The MIT Press bookstore

MIT Press staff share their love of indie bookstores

Spreading our enthusiasm for independent sellers this Independent Bookstore Day

Independent Bookstore Day is one of our favorite holidays here at the MIT Press—and understandably so. Anyone who has stepped inside a neighborhood bookstore and taken in the comforting smell of old books, greeted a passionate staff member, or encountered a friendly bookstore cat can vouch for the integral role these stores play in their communities. To celebrate, members of the MIT Press staff share what independent bookstores mean to them.

Dava Silvia, Subscription Fulfillment Assistant

“When you walk into an independent bookstore, you are walking into the heart of booklovers; a passionate exchange between booksellers and patrons. Even if you never speak a word, there’s the unspoken conversation that inspires thought.”

Favorite bookstore: Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, MA

Zoe Kopp-Weber, Publicity Associate

“I’m always quick to check out the indie bookstore of any place I visit, but the one adjacent to my hometown truly epitomizes the character and compassion that these places embody for many of us. We know the election year was fraught and tense, and in Ohio it was especially so. That said, our beloved indie was a rallying spot, a safe space, a political statement; I’ve known the owner for my whole life, her beautiful ‘hello’ loops and embraces you as soon as you walk in. It’s home.”

Favorite bookstore: The Village Bookstore in Garrettsville, OH

Kate Elwell, Senior Production Coordinator for Books

“My local independent bookstore is a place where I can peruse what new books have come out, find a present for a friend, attend an author talk, discover new kids’ books with my kid, get a cookie snack, AND bump into friends and colleagues. It’s a destination to gather, explore, spend time together, and learn.”

Favorite bookstore: Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA

Amy Harris, Senior Marketing Manager

“I grew up going to independent bookstores, worked in one in college, and called on them for  years as an in-house sales rep for a university press. The joy of shopping in an independent bookstore—getting to know the staff, making new literary discoveries, and soaking up the atmosphere—is unique to every store. They so often reflect the heart and soul of a community, and one of my favorite things to do whenever I travel is to go to a local indie in each city or town, if possible, and buy an intriguing book about the place, a work by a local author, or a surprising book that comes highly recommended by the staff.”

Favorite bookstore: I’ve never met an indie bookstore I didn’t like!

Jay McNair, Production Coordinator

“Independent bookstores mean community engagement with books and their ideas, great local events, easy access to good reads and book discovery, staff recommendations, a place to hide out on a rainy day, places to check out when traveling afar… I also like the ones that sell cookies.”

Favorite bookstore: Raven Used Books in Cambridge, MA

Ashavari Baral, Marketing and Publicity Assistant

“Booksellers are people who take joy in connecting reader to writer. Independent bookstores are invaluable and unique and each one has something special about them. They support core values of community, creativity, and contact.”

Favorite bookstore: Trident Booksellers in Boston, MA

Victoria Hindley, Acquisitions Editor

“Independent bookstores are a balm to the mind and soul.”

Favorite bookstore: Grolier Poetry Bookshop in Cambridge, MA

Bob Prior, Executive Acquisitions Editor

“We are very lucky to have an excellent independent bookstore, Water Street Bookstore, in my small hometown of Exeter, NH. Not only have they been there for orders for the past year but they even deliver to the house. They know me and they know what I like to read and always take the time to discuss new books and new authors I might like. They have also long been supporters of the men’s book club to which I belong.”

Favorite bookstore: Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, NH

Jermey Matthews, Acquisitions Editor

My daughters are bookworms. Thankfully, there’s a small indie bookstore near where we live (The Silver Unicorn in Acton, MA). We love to swing by there whenever we can; it’s one of our favorite things to do together.”

Favorite bookstore: Belmont Books in Belmont, MA

Susan Buckley, Associate Acquisitions Editor

“Well-curated bookstores are places of wonder and discovery, of both comfort and challenge. One of my favorite things to do in a new city is track down a locally-loved bookstore and explore out from there on foot—although that usually means I end up carrying books around with me!”

Favorite bookstore: Pandemonium Books & Games for science fiction, and the incomparable Harvard Book Store, both in Cambridge, MA

Levi Rubeck, Senior Journals Production Coordinator

“Too often in this life I am fooled to think I know what I want. Independent bookstores disabuse me of this fantasy, with the best ones setting me loose in the stacks to stumble across surprising and incredible gems through pure magnetism. They also sometimes have cats, which rules.”

Favorite bookstore: Raven Used Books in Cambridge, MA

Marcy Ross, Production Editor

“When Copper Dog Books opened near my home in Beverly, MA, it was a fabulous addition to our community. It’s my go-to place for gifts (and great recommendations from the booksellers).”

Favorite bookstore: Copper Dog Books in Beverly, MA

Bill Smith, Director of Trade Publishing and Sales

Aside from being dear partners and customers for our books, independent bookstores are our community centers. They’re forums for culture and learning and offer us—parents and children alike—a place to grow.”

Favorite bookstore: Belmont Books in Belmont, MA

Anthony Zannino, Editorial Assistant

“Economically, independent bookstores provide local jobs and reinvest profits in the local community, unlike the large corporate chains or the online superstore. Culturally, independent bookstores provide a space for the spontaneous exchange of ideas and socializing among local residents who might otherwise never cross paths, the kind of public space that has mostly disappeared from the commercial landscape.”

Favorite bookstore: Papercuts J.P. in Jamaica Plain, MA

Katie Helke, Acquisitions Editor

“I think of Porter Square Books as my town square. It’s where I unexpectedly and happily bump into old friends, colleagues, and neighbors, and it’s full of exciting opportunities—things to learn, places to travel, etc.—all in the form of beautiful books. Porter also made 5 a.m. wake-ups with a newborn a bit more bearable. I’d put my son in the sling and walk to the bookstore to drink a cup of tea and browse the books as the sun came up.”

Favorite bookstore: Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA

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