Readers Say

The ultimate guide to independent bookstores in Massachusetts

Whether you're looking for a light beach read or contemplative philosophy, these shops have your next favorite book.

Beacon Hill Books & Cafe
Beacon Hill Books and Cafe on Charles Street. Globe Staff/John Tlumacki

Heading to your favorite local independent bookstore can be an adventure in and of itself. When you’re looking for a thought-provoking read, you may find yourself exploring the shelves, scanning nonfiction accounts and epic sagas, in search of a new title. You choose something that sparks your interest, whether it’s the latest from Elin Hilderbrand, or a novel from Laura Zigman, and delve into another world.

We asked readers to share the best independent bookstores in Massachusetts, and almost 400 responded, some of whom voted for multiple places. Readers care deeply about the book selections, staff recommendations, author talks, and the cafes within their favorite bookshops. The most popular bookstore that they recommended was I AM Books in the North End.


“Bookstores are magnet[s] for communities,” owner Nicola Orichuia said. “They really need to be in every neighborhood… People gravitate towards bookstores. Even if it’s just to browse, there is still a strong power of attraction that bookstores have.”

Below, find a guide to 46 independent bookstores in Massachusetts. We’ve included a map, so that you can find a great shop in a location near you, and discover features at each recommended location. Browse our list, and see if there’s somewhere you’d like to spend the day.

The bookstores that were among the top 10 reader picks are marked with a 🏆.

Aesop’s Fable

In Holliston, Aesop’s Fable aims to inspire creativity in “minds of all ages.” The bookstore has offerings for early readers, such as “Amelia Bedelia” and “How to Train Your Dragon” books, as well as selections for readers in the middle and young adults. Adults can search the shelves for a work of fiction, a biography, or memoir, as well, or pick up a rare and collectible book.

Features: The shop will be the booksellers for the upcoming Once Upon a BookFest Children’s Book Festival in Ashland on March 25. They also have several book clubs, storytime, and a “Read to a Pup” program, where kids can practice their reading skills with a certified therapy dog.


400 MA-16 #200, Holliston

All She Wrote Books

This intersectional, feminist and queer bookstore aims to be inclusive and celebrate underrepresented voices. In Somerville’s Assembly Row, All She Wrote Books has curated a selection of titles that fall under a range of genres. As a community space, the store aims to open up conversations and help marginalized people see themselves in the books they read.

Features: Join an event, where authors talk about their works, pick up an autographed copy of a book, or peruse their journals and notebooks.

Readers say: “The words and voices of feminist, queer, BIPOC, disabled, and other marginalized groups. I always find several books that I want to read… This is a ‘must visit’ store.” -Kit J., Somerville

451 Artisan Way, Somerville

An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe

Opening day of Jeff Kinney’s, author of the best-selling Diary of a Wimpy Kid, bookstore An Unlikely Story, in Plainville. – Globe Staff/Barry Chin

An Unlikely Story is a bit more than a bookstore in Plainville: it’s a gathering place to enjoy your novel with lunch, a spot to meet authors, and an event space. You can browse the bestsellers in their shop, which happens to also be owned by Jeff Kinney, author of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books, and his wife Julie.

Features: Visit the cafe for a matcha latte and a salad, and on the Second Story, attend an author signing, or join a trivia night.


Readers say: “One Minute with Bill: Bill, a bookseller makes a one-minute video and features a book. I usually buy what he features. Funky space, very friendly, many events and coffee.” -Yknot, Attleboro

111 South St, Plainville

Andover Bookstore

Founded in 1809, Andover Bookstore is steeped in history, considered to be America’s oldest independent bookstore. Originally based on the campus of the Andover Theological Seminary, and having maintained close ties to Phillips Academy until recently, the shop has switched locations several times but continues to bring books to people who delight in the joy of reading.

Features: They have held many author events over their 200+ years and have a deeply knowledgeable staff.

Readers say: “You have to respect that it is America’s oldest independent bookstore and still going strong. It’s intimate and cozy, just like a reading spot should be, and the knowledgeable staff keep a great inventory in stock and help with recommendations and special orders. Very glad to have this in our community!” -Lis T., Andover

74 Main St., Andover

Beacon Hill Books & Cafe

Last year, Beacon Hill Books & Cafe opened, with three whimsically designed stories dedicated to books and an adorable cafe on the ground floor. The Greek Revival building is filled with quality reads and charming touches, like fireplaces and a model train that “winds through rooms.” Visitors can’t miss the shop: its mascot, Paige the Squirrel, is carved on a sign outside.

