Bookstores in Harvard Square - The COOP

Bookstores in Harvard Square

Bookstores in Harvard Square - The COOP
Photo by dieter_weinelt on Flickr

The Good

The COOP – Harvard’s largest bookstore, it’s the first thing you’ll see walking out of the T station’s main entrance / exit. Essentially a Barnes & Noble in disguise, The COOP is four massive floors of new books, connected to a second building that holds textbooks, academic supplies, and Harvard University souvenirs + apparel. Great variety, has a cafe with free wifi, and holds regular author events.

The Cheap

Raven Used Books – Great selection of academic books, poetry, literature, and more intelligent reading. All at used prices. Not “cheap” compared to mass-produced paperbacks, but compared to the hefty price tags these books come with when new, a real deal.

Almost Banned in Harvard Square Booksellers – Also known as “those tables and boxes of books on the sidewalk”. Every book is $2. The owner, Ken O’Brien, has faced quite a struggle to be able to sell books here, but he’s persevered, making a living for himself and his family through this used book sidewalk stand.

And The Awesome

Harvard Bookstore – The best bookstore in Harvard Square, hands-down. Not as large as the COOP, but it still offers a massive selection of new books, plus a used & bargain books section downstairs. Harvard Bookstore regularly brings in extraordinary authors for talks and readings. Some of the other awesome things about Harvard Bookstore:

  • Print-on-demand book machine. In about four minutes, their machine can print a 300-page paperback. 3.6 million books are available for printing through Google and public domain works, and it’s a good option for local authors to do a small run (or single printing). Makes for really nice personalized gifts.
  • Same-day bike delivery service, through most of Somerville and Cambridge. They literally bike a book over to you.
  • Really good recommendations. The staff picks selection is great, and there’s even better curation for their signed 1st edition club.

Grolier's - Harvard Square Poetry BookstoreGrolier’s – The oldest poetry bookstore in the United States, Grolier’s has nothing but poetry books. Right around the corner from Harvard Bookstore, this is the must-go store for poets in Boston.

Schoenhof’s Foreign Books – Great for the language learning and multicultural among us, Schoenhof’s has the largest collection of foreign books in all of North America. With The Globe Corner Bookstore closed, this is now the best spot to browse the world.

Lame Duck Books – Rare, antique, and exotic books, this place is a true bibliophiles dream. While this is definitely the go-to spot for extremely valuable, serious book purchases, there are also good options for some affordable gift purchases for the book-lovers in your life.