmore Square.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 7:58 AM on February 7, 2011


Seconding the Boston Book Annex. Also, Raven has a second location on Newbury Street, about a 15 min T ride from BU
posted by darsh at 8:05 AM on February 7, 2011


Brattle Book shop right near the Park Street Station in Downtown Crossing. http://www.brattlebookshop.com/info.html Actually it's a nice walk if you just head down Commonwealth Avenue until you reach the Public Gardens. Then keep going in the same direction across the Gardens and the Common. Comm Ave has a great pedestrian walkway right in the middle of the street.
posted by WickedPissah at 8:08 AM on February 7, 2011


Rodney's Bookstore is yet another option. It's on the Red Line in Central Square, so it's convenient, but not sure I recommend it. I usually walk out disappointed, but history and literary criticism aren't my areas of interest, so it may be decent there.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 8:33 AM on February 7, 2011


Nthing McIntyre and Moore. Also there's a neat little exhibit happening at the Houghton Library at Harvard--The Bible in Type--which is small but has some stunning examples of early bibles including a Gutenberg. If you like that sort of thing, it's worth a peek.
posted by jessamyn at 9:23 AM on February 7, 2011


I've only been to Boston once, but came to recommend Raven. They also have a store on Newbury Street which is much smaller, but still had a great selection and was much less busy (at least when I was around).
posted by synecdoche at 10:12 AM on February 7, 2011


Wow, these are all great suggestions! I thank you, even if my wallet doesn't :)
posted by thomas j wise at 10:30 AM on February 7, 2011


If you have time to catch the 72 north from Harvard Square to Huron Village, Bryn Mawr Bookstore has a lot of interesting history and literary criticism books. (Their own website seems to be down, but if you check their vendor listing on AbeBooks.com, it might give you an idea of some of the things they have in stock.)

Then get pizza at The Village Kitchen just down the street.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:25 AM on February 7, 2011


Seconding Rodney's-- I'm in history, and while they don't have exhaustive stock, I've always found neat stuff (it helps that Cambridge is full of academics who periodically unload their office/home libraries there). They also have a huge selection of art books, if that interests you.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:46 AM on February 7, 2011


Here's a link to a PDF listing Cambridge-area used book stores.

I didn't know that McIntyre and Moore had moved to Porter Square. I would have told you to go to Davis Square, so it's good that I came late.
posted by painquale at 11:48 AM on February 7, 2011


FYI - Rodney's in Central is now one story, so I'm not sure if their selection is what it once was.

When you say you know about the Harvard area... just want to make sure you know about the Harvard Bookstore and not just the Harvard COOP - the latter is a B&N/the university's bookstore; the former is an awesome private bookstore with a great remaindered and used selection in the basement.
posted by maryr at 1:05 PM on February 7, 2011


FYI - Rodney's in Central is now one story, so I'm not sure if their selection is what it once was.

Yes. They stopped doing the poster thing and consolidated the shelving, so I don't think there was much actual reduction in the number of books available.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:01 PM on February 7, 2011


I don't think there was much actual reduction in the number of books available.

Well, they had a lengthy going-out-of-business sale before getting a reprieve, so I would imagine that their stock is down somewhat.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:11 PM on February 7, 2011


I spent a day book-hunting in Boston last summer, starting with the Boston Book Company in Jamaica Plain and ending up at the Brattle Book Shop downtown. The stock at the Boston Book Company is expensive but well chosen, wide ranging and good to browse (just the sort of place where you might find that obscure Emily Sarah Holt novel you've been wanting for years ..). The Brattle Book Shop is a proper old-fashioned general secondhand bookshop of the kind you don't see much any more; the best place to start is on the top floor, where they put the new stock when it comes in. My best find was a copy of William Sharp's biography, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1882), that had belonged to Rossetti's friend William Bell Scott, with his annotations; cost $42.
posted by verstegan at 1:44 AM on February 9, 2011


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