Features: At the cozy cafe, enjoy a popover, quiche, or afternoon tea, complete with scones and cucumber sandwiches. Readings and signings, as well as author conversations, take place at the shop.


Readers say: “Cozy feeling, booksellers give great recommendations, and the cafe food is delicious. Only drawback is the crowds on the weekend, but if you go on a weekday/night, it’s usually very pleasant for browsing.” -M.T., Beacon Hill

71 Charles St., Boston

Bedlam Book Cafe 🏆

A bookstore in Worcester, Bedlam curates fine used books and a smaller collection of new books, with a focus on “academic presses, literature, arts, humanities, sciences, and esoteric subjects.” Notably, the shop has a diverse poetry section and has started holding events in The White Room.

Features: The cafe features an organic smoothie bar, coffees and teas, raw bites, and great chocolates.

Readers say: “Bedlam Book Cafe—besides being in the great city of Worcester—has an incredible, well-curated selection of both new and used books. It’s my go-to spot for birthday/Christmas presents; I can always find something unique for myself or for someone else. Plus, their coffee and tea [are] delicious!” -Josie D., Connecticut

138 Green St., Suite 1, Worcester

Belmont Books

The owners of this mom-and-pop bookstore in Belmont believe in the importance of real books, in the age of Kindles and iPads. They’ll introduce you to the week’s top selling titles, monthly staff recommendations, and a great kids and teens section.

Features: At Black Bear Cafe, pick up a pastry and a drink. Belmont Books holds book clubs for adults and kids, as well as events, like book launches.

Readers say: “Wonderful staff that offers great recommendations and are so helpful when you are searching for a certain book without the title or author. The bookstore has a second floor that is dedicated to children’s books. My nine-year-old daughter loves spending time there.” -Kathy P., Belmont


79 Leonard St., Belmont

Book Ends

A quaint looking spot in Winchester Center, Book Ends specializes in a range of offerings. Within the shop, you’ll find a kids room that is a big draw for families, featuring a wall currently honoring Women’s History Month and National Disability Awareness Month.

Features: Book Ends holds a Story Time twice a week, as well as a Literary Junkies Book Club.

Readers say: “The staff is great, patient and always helpful. I always find something I didn’t know I needed.” -Annie, Stoneham

559 Main St., Winchester

Books & Sundry

Plymouth residents and tourists alike find Books & Sundry to be something of an oasis, a relaxed place to find classics, new books, and signed first editions from local authors. The shop has an open vibe and is a great place to bring your coffee and bury your nose in a pick recommended by staff.

Features: You can purchase items like notebooks, pens, water bottles, stationary, and blankets. Book Club meetings and Craft Nights are also held.

150 Water St. Unit 104, Plymouth

Brattle Book Shop

Juniper Moscow and Agathe Smith sit and look over books at the outdoor display at Brattle Book Shop on July 2, 2022. – Globe Staff/Carlin Stiehl

On West Street in Downtown Boston, Brattle Book Shop claims to be one of America’s oldest and largest used book shops. With two floors of general used books and a third floor of rare and antiquarian books, you’re sure to find something that you’ll love. Outside, there is a sale lot for browsing, as well.

Features: The Brattle offers leather sets, cloth sets, and more, great for decorating your home. They do appraisals, as well.

Readers say: “The outdoor book racks at Brattle Book Shop are [a] used book hunter’s delight. It is a treasure trove; you never know what you are going to find at either $5, $3 or $1. Inside the store, the books are sorted by subject/topic, so [depending] upon your interest, it’s browsing heaven, and the used books are reasonably priced. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.” -John P., Beverly


9 West St., Boston

Brookline Booksmith 🏆

A family-owned spot in Coolidge Corner, this shop has been running since 1961. Here, you’ll find a used book cellar, an expansive children’s section, and a selection of cookware offerings, all in an environment featuring fairy lights and “legendary creaky floors.” Brookline Booksmith, which expanded into a neighboring storefront last year, aims to build community through the written word.

Features: Events include yoga, as well as author talks.

