Best of Boston

BEST Bookstore

2008 BEST Bookstore, North

Cornerstone Books


With tarry-awhile touches like overstuffed chairs, a fireplace, and a wee café offering bites from nearby bakery A&J King, this handsome independent shop encourages people to lose themselves in books. It’s also impressively devoted to luring them back out again,… read more»

2007 BEST Bookstore

Harvard Book Store


Sticking it to the corporate chains is most satisfying when you can do so without, you know, sacrificing anything. Seventy-five years after Boston native Mark Kramer opened a bookstore in Harvard Square, the supersize word-maven haven is still family-owned (by… read more»

2006 BEST Bookstore, New Books

Brookline Booksmith


Their fiction inventory is faultless; their nonfiction, superb. But it’s Brookline Booksmith’s book cellar that again propels this independent store to the top of the pile. If you’re going to browse, be sure you’ve got a whole afternoon to spar—it’s… read more»

2005 BEST Bookstore

Brookline Booksmith


It’s not easy for an independent bookstore to weather the perfect storm of Barnes & Noble, Borders, and; more local favorites have closed this year. But this shop takes on the giants and one-ups them with a crew of… read more»

2004 BEST Bookstore, Cape Cod

The Brewster Book Store


Don’t let the genteel nature of this shop, run by a pair of friendly sisters-in-law, mislead you: It has a large selection and a knowledgeable staff and hosts readings by major authors. (Linda Greenlaw appears this month to sign her… read more»

2004 BEST Bookstore

Brookline Booksmith


Everything from the aroma of newly bound books down to the creaky wooden floor makes Brookline Booksmith a cherished local institution. Its extensive selection ranges from bestsellers to children’s books and even greeting cards and funky gifts. It has a… read more»

2003 BEST Bookstore

Harvard Book Store


The Boston area is blessed with several world-class independent bookstores, all of them vibrant proof that the megachains are soulless vampires, slaves to the mass-market title and the Starbucks outlet. And while other local booksellers can match Harvard Book Store… read more»

2002 BEST Bookstore, Children's

Children’s Book Shop

Brookline Village

Our first choice for children’s books is your local public library. That said, this wee shop in Brookline is a close second for its thoughtful mix of classics (of the <em>Make Way for Ducklings, Charlotte’s Web,</em> and <em>Eloise</em> ilk) as… read more»

2002 BEST Bookstore

Harvard Book Store


Just can’t find that book you want? They’ll almost certainly have it here. One of the last of Harvard Square’s great independent bookstores, the Harvard Book Store is still run by the son of the man who founded it in… read more»

2002 BEST Bookstore, West

New England Mobile Book Fair


The up-and-comer in this category is the nearly four-year-old Newtonville Books, but while that otherwise admirable small shop considers its lack of organization quaint and quirky, we just think it’s confusing. The system at our pick, the family-owned New England… read more»