Monday, April 09, 2012

10.5 ways local bookstores beat Amazon

Boston Articles - globe magazine

April 08, 2012  By Christie Matheson

If you’re rolling your eyes in anticipation of another save-the-bookstore rant, don’t worry. I’m not going to wax nostalgic about an almost-extinct breed of shopping destination or beg you to support it as an act of charity. Following a robust holiday sales season and a strong first quarter, many bookstores are doing quite well these days. But they do need paying customers to keep the success going. Herewith, 10 (and a half) reasons why you’ll get a lot more than books if you buy from local stores.

  • Harvard Book Store hosts big-name authors, sells signed first editions, gives a loyalty discountand you should read its             Twitter feed.

No. 1
They entertain your kids.
Bookstores are gold mines for parents. A well-stocked children’s section can engage a kid (and you) for a serious stretch of time. Then there are the activities. The Children’s Book Shop in Brookline (617-734-7323, has a Friday story hour, and Barefoot Books’s Concord studio (978-369-1770, offers at least one story time each day. The Fresh Ink program at Porter Square Books (617-491-2220, gives young readers advance copies of books and the chance to publish reviews online. And the soon-to-reopen Curious George Store in Harvard Square ( is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser for the under-8 set.

No. 2
They stock literary treasures.
You could hunt for rare, vintage, and signed books online, but it can be easier and more reliable to do this through a store. The signed first edition club at Cambridge’s Harvard Book Store (617-661-1515, delivers exactly what its name promises — signed first editions of books selected for “literary merit and potential collectability” and sells the books at the publishers’ list price. At Rabelais, which specializes in food and drink titles (it’s reopening later this month in Biddeford, Maine, 207-774-1044,, there’s a collection of culinary ephemera, from pamphlets to printed menus, and a deep selection of out-of-print and rare cookbooks.

No. 3 
They bring celebrities to town.
If someone famous pens a book, she’s probably going to do a signing around here. Coming up, everyone from Rachel Dratch of Saturday Night Live fame on April 10, hosted by Brookline Booksmith (617-566-6660, at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, to Judy Collins on May 9, hosted by Wellesley Books (781-431-1160, at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Wellesley.

Full story at The Globe.

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