Readers say: “I love the array of books that are on offer at Brookline Booksmith. The store is very big and spacious. Books are not regulated just to shelves, where they will be looked over and forgotten. The store highlights books that are on sale and not, right in one’s eye line, so that no book is forgotten.” -Ruth P., Brookline

279 Harvard St., Brookline

Bryn Mawr Book Store

In Cambridge, Bryn Mawr Book Store, specializing in used books, can be a treasure trove, selling rare titles at a reasonable price. Proceeds from the store fund scholarships to Bryn Mawr College students from New England. It was founded by alumnae and is staffed by volunteers.

Features: Every month, the bookshop puts one or more categories of books for sale for 50%.

Readers say: “First prints. Cozy.” -Anonymous

373 Huron Ave., Cambridge

Commonwealth Books

This used bookstore in downtown Boston offers over 40,000 titles, including medieval manuscripts and modern day mysteries. You’ll also find art monographs, poetry, history books, and old bins filled with prints and engravings from the 1600s through the 1940s. Visitors enjoy digging through their antique maps and hard to find books.


Features: Commonwealth Books attends several book fairs a year.

Readers say: “The world needs bookstores like this. Used books galore, rare books, and specialty items, too. A place for an expansive browse, a satisfying exploration, a happy find. Not oriented to ‘latest’ anything. No need for that. Here, an encounter with a world of print, and the opportunity to engage with all of it at whatever pace you like.” -William R., East Cambridge

9 Spring Ln., Boston

Copper Dog Books

The oceanside community of downtown Beverly enjoys Copper Dog Books, a place to find a great science fiction and fantasy section, gifts, and cards. The bookstore also has a number of partnerships, helping with school book fairs, author visits, and library events.

Features: The shop hosts a number of events, holding conversations with authors and new release parties.

Readers say: “What’s not to love? Nice selection of books and other stuff, and super nice and helpful staff. Atomic Cafe with yummy food and great coffee is also next door and connected. Perfect [spot] for a book and a bite.” -Michael P., Beverly

272 Cabot St., Beverly

East End Books

Looking for something to do in Provincetown? Pop into East End Books, where they have a “lovingly curated” collection of printed books, eBooks, audiobooks, vinyls, and more. Find fun titles like “My Killer Vacation” by Tessa Bailey or “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel” by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The shop will have a new location officially opening in Boston’s Seaport District by Memorial Day.

Features: Attend one of their author talks, or while you’re at the shop, sift through their LGBTQ Picks or Ptown/Cape Cod Recommended Books.


389 Commercial St., Provincetown

Frugal Bookstore

Located in Roxbury, Frugal Bookstore is a community shop that strives to promote literacy in children, teens, and adults. Select a volume from their Black Lives Matter reading list, which includes titles like “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America” by Clint Smith and “Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernardine Evaristo.

Features: The bookshop holds many author talks and readings, as well as hosting a book club that uplifts POC voices.

Readers say: “I like the selection of books. The store is cozy. They have a frequent buyer discount and have ordered books for me from other countries. Important to me that it [is] a Black owned business.” -Kate, Randolph

57 Warren St., Roxbury

Grolier Poetry Book Shop

Near Harvard Square, you’ll find Grolier, a lovely shop with a focus on poetry publications and readings, founded in 1927. Among their offerings, you’ll find anthologies of contemporary Nigerian poetry, lyrical reflections, and the works of Burmese writers.

Features: Shop for journals, signed books, and attend one of their many readings in the shop.

Readers say: “The efforts they go to to locate books, and their public events.” -John M., Somerville

6 Plympton St., Cambridge

Harvard Book Store 🏆

People attend an event where author Laura Zigman discusses her new book “Small World,” in an interview alongside author Tom Perrotta at the Harvard Book Store. – Globe Staff/Carlin Stiehl

Patrons of this landmark in Harvard Square know that the Harvard Book Store is a unique place to shop, having served visitors since 1932. You’ll find new arrivals like “The Red Balcony” by Jonathan Wilson and “I Have Some Questions for You” by Rebecca Makkai, but it’s also a spot for used books, good staff recommendations, and online warehouse sales. The Harvard Book Store will be expanding to a new location in the Prudential Center later this year.


Features: Attend events like author talks, and join the Signed New Voices in Fiction Club. Shop for university clothing in the store.

