Boston is as rich in the fine arts as it is in its historic locations, and the city has become a haven for those who enjoy art, literature, music, and history. Much of the city's literature is enjoyed through its various bookstores, many of which are privately owned. These shops have curated lists of novels, scholarly works, and poetry that transcends the typical book shop, which is why they're so magical to peruse.

Those seeking a break from the busy city streets of Boston or even a glimpse into its literary past should check out the best independently-owned bookstores in the city.


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Brattle Bookshop

Brattle Bookshop is one of the most well-known bookstores in the entire city of Boston, and it's arguably one of the best in the state. The store itself has a history that predates many other buildings around it, dating back to 1825. Brattle Bookshop spans a distance of three floors, two featuring used books from any genre a book lover could possibly imagine. If visitors aren't getting lost in this section for hours, then they'll surely be lost on the third floor among the rare and antiquarian book section. In the lot next door, visitors can find even more novels to sort their way through.

Brookline Booksmith

Bibliophiles can find Brookline Booksmith in Coolidge Corneris and, according to Where Traveler, it's still one of the strongest independent bookstores to this day. This unique bookstore opened its doors for the first time in 1961 and still encourages the fine art of 'browsing' its unique and carefully curated selection of literature. This bookstore specializes in its genre-based organizational system and its ability to sell affordable paperback books.

Trident Booksellers And Café

Coffee and books go hand-in-hand, akin to something such as popcorn and movies. For book lovers, Trident Booksellers and Café is the closest to heaven on earth that one can find. With an impressive café from which to order a delicious cup of coffee or a small meal, taking a few hours to sit down and read a book almost seems like a necessity. The bookstore is home to a variety of genres, and the robust scent of coffee throughout is just a bonus.

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Havard Book Store

There are actually two Harvard book stores in Boston; however, the Harvard Book Store is in no relation to the ivy league college. While some might confuse it with The Coop, which is the official bookstore of Harvard, the Harvard Book Store has been independently owned since 1932. This book store looks as inviting on the outside as it genuinely is on the inside, and is found in the charming area of Havard Square. Visitors will find both new and used books and a good balance of author-fueled events, making it somewhat of a community hub for book lovers in the city.

Commonwealth Books

Commonwealth Books isn't as easy to find as many others, however, the search will lead book lovers to great things. Somewhat hidden down an alleyway in Downtown Crossing, this bookstore is somewhat of a magical grab-bag for books that fall under practically any genre. It could be mistaken for a college professor's academic quarters; however, a deeper search reveals that there are simply just so many works of literature here that they're stocked in every free space possible. The store itself requires several hours, at least, to sort through, and it's well worth it for the treasure that one might find there.

Papercuts J.P.

In Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood, visitors can find the wonderful world of Papercuts J.P. This bookstore is woman-owned and classified as an Indie bookstore, which makes it a well-loved part of the Boston community. The owner, Kate Layte, has 10+ years of industry knowledge behind her and offers literary works that aren't found in many other shops. Additionally, the consignment program at Papercuts J.P. allows for many independently- and self-published authors to showcase their literary talents.

More Than Words

More Than Words is a nonprofit, and that's not the only unique thing about this incredible bookstore. Not only does the shop offer unique literary options across the board, but it also hires youth employees who are in foster care or are homeless. The goal of the bookstore is to teach young adults what it takes to run a business while giving them the life skills needed to hone and create their own successes. Therefore, many of the employees range in age from 16 to 24 and help with things such as store-run events, the running of retail management, and wholesale aspects of the business. It truly is more than words and speaks to the impact of the written word, as a whole.

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