Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Porter Square Books - Cambridge, MA

Porter Square Books - Cambridge, MA

(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

When you visit Cambridge, MA in the Boston area you quickly realize this is a major book area.  Bookstore lovers and book lovers would be strongly encouraged to visit this community, a mecca of literature.  Porter Square Books will be near the top of your list and it seemed to me every aspect of this place is top notch, starting with the owners David and Dina, and the staff who work there.

The day of my visit felt very harried but this is a good thing because things were so darn busy.  David told me a lot about the store and the business and did so patiently while helping customers, taking calls, and conducting transactions.  Business was great on this day and business is going great all the time.  This one-level store features a nice mix of sidelines with a great book inventory, including a super children's section.  There is a wonderful café in the front of the store who shares the rent with Porter Square Books, a great partnership.  David thinks that a café is important for any independent and from my observations I agree.  The store is extremely active with author events and hosts most of them on site.  The customer base is largely local and very devoted.  When you combine all of these characteristics with a loyal staff you have one terrific independent bookstore.

The people I met here couldn't have been nicer.  Porter Square Books has been here for 10 years but only recently under the ownership of David and Dina.  Julie does a great job with the sidelines and Dale was one of the previous owners and is still here as one of the book buyers.  There is a lot of talent working here at Porter Square Books and it shows.  These people really know their stuff and it's not surprising they're successful.  They're all also very encouraged by the trend independent bookstores are experiencing and are optimistic about the future.  I'm finding on my journeys many other indie people who are in agreement with this.

Compared to other metropolitan bookstores this place is pretty accessible.  If you drive there is a large parking lot where you can park for free.  I would discourage driving however in this area and suggest taking the train, orange line to the Porter stop.

The only thing they don't have here is an independent bookstore cat.  But Maxie the dog is here and I think this is who really runs the show.  If you're in a funk, what could be better than coming to Porter Square Books, finding a great book, and petting one friendly dog?  Dismal day be gone!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

RECENTLY FINISHED:  End Of Days, James L. Swanson.  One of the best non-fiction books I've read.  Outstanding.  Story of the days leading up to and after the JFK assassination.  An absolutely gripping account of this American tragedy.

CURRENTLY READING:  My Dad Is Fat, James Gaffigan.  Needed to read something totally different after End Of Days.  This is it.  Hilarious!

Have a window seat at the café inside Porter Square Books.  

Just inside the front door the café is located directly to the left.  

View looking straight back through the store from the front door.  

View to the right upon entering.  

20% off the staff picks.  A great display.  

Julie does a great job here with her variety and mixture of sidelines.  

Greeting cards.  

Many indies have goofy socks and I love how they're displayed here.  Like hanging laundry!  

A place to discuss your next book club buy.  

From the rear of the store looking toward the front entrance.  

Low on money?  No problem, you can still get a book!  

Lots of magazines to choose from.  

Part of the super children's section and lots of stuffed animals.  

More sidelines, including games.  

David & Dina, the owners, with the CEO, Maxie. Maxie was very busy on the day I visited and it took us awhile to get him to stop in order to pose for this picture.   I love this picture!

Julie checks in with Maxie and you'll notice she's getting ready to submit her monthly reports for his review.  

Owners David & Dina, with yours truly.  Thanks for a great visit to another outstanding indie.  


  1. Bonjour Robert !

    My name is Catherine and I am lucky enough to have been born in Paris, France where I lived the first 22 years of my life.
    I "discovered" you on the Harvard Bookstore newsletter, which I get regularly
    (I now live in Cambridge, MA).
    I thought you might enjoy looking at a couple of my 2012 Paris bookstores photographs at :
    I have more (among which the amazing "Shakespeare And Company").

    BON VOYAGE you lucky (and smart) guy !

  2. Bonjour Catherine et merci beaucoup! I haven't gone international yet with this project but thanks to followers like you with great suggestions I'll have to! I've actually been to Shakespeare in Paris a couple of years ago but that was before I was actively blogging these visits. You live in a great area for bookstores! Thanks again for following and the nice comments. Bob