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Old 07-25-2007, 08:27 AM   #1
statler
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Bookstores in Boston

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Originally Posted by Ron Newman
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Originally Posted by JimboJones
What's to miss? [...] The Barnes & Noble? (Oh, right, closed because no one went to it.) The HMV? (Oh, right, closed because no one went to it.)
HMV exited the entire US market. Harvard Square still suffers from their closing. I don't know that the closing of its Downtown Crossing store had anything to with the amount of business it was doing there.
^^ Nor, I believe, did B&N. I seem to remember them saying they want to stay but the rent was too high. Supposedly they are still looking for a new space in the area.
Every time I went in there, there was a good crowd.

EDIT: Edited for context.
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:25 AM   #2
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B&N's store was seriously outdated, not having changed much since it opened around 1976. It was the only B&N without a cafe, and looked pretty shabby compared to the shiny Borders a couple blocks to the north.
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Newman
B&N's store was seriously outdated, not having changed much since it opened around 1976. It was the only B&N without a cafe, and looked pretty shabby compared to the shiny Borders a couple blocks to the north.
Really? I alway preferred going to B&N over Borders. It had warm, bookish feel to it. Borders is far too mall-like and sterile for a bookstore.
Maybe I'm just old.
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:44 AM   #4
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Ah, but better the Brattle (or even Antiquarian Books) if one seeks the "old bookey" feeling in Downtown Crossing.

Anyway, the appearance of the store rarely seemed to affect business; it was always crowded in that B&N.

Maybe it'll find a berth in the new Filene's tower, with a plaza of its own out front to compete with Borders'...
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by czsz
Ah, but better the Brattle (or even Antiquarian Books) if one seeks the "old bookey" feeling in Downtown Crossing.
Or the used bookstore in the basement of Old South Meeting House, whose name has changed a couple of times over the past few years. Right now I think it is a branch of Commonwealth Books.
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:49 AM   #6
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^^ True about the Brattle, et al, but they don't sell new books...

Yeah, I'm still holding out hope that B&N will land in the new Filene's building. Hopefully in the old section with some of the original interior details on display.
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:52 AM   #7
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Or the used bookstore in the basement of Old South Meeting House
That's Antiquarian...last time I checked, at least:



Is Commonwealth Books the store in Kenmore Square? Interesting the multibranched expansion of used bookstores...the Strand in New York recently opened a large new branch itself.
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:56 AM   #8
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Are there any interior details still worth saving at Filene's?

Commonwealth Books now has three locations. Besides Old South and the original on Boylston Street (near the Colonial Theatre), there's also one in the Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square.

What the Old South store looks like now:


Rodney's Books (Cambridge and Brookline, not downtown) is also a small chain of used bookstores, and I think Boston Book Annex (at Audubon Circle) has or had another store in Jamaica Plain.
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:59 AM   #9
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Is Rodney's the store in Central? Where is its other location?

There used to be a fantastic used bookstore on Newbury Street with cats running around inside it...I forget the name. It moved out to JP when rents skyrocketed...is it still there?
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Old 07-25-2007, 10:04 AM   #10
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Rodney's is in Central Square, Cambridge. The other local one is in Coolidge Corner. I thought there was at least one more, somewhere on Cape Cod, but their web site doesn't list it.

You're thinking of Avenue Victor Hugo Books on Newbury Street. That's been closed for a few years now.

If this discussion continues it should probably be broken off into a different thread.
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Old 07-25-2007, 10:09 AM   #11
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I agree we ought to have a new thread for this. Van?

The news about Avenue Victor Hugo is sad...I preferred it far and away to Trident (though the latter is hardly a terrible place). I guess it wasn't something that was likely to survive in the no man's land between Heath Street and JP Centre.

I have to say, closures notwithstanding, the plentitude of bookstores is one thing Boston ought to be proud of. When I moved to New York, I was shocked by the relative paucity of independent bookstore options. Other US cities simply can't compare, and even in London and Paris good used book browsing is generally limited to a neighborhood or two.

And we haven't even brought up Harvard Square!
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Old 07-25-2007, 10:12 AM   #12
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Maybe we're thinking of different places then, because I don't recall Avenue Victor Hugo moving, just closing. Their web site remains open for business.

Van, can you create a "Bookstores" thread somewhere (probably "General") and move all of this there?
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Old 07-25-2007, 10:22 AM   #13
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You appear to be right after some googling...maybe that was a planned move that didn't work out, or maybe it was indeed a different place. It's clear the owner is very cynical about the future of independent bookselling and books in general, although the survival of other stores seems to belie him.
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Old 07-25-2007, 11:51 AM   #14
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Just to provide context for those joining us late: this started as a discussion in Downtown Crossing but was broken off and moved here as it became a more general discussion of local bookstores.
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