Readers say: “Harvard has the best book recommendations sprinkled throughout the store. It’s like having someone walking alongside you the whole time, pointing out hidden gems with funny or exciting descriptions that ensure I always leave with too many books.” -Wesley S., Jamaica Plain

1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

Hummingbird Books

Chestnut Hill is home to Hummingbird Books, an intimate spot that provides customers with popular books, literary canon titles, niche interest sections, along with “thoughtfully curated displays.” The store features a giant installation called The Great Oak Tree, meant to serve as a gathering place for families.

Features: Take a children’s writing class, through Lemon House Publishing, or join story time at the shop.

Readers say: “Not overwhelming. Just a nice curated collection of books. Friendly staff. Owner is lovely.” -Joanna, Braintree

The Street Chestnut Hill, 55 Boylston St., Suite 5510, Chestnut Hill

I AM Books 🏆

When you’re in the North End, of course you’d be looking for a bookstore that reflects the neighborhood’s Italian culture. At I AM Books, you’ll discover Italian themed writings in English, books for adults and kids in Italian, and the works of Italian-American authors. Explore their food and wine section, read about the history of Ancient Rome, or pick up a collection of poetry.

Features: Listen to music, or hear an author speak about their book, before shopping for toys, gifts, and games for family and friends.


Readers say: “This isn’t just an independent book store, as it provides an inspiring look into Italian culture and its place in American life. It offers an eclectic mix of books about food, history (both ancient and modern), sports, wine, art, music, and more, that will inspire all to live La Dolce Vita.” -Scott, East Cambridge

124 Salem St., Boston

Jabberwocky Bookshop

In the heart of Newburyport, Jabberwocky Bookshop aims to bring people and books together. The North Shore shop’s main space offers 7,000 square feet of new books and brings the community discounted Indiebound bestsellers and summer reading lists for schools. In the Green Room, a library-like space, you can sift through once read books at low prices.

Features: The store will hold local author events starting back up in June.

Readers say: “Nestled in the city’s Tannery Marketplace, this bookstore is simply the coziest. Visitors will be greeted by their welcoming staff, as well as their adorable and friendly dog. Throughout the shelves, you’ll find many useful handwritten notes and recommendations… And, after you find the perfect read, you can enjoy it right away at one of the nearby cafes or walk a few steps and sit along the waterfront.” -Jenny, Newburyport

50 Water St. #22, Newburyport

Lala Books

A community space to share stories and ideas, Lowell’s Lala Books strives to help each visitor find their perfect book, featuring a strong children’s section. Recommendations include “The Lavender Haze” by June Bates and “All the Peaches & Mangoes I Would Sell for You” by Ivy Ngugi.


Features: Join an open mic, story time, or a writing group at Lala Books.

Readers say: “The mood.” -Anonymous

189 Market St., Lowell

MIT Press Bookstore

In the heart of Kendall Square, MIT Press Bookstore is “one of the only retail bookstores owned and operated by a university press.” The shop calls itself the “bookselling arm” of the MIT Press, the school’s nonprofit publishing program. Specializations include computer science, art and architecture, neuroscience, and linguistics.

Features: Part of the MIT Kendall Gateway, you’ll also find the MIT Museum, which opened last fall, nearby.

Readers say: “Great science and children’s selections. Great location in Kendall Square, right next to the T station. Wonderful, knowledgeable staff.” -Bob P., New Hampshire

314 Main St., Cambridge

Molly’s Bookstore 🏆

This recently opened Melrose bookshop offers great finds, with titles like “Our Missing Hearts” by Celeste Ng and “Solito” by Javier Zamora lining their shelves. The spot brings readers new books, as well as “gifts and educational items for customers of all ages and backgrounds.”

Features: Molly’s will hold book club meetings, story hours, and other events, like outdoor drama in the summer.

Readers say: “This new bookstore is the place to be! Molly’s Bookstore recognizes new, young, underrepresented authors. The children’s section is phenomenal, with a diverse selection of beautifully illustrated books.” -Madeleine B., Melrose

667-669 Main St., Melrose

More Than Words

More Than Words in the South End helps young people get their lives on track. – Globe Staff/Jonathan Wiggs

When you enter More Than Words, you’ll learn that this store is a bookshop with a mission: it is a nonprofit enterprise that empowers “young adults who are in the foster care system, court-involved, homeless, or out of school.” It does this by teaching these youth to run a business, allowing them to gain important skills.


Features: More Than Words hosts author talks and book clubs in the store.

