Its door was first opened to customers in 1825, and since 1949, Brattle Book Shop has been owned by the Gloss family: first by George, and now by his son Ken. The three-story brick building is packed with more than 250,000 books, maps, prints, postcards, and other vintage paper collectibles.
On the first two floors — and on rollable carts in the courtyard outside — you’ll find shelves overflowing with used books in all categories. The uppermost level is devoted to rare and antiquarian books, including first editions and volumes with fine leather bindings.
You’ll recognize the shop right away. There’s a giant pencil mounted over the doorway,. In the courtyard, where you can idly browse carts of used books, is guarded by portraits of famous authors like Toni Morrison, Franz Kafka, W. B. Yeats, and Isaac Asimov.
Owner Ken Gloss lectures about antiquarian books to library groups and other bookish folks throughout New England. His reach has expanded with the podcast Brattlecast, which offers a ‘firsthand look at secondhand books.’
The shop buys used books every weekday and offers bookshelf decorating services for movies, theater sets, and homes.
Fun fact: When we were prepping to move from Vermont to Prague, we packed up all of our books and sold them to the Brattle Book Shop. So when you pick up a book there, you could be reading one of ours!
To learn more about the history of the Brattle Book Shop, enjoy this interview with owner Ken Gloss — there’s a story about a woman who likes to eat the pages of books!
For opening hours and other shop info, visit the Brattle Book Shop website.
Top image courtesy of Robert Laliberte.
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