Saturday, November 15, 2014

New England Mobile Book Fair - Newton Highlands, MA

New England Mobile Book Fair - Newton Highlands, MA
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Ok, this place is frickin' huge.  Ginormous.  Overwhelming in every way.  But Indie Bob, we've heard you say this before.  You're always telling us about the big indies.  Come on, how big can it really be?  Well, bigger than a warehouse big.  Yes, it looks like one of the largest warehouses you've ever seen and inside it's a bookstore.  But there's also a warehouse for the bookstore inside.  Think of it as a warehouse within a warehouse.  I've been to Powell's and The Strand, two of the largest in size, and of all the indies I've visited this one ranks up there in sheer size and volume of inventory.  It boasts a million book inventory but that doesn't count much of the overstock that hasn't been inventoried.  When you add that in, the inventory is pushing 2 million.  If this were a donut place I would have had a blank stare in my eyes and there would be glaze and drool all over my face.

The original NEMBF was a lady in a station wagon selling books back in the 60s.  What a microscopic beginning in comparison to today.  The owner now is Tom L. and he's relatively new, having bought this business in 2011.  The store claims to be the largest indie in New England and if it isn't I can't imagine anything bigger.

This place has everything.  This brief essay and few pictures can't begin to relate it all.  All books imaginable and all new, including many remainders.  Cookbooks are very strong here and local chefs not only browse the books but appear here as authors at store events.  The prices are great and always 20% off.  There are also ultra deals scattered around the store where books will be as low as a dollar.  Tom takes pride in the bargains offered here and paperbacks can be obtained for less than the price on Amazon.  The store does lots of business with college students, schools, and libraries.  There are staff members here employed specifically to work with school sales.  Books can be purchased online and those sales are showing growth each year under Tom's ownership.  There are also lots of sidelines here, especially for kids.  Overall, the store is still operating in the red but they are closing the gap.  The sidelines are a portion of the store that is showing a profit.  There are frequent author events held here including 2000+ people to get a signed edition of Bobby Orr's new book, Orr: My Story.  Who wouldn't want all those people coming through the store and maybe buying another book?!

Most indies I can get the gist of the store when I walk in.  One room, maybe two, maybe a second level.  No need to show me around, I'll figure it out.  Not here.  Tom found me and took me on a thorough tour of the entire store.  People, that wasn't a 5 minute tour!  He showed me everything from shipping, the loading dock, the countless overstock areas, all the different sections and genres.  Head to toe, bowels and all.  And halfway through my personalized tour Tom says, "You haven't seen anything yet!"

The name of the store was confusing to me until I understood it really wan't some kind of bookmobile. If you can't find a book in this incredible store, you're not trying.  And if you're in New England and haven't been here, carve out half a day.  That might get you through 2 or 3 aisles.  If you hurry.  Don't miss this terrific giant.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Boy In The Suitcase, Lene Kaaberbøl & Agnete Friis.  Crime thriller.  This is a good one.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Truth Be Told, Hank Phillippi Ryan.  Tell No One, Harlan Coben.

This is a parking lot.  I know it's only a parking lot but for someone on a bookstore journey this is manna from heaven. Lots of spaces and all free.  

This is a view of only half the store.  I couldn't get far enough back to get the whole store in!  (and more of the parking lot!)

This is the unassuming entrance.  For book-lovers, this will be like going down the rabbit hole!  

Some of the unique sidelines right inside the front door.  

Looking to the right of the store after entering.  Some of you will recognize The Indie Bob Spot's graphic artist and tech support team, Fran & Cheryl M.  

Lots of greeting cards.  

Great prices.  

One of the many long aisles of books.  

You can find these all over the store.  

Looking for some Hemingway?  Here's your room!

More great bargains.  

Great display of new publications.  

Gift wrapping area.  

JoAnn on the left and Tom, the owner.  

Tom gave me a great tour and as you can see I'm having trouble absorbing all the info!  

Children's books in foreign language.  How many stores have a section like this?!

This was the bathroom before the bookstore took the property.  As you can see, the Nixon books have found a home here!

A fraction of the overstock.  

Still only a fraction of the overstock.  You have no idea!

Great sidelines for kids.  


  1. Don't tell everyone, it might get spoilt! Love this place, and Newbury Comics just a few units down. Needham Street is the best!

  2. When you go back to NEMBF, take a friend, buy a book, and look up Tom and tell him "hi." Great guy at a great bookstore! Bob

  3. Thanks for the great review Bob. The staff and their incredible book knowledge is the icing on this big book cake

  4. You're welcome, Tom, and thanks for the nice comments. A great bookstore with a great staff to work with. What more could you ask for??!! Keep up the great work and continued success. And keep selling books! Bob