Readers say: “The mix of new and used books makes it an ideal one stop shop. The merchandise is perfect for a last-minute present run, and the mission of the bookstore is phenomenal. One of my favorite Sunday pastimes is wandering through the shelves and seeing what I discover.” -Will W., Dorchester

242 East Berkeley St., Boston

Newtonville Books

A Newton independent bookstore since 1998, this neighborhood shop is a great place to browse through staff picks, explore graphic novels for kids, or attend a book club meeting. Pick up a copy of “The Sense of Wonder” by Matthew Salesses or “Pandora” by Susan Stokes-Chapman.

Features: Authors talks and a drop-in crafters’ book club are on their calendar.

Readers say: “Mary (the owner) and staff have created a warm and welcoming space for all readers. They are very knowledgeable, and their recommendations and staff picks are always on point. It is a wonderful place to attend readings and other author events, something I do often.” -Adam S., Newton

10 Langley Rd., Newton

Pandemonium Books & Games

At this Cambridge shop, you can find fantasy, science fiction, horror, and thriller titles, but Pandemonium also strongly supports the gaming community. Pick up Magic: The Gathering cards, a role playing game, or join one of their quarterly writing workshops, which could focus on world building or getting feedback from strangers.

Features: Pandemonium holds events like Digimon TCG tournaments, War-gaming nights, Dungeons and Dragons sessions, and “Book Moot,” a book club meeting.


4 Pleasant St., Cambridge

Papercuts Bookshop 🏆

A woman-owned, Jamaica Plain bookstore, Papercuts brings readers new titles like “Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age” by Katherine May and “The Maid” by Nita Prose. Join an author event, or read from their own “The Papercuts Anthology,” featuring short pieces by writers who visited them.

Features: On April 29, Papercuts will celebrate Independent Bookstore Day. You can also attend one of their author events this spring.

Readers say: “This quirky shop feels small but has an expansive collection of anything you could want. It is laid out beautifully and seems to grow as you get lost perusing the shelves. In addition to books, stationary, and gifts, shop dog Sam is often there to brighten your day.” -Matt, Jamaica Plain

60 South St., Jamaica Plain

Park Street Books & Toys 🏆

This children’s bookstore offers more than creative reads for kids: they sell puzzles, craft kits, and they even have a paint-your-own pottery studio. Your youngster will enjoy flipping through sticker books or picking out a new set of markers.

Features: At The Pottery Place, you can decorate a piece in-store or order a project to work on at home.

Readers say: “Park Street Books has become an institution in Medfield. I consider its owner, Jim James, a local hero to kids and adults alike. Not only is the store filled with quantities of books for children of all ages, there are discounted adult books. Jim will order current books that arrive with a speed that matches Amazon. He is notorious for his generosity to local nonprofits and service organizations. We celebrate this wonderful place — a gift to all generations. -Barbara Y., Medfield


504 Main St., Medfield

Porter Square Books 🏆

The Seaport District location of Porter Square Books. – Globe Staff/Pat Greenhouse

The popular Porter Square Books recently opened a new location in the Seaport District, as part of the writing center Grub Street. Between the two locations, you’ll find book club meetings, poetry readings, and Silent Reading Parties. Porter Square Books also holds a civic engagement program called Be the Change, hosting authors who speak about social justice issues.

Features: Visit Cafe Zing in the Cambridge location for a great smoothie. At the Boston spot, hang out in Grub Street’s Fabulist Cafe, or attend an open mic night.

Readers say: “The atmosphere and the scones! And the thoughtful selection of titles, of course. Oh, and their programming — like the Prison Book program and the writers in residence.” -Helen L., New York

25 White St., Cambridge and 50 Liberty Dr., Boston

Raven Used Books

While you’re in Harvard Square, you may want to explore scholarly and literary used books that have changed hands over the years. Some of their best sections include philosophy, social theory, history, classical studies, art and architecture, religions, and more. Browse their shelves, and find an old treasure.

Features: Sell your used books here, whether they’re classics by Steinbeck and Woolf or contemporary works by Murakami and Atwood.

Readers say: “Huge academic and other selections at great prices, with regular stock turnover.” -Anonymous

23 Church St., Cambridge

Rozzie Bound Co-op

In Roslindale, this shop is a multi-stake cooperative, owned by its workers and customers. The community bookstore brings visitors titles such as “The Women Could Fly” by Megan Giddings and “Last Summer on State Street” by Toya Wolfe.


