Harvard Book Store, Cambridge

4.4
#20 of 45 in Things to do in Cambridge
Bookworms really shouldn't miss Harvard Book Store, established in the 1930s. Long the center of intellectual activity in the area, the store isn't affiliated with the renowned university but remains a favorite of both students and professors. You'll find plenty of newly printed fiction here, as well as bargain and used books. To visit Harvard Book Store on your trip to Cambridge, use our Cambridge vacation trip planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
83 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • July 31, 2017
    Very impressive bookstore. Just across the street from Harvard 's gate to the university. I went in to ask about a specific book and unfortunately they were out of stock but promised to get it in two ...  more »
  • July 19, 2017
    Choose between the first floor with full sections of hardbound and paperback recent sellers with good discounts and in-store reviews, OR-- go downstairs for remaindered and second-hand books. Big chil...  more »
  • July 10, 2017
    I love a free afternoon in Harvard and this is a favorite haunt. Make sure to check out the discount section for a great variety of books at equally great prices.  more »
Google
  • April 24, 2017
    DO NOT GO HERE. I just left the store... I was so excited to be visiting Cambridge, for its academia as well as fun businesses I expect from a college town (living in one myself). I tend to go out of my way to spend a substantial amount of money at independent bookstores, especially when traveling, because I have worked at our local store and understand how much it is appreciated due to chains tend to be easier to locate, sometimes cheaper, etc. The draw of independent book stores is the knowledgeable service, the aiding of a community, and bonding with other book lovers. I experienced none of that here, which was a surprise of such a well-known, long-running store. Everyone I came in contact with was either disinterested or outright rude to both myself and my mother. I approached someone to ask about a local section and was waved in a general direction with no directions or further help and then when I returned to the information desk asking for help with a specific title was met with an eye roll and sigh. It wasn't dead but it wasn't overly busy to the point where there was a line but even if there had been-- that isn't an excuse to treat a customer that way. I wasn't attempting to bond or mentioning my working at an indie store. I simply stated I was looking for a specific title and the author's last name. They remarked that they didn't have it but could order it; I said thank you but that I was traveling and again was met with an attitude. They suggested I look downstairs in their used section and once down there I was met with no help either. I have been to Shakespeare and Company in Paris (famous as well), and even with the stereotype of the French not liking Americans or tourists in general, still got the same treatment I expect from an independent store. Huge disappointment overall. A student directed me to try The Coop and the staff there was fantastic. They didn't have the book either but were helpful and friendly. Take your business there!
  • April 4, 2017
    Love love love it!!! There are so many amazing books! I spent almost an hour and a half there because I just couldn't decide what to get! P. S. There's a 'secret' part downstairs where used books are shelved. The prices are great, and I even found some of the books that I wanted to get upstairs for discounted prices!!
  • March 20, 2017
    This is a really cool used bookstore. It's crammed with books inside and then has an awesome section outside as well. If anything it's good for pictures.My favorite thing in there though was the bin of vintage postcards for $3 a piece. A bunch of the ones that were written on and postmarked were really old, I saw one from 1908. Awesome.
  • July 8, 2017
    A classic of the remaining bookstores in the area remains a great browsing experience and equally great for its live author reading events.
  • April 1, 2017
    This is an outstanding example of the friendliness and literary ambience of our independent bookstores. Great for browsing. It's downstairs area devoted to used books and also publishers' remainders is always a source of unexpected finds.

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Where to stay in Cambridge

As the home of two renowned universities, Cambridge caters mainly to the families of current or prospective students. You can stay near the university campuses by booking your room at a student-oriented bed and breakfast or guesthouse, which offer simple, comfortable lodging for a fraction of the price charged by the big chains. If you don't mind paying more and wish to stay near the city's major cultural attractions, consider a hotel just across the Charles River from downtown Boston.
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