A New Harvard Book Store
An introduction to the upcoming bookstore at the Prudential Center.
By Hannah Eaton
Photo by Ria Huang
When the Barnes & Noble bookstore at the Prudential Center closed this summer, book lovers across Boston were devastated. Citing an unresolved issue with the landlord, the bookstore was gone with just a few months notice.
Although there is a plethora of small, independent bookstores in Boston and the surrounding areas, the Prudential Barnes & Noble was an important big-box bookstore that serviced the community for twenty years.
But, when a door closes, a window might just open.
Harvard Book Store announced it will open a second location in the same space as Barnes & Noble at the Prudential Center. A specific date has not been set, but it is slated to open later this year.
Titled “A New Chapter,” this addition to the Harvard Book Store empire is currently hidden behind temporary walls, decorated with book outlines, teasing the passersby for what is to come.
The original Harvard Book Store first opened in 1932 at a small location on John F. Kennedy Street in Cambridge, according to their website. The bookstore did not acquire its current three-storefront spread until 1987. In 1980, they opened the city’s first bookstore cafe, the Harvard Book Store Cafe on Newbury Street in Boston; however, it closed in 1994.
With a focus on carefully curated “new, used, and remaindered books,” the Harvard Book Store has been a staple of Cambridge book selling for almost a century. The new store is expected to continue in the same direction, exciting fans of the bookstore’s first location.
This new location is a big win for the Harvard Book Store, the Prudential Center, and for customers. The Prudential Center is visited by 60,000 people a day, and the bookstore is sure to bring in new business, making new and used books accessible to downtown shoppers.
An expansion into Boston, especially at such a prominent location, has been long-awaited for those unable or unwilling to make the trek across the Charles River.
“I can’t wait to be able to go to a Harvard Book Store without going all the way to Cambridge,” said Ellie Sullivan (Sargent ‘26).
Harvard Book Store is a locally owned and operated business, a feat that will continue with its upcoming expansion.
Many Bostonians are pleased that an independent, local chain is taking the place of a nationwide chain like Barnes & Noble, especially in the widely traveled location of the Prudential Center.
“I feel much better about giving my money to a Boston-based store than to a company that has previously overtaken independent retailers,” said Ash Duong (COM ‘25).
For now, those of us looking for a good read at the Prudential Center will be left standing on the other side as the construction wraps up.
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