Features: If you’re interested in learning about banned books, join the Rozzie Bound Banned Book Club. Check their calendar for author talks and signings.

Readers say: “Great little boutique bookstore that has a small but excellent and eclectic selection. If you don’t see what you want, just ask, and they will get it for you!” -Tina L., Roslindale

739 South St., Roslindale

Sea Howl Bookshop

Cape Cod is home to this Orleans spot, whose name comes from a T.S. Eliot poem. While you’ll certainly find a selection of new books here, look out for some vintage titles, periodicals, stationary and journals, and puzzles and games.

Features: Sea Howl collaborates with local authors, doing events or readings, in spaces beyond the bookshop, like in libraries or art galleries.

Readers say: “Sea Howl has [an] absolutely fantastic selection of books in an intimate and elegant space. The fiction and nonfiction selections are second to none. The cookbook selection is varied and delightful. As Sea Howl is on the Cape, there is also a strong regional selection of Cape-specific titles. The owners and staff make excellent and unexpected recommendations, and you always leave with a gem.” -Lexy B., Dennis

46 Main St., Orleans

Storybook Cove

Founded by Janet Bibeau, a former teacher and librarian, this Hanover shop strives to provide good books and toys to children and the people who care for them. Order a subscription box and have a customized book package sent to you periodically.

Features: Bring your kids to a Story Time, or attend a book reading and signing.


Readers say: “Proximity to my home, great customer service (they order books if not in stock) and even delivered to our home!” -Magdalena, Holbrook

775 Washington St. Suite 2, Hanover

Tatnuck Bookseller

This large independent bookstore specializes in a variety of titles, women’s fashion and accessories, jewelry and handbags, baby gifts and apparel, and more. Pick up a read like “Skull Water” by Heinz Insu Fenkl or “The Dead Romantics” by Ashley Poston.

Features: At the cafe, grab a gourmet sandwich or an Uhlman’s ice cream from the self serve freezer.

18 Lyman St., Westborough

The Blue Bunny Books & Toys

In Dedham Square, The Blue Bunny was opened by a children’s book author and illustrator, Peter H. Reynolds, and aims to bring books, toys, and art supplies to youngsters and “grown-up kids.” A little store with a cozy and retro feel, the shop also offers Reynolds’ own collection.

Features: Visit the Mocha Java Espresso Bar and Cafe.

577 High St., Dedham

The Book Oasis 🏆

Wander into The Book Oasis, and you’ll find gently used and new books, candles, stickers, puzzles, and more. The spot also features an excellent non-fiction room and children’s book nook. They also will bring fantastic book fairs, full of diverse reads, to breweries, this year.

Features: Pick a book from one of their many lists, which include stories featuring characters with disabilities and titles about social justice/diversity.

Readers say: “The owners are wonderful people. If they don’t have a new book, they will find it for you. The option of being able to buy a used book and save a little money is a great thing for a middle class book lover like me.” -Nancy D., Stoneham


311 Main St., Stoneham

The Book Rack

This intimate Arlington shop specializes in gently used books, sold at a discount, but you can also find a selection of popular new books here, as well. Trade in your own texts to get points that you can spend in the store.

Features: Join the Arlington Author Salon, an immersive literary experience.

Readers say: “Small, comforting little book shop selling both new and used books, in my hometown of Arlington. I love the smell of the books when you walk in, and the staff are all so helpful and great to talk to. Nothing fancy about it, just a cool little shop that I love spending my time and money at.” -Joe P., Arlington

13 Medford St., Arlington

The Concord Bookshop

A local, Concord business, The Concord Bookshop has a distinctive and diverse collection of books for all ages, featuring local authors, signed copies, and wonderful staff picks. They also offer some fun book lists, including ones for fans of “The Crown” on Netflix and “Hemingway” on PBS.

Features: Displays in the window highlighting different nonprofits are showcased every week.

Readers say: “This locally-owned bookstore is located in Concord. The displays are excellent, and the staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and well read. The selection is varied, covering a wide range of timely and interesting topics, as well as a large fiction collection. If you don’t find the book you want, they will order it for you.” -Jim R., Concord Center

65 Main St., Concord

The Silver Unicorn Bookstore

Acton’s independent bookstore was founded by Paul Swydan, co-curator of’s Book Club. The humble shop hosts book clubs, holds an independent author program, and once created a Whirlwind Romance Pop-up Bookstore. This April, they will run a Kids Graphic Novel Festival.


