Porter 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.
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.