Our favorite bookstores for Small Business Saturday

Sharing Press staff’s favorite local indie bookstores for your holiday gifting needs

As we head into the holiday gifting season, it’s time to stock up on the best gifts for all the readers in your life. And on Small Business Saturday, what better place to complete your shopping list than at a local independent bookseller? Our own MIT Press staff have made this task all the easier by sharing their favorite local bookshops. Read on to discover our staff’s beloved independent booksellers, and if you’re looking for more, learn about the Press’s own Bookstore.

Dava Silvia, order 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

Zoë Kopp-Weber, publicist

“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, assistant production manager

“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 manager of library relations and sales

“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 Martsi, production designer

“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

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, senior 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, 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, acquisitions 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 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

Learn more about the MIT Press’s own indie bookstore