Features: Join an author event, story time, or a theatrical happening.

Readers say: “At Silver Unicorn, the people make the place. The staff, including owner Paul, have the best recommendations. They consistently stock the shelves and their event calendar with content for all. We are so lucky to have this gem nearby!” -Kristin, Boxborough

12 Spruce St., Acton

Tres Gatos

In Jamaica Plain, Tres Gatos is a full service restaurant, book, and music store. At their tiny shop in the back, you can sort through hand picked titles and even find new and used vinyl records, as well. Visitors, waiting on their food, can peruse their offerings, with a drink in hand.

Features: Enjoy tapas at the restaurant, where seared sea scallops and chickpea fritters grace their menu. They are also open for brunch.

Readers say: “Although it’s small, the collection of books for sale is well curated and suits my taste very closely. I always find something that I didn’t know I needed. Love the records and tapas, too. Wonderful to have this within just a few blocks from my house.” -Lori M., Jamaica Plain

470 Centre St., Jamaica Plain

Trident Booksellers & Cafe

Author Mackenzi Lee speaks with guests at her book launch party for “Bygone Badass Broads,” held at Trident Booksellers & Cafe in Boston. – Globe Staff/Aram Boghosian

Near Copley Square, Trident strives to be a “third place,” a welcoming spot that isn’t your home or workplace, but where people share ideas and gather over conversation. Browse their shelves, and look out for poetry open mics, trivia nights, and a Silent Book Club. It doesn’t hurt that they have a spectacular cafe, either.

Features: Order all day breakfast at Trident, where you’ll find buttermilk pancakes and malted Belgian waffles.


Readers say: “Great book selection. Independent vibe. The cafe has good food for reasonable prices, and it really adds to [a] homey atmosphere.” -Kristen, North End

338 Newbury St., Boston

Wellesley Books

Find hardcover fiction bestsellers, signed books, games and puzzles, and novels from local authors at this Wellesley destination. You can also trade in your used books or opt to run a book fair with Wellesley Books.

Features: They run a Prison Book Program, providing books for incarcerated people.

Readers say: “Wellesley Bookstore! The staff is extremely knowledgeable and always offers winning recommendations. They are very customer focused and take time to understand what you are looking for. Their staff recs posted on cards throughout the store are helpful. Love that they offer free wrapping of gifts! It’s my dog’s favorite store to visit. Treats!!” -S.S., Dover

82 Central St., Wellesley

Whitelam Books 🏆

If you’re looking for your next great read, Whitelam Books is here to help. You’ll get “personal, insightful service” from the staff, while searching for your book, and you can also find literary gift items, like reading glasses and book lights, here.

Features: Join a book launch event, story time, or a community book club, focusing on sci-fi/fantasy, fiction, or nonfiction.

Readers say: “Whitelam has a friendly, knowledgeable staff, they have frequent book signings and seminars on all sorts of topics, lots of fun children’s activities like scavenger hunts and book readings, plus the owner is a great supporter of the town of Reading schools’ drama, music, and art departments—whether it’s buying an ad in a program or letting everyone hang posters about upcoming shows and concerts in the shop.” -Melissa M., Reading


610 Main St., Reading

Wicked Good Books

You can find current and new releases here, as well as used books. But if you’re looking to learn about the culture of Salem, they have a special section, which includes histories and fictional stories about the witch trials. You can also pick up mugs, totes, and t-shirts here.

Features: Wicked Good Books has a fairly large women’s history and women’s studies section, while their LGBTQ+ section is expanding.

Readers say: “Good mix of used and new books. Many signed copies of new releases. Excellent selection of local history. Cool non-book items.” -Kristin S., Salem

215 Essex St., Salem

Winthrop Book Depot & Cafe

While the cafe takes up a significant amount of space at this business, the bookstore section is small but mighty. Winthrop Book Depot & Cafe carries novels, books from local authors, and more.

Features: At the cafe, get an iced coffee, avocado toast, a smoothie, or a bagel.

Readers say: “They have a wonderful selection of diverse children’s books for children of all backgrounds, as well as tweens and young adults, plus a nice curated selection of nonfiction and fiction, as well as [toys]… They have a busy coffee business too—mostly to go these days—and excellent muffins that are especially good heated and to go, a nice selection, including chocolate.” -Dean B., Winthrop