#8 Porter Square Books

porter square booksPorter Square Books
Porter Square Shopping Center
25 White Street
Cambridge, MA 022140



In January, 2004, six friends who had worked together for years in the book business decided to invest in their own book store.  The result is this gem on the busy crossroads of Cambridge and Sommerville.  Porter Square Books could not be in a better location.  Just outside a T Station, commuter and pedestrian traffic made this store one of the busiest I’d seen in all of New England.

The general manager and one of the owners, Dale    says, “in order to be succesful you have to have a good location and you have to do everything else well.”  The “everything else” could easily be the strong offsite business they conduct or the clever use of prime space the owners sublet to a coffee shop, which to the customer is a seamless part of the store.  front of store

Also bucking conventional wisdom, fiction is the strongest seller at Porter Square and they do very well with short story collections.  Again, owner Dave says “A lot of people are worried about the death of literature, but we just don’t see it. ”

This book store is a converted Dress Barn and the rows are wide and made for browsing. Layout schematics rest on a table in the back office, perhaps because the store is constantly adjusting itself to its customers demands.  Every year they add shelves and move sections around.

For browsing in a good looking, busy store, and for the only bookstore cafe I’ve seen visit Porter Square at the Sommerville Stop.


Published in: on May 11, 2009 at 1:22 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Porter Square Books is such a great bookstore!

  2. somerville–one “m.” and yes, porter square books is fabulous. i used to live about 10 minutes from it and would wander over sometimes for some obscure work of fiction that i was pretty sure they wouldn’t have–but there was always one copy tucked away.

  3. Porter Square Books is a great store! Just to keep readers informed – the store is in Somerville, at the Porter stop off the Red Line.

  4. […] Porter Square Books draws attention to two thought-provoking graphic novels:.Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli features architect who struggles to rebuild his life, and Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou’s Logicomix is a  philosophical story that “tells the story of Bertrand Russell’s quest to find a universal language of logic”. Read their reviews here. […]

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