Fire shuts Trident Booksellers on Newbury Street

Trident Book

Photo by Trident.

Trident Booksellers and Cafe reports a small fire on its second floor around midnight has shut it indefinitely. Trident reports that while the fire itself did little damage, the water used to put it out caused significant damage.

The bookstore reports, however, it is continuing to sell books online as it works to get back in business on Newbury Street.

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Trident Pro and Con

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I never saw the big deal about this place being so hip and trendy. People wait in a long line to eat average food in the most cramped possible circumstances. I don't get it. Having said that, it is one of the few bookstores left in Boston and I hope it recovers soon.

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Voting is closed. 33

The café part is fine but I

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The café part is fine but I mean, it's a bookstore. Pretty weird to criticize them for having average food. OMG Barnes and Noble is awful, their coffee tastes burnt! ????

Trident isn't my #1 in the entire city for calm uncrowded browsing, but it was an anchor of my loops in undergrad and I have fond memories.

Ordered a couple books I'd otherwise be waiting on to come out in softcover to show support, I hope they come back soon.

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Voting is closed. 56

Here's a reality check: there

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Here's a reality check: there's no big deal and indie book stores aren't hip and trendy that's why most have gone out of business. Yes it is cramped
because they're not a chain like Barnes & Noble that can afford the spaciousness that you seem to require while shopping for books... how odd
that's a surprise to you. Do you expect fine dining at Trident? It's a book shop that sells booze and food so it can stay in business as a book store: stop whining!

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Voting is closed. 48

Barnes & Noble isn't doing well

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There are reports that they laid off all their full-time "permanent¨ staff.

Remember when Circuit City did that?

Remember Circuit City?

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Indy book stores

seem to be doing well in Harvard Square, Porter Square, Coolidge Corner, Newton Centre, and there's even a new one in Belmont Center. Most writers' tours hit one or more of these stores and ignore Barnes & Noble entirely.

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Voting is closed. 32

Half-true

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There still are some independent book stores in Harvard Square, like the Harvard Bookstore, the Grolier Poetry Bookshop, and Raven Books (a used book store), but the biggest book store in Harvard Square, the Coop, is a poorly-disguised Barnes & Noble.

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Actual reality: indies are doing great

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I am literally paid to work with independent bookstores (by an employer in Boston, by the way) and I can assure you that indies are doing well. In fact, they're a growing market segment for the publishing industry. And, anon's comment to the contrary, sales indicate that indie bookstores are both "hip" and "trendy" along with being classics.

While the issues with B&N are affecting the overall health of the retail bookselling landscape, sales at independent bookstores are growing. They were up in 2017, and more independent bookstores are opening in the U.S. (as they have been, year over year, for nearly a decade) and existing indies are opening new locations.

Here's what the American Bookselling Association reports, as of 2/14/18:

"The independent bookstore channel ended the year with a 2.6 percent increase over 2016. As of February 6, the year-to-date sales for independent bookstores, as reported to the weekly Indie Bestseller Lists, were up more than 4 percent over 2017."

Trident is one of my personal favorites, and they've worked hard in recent years to make improvements to their retail space and increase their event offerings. I'm looking forward to visiting them again soon, and meanwhile, I'll be buying a book or two from their website.

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I kindly beg to differ. There

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I kindly beg to differ. There used to be dozens in Boston and Cambridge a few decades ago and sadly only a handful have survived. You might not be old enough to know how awesome it used to be.

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I still miss the ...

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....Victor Hugo used bookstore that was across the street. I hope this place is back on it’s feet soon.

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Amazing Victor Hugo story

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In the pre-internet days of 1980, when the Victor Hugo bookstore was still a tiny place on Mass Ave, just around the corner from it's later Newbury Street location, I stopped in and noticed they ran a book search service. On a whim I asked them to search for a rare book I had never had any luck finding. Nothing came of it and I eventually forgot all about it. EIGHT YEARS LATER in 1988 they called me and said they had found it. They said "but we have to charge you a little more than the price you quoted you would pay". I said "What did I say I would pay?". "You said you'd pay $10, we have to charge you $25". I said "I'll be right over". Amazing!

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Voting is closed. 111

Yes!! Missing Victor Hugo

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Yes!! Missing Victor Hugo many years later, such a loss. Also, there was a mystery bookshop on Newbury a few blocks closer to the Public Garden. Years after that place closed I ended up working with the person who ran the shop.
Wishing Trident the best in getting back up and running. Was just there Wednesday picking up
birthday gifts; will check out their online offerings to be of support.

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Voting is closed. 58

The first time I walked into

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The first time I walked into Avenue Victor Hugo, I thought I had wandered into another dimension. I loved it so much. Plus they had a cat who would let you pick her up while you browsed.

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The cat!

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I had forgotten about her. I too spent many hours in that place and cherish some of the books I bought there.
I Googled them once and they are still in business somewhere way up north.

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Voting is closed. 38

They also host a lot of

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They also host a lot of literary and community events. I definitely hope they reopen soon.

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Those were the days. Avenue

Those were the days. Avenue Victor Hugo was great, had an amazing selection of books. There was a Booksmith, I believe, on Commonwealth Ave that was great for browsing. Waterstones, which went into the space previously occupied by the Exeter Street Theatre was a really fine store. Plenty of room to browse, had a large selection, three floors, I think, author readings,etc. When Rushdie was in hiding due to the fatwa, they had a copy of "The Satanic Verses" at the front of the store, to be signed by anyone who wanted to leave a message to him. Of all the long departed bookstores in Boston I miss that one the most.

I'm an old guy, so I think Boston was a more interesting place when there were more bookstores, record stores, and movie theatres, but those days are never coming back.

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Voting is closed. 46

Booksmith was on Boylston Street

They later changed their name to Buddenbrooks. I recall another Booksmith in Kenmore Square that may have had a Commonwealth Avenue address. Harvard Book Store also had a combination cafe and retail store on Newbury Street, not far from Trident. Globe Corner also had a travel bookstore near Copley Square for a while.

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Boylston Bookstores

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In the 60s and early 70s there were two, maybe three bookstores on Boylston on the blocks between Clarendon and Arlington. For the life of me I can't remember the names. They were dusty places, all with a row of records in the back divided by what looked like manila folders with a typewritten tab with the artists name. I bough Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" in one of those when it was a fairly new record. Talk about old! I always felt it was quirky places like this that made a city so interesting and great. Since everything has become upscale here now, things are so bland. Why do rich people have such bland taste in retail establishments? I might add that blah electronics establishments like Apple are no better.

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What rich people? It's mostly

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What rich people? It's mostly college students, tourists, and some office workers on Boylston. The stores and restaurants are mostly chains that you would find in any mall in any suburb.

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I loved Buddenbrooks!

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And the old Harvard Bookstore Cafe on Newbury (but I worked there, so I'm biased)

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The last holdout

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I think of trident as one of the last holdouts of a different time on Newbury Street, the last of the independent bookstores. They were my go to for last minute gifts and other than being the only book store in the area they had a decently wide selection. It was a convenient place for me to meet up with friends at really any point of the day. Importantly also have one of the last public bathrooms left in the area which is a bummer to me as someone who has kids, walking around shopping in that area is not feasible for long stretches without it. Bummer they’ll be missed.

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Voting is closed. 41

I feel sorry for the

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I feel sorry for the employees who will now be out of work for who knows how long. I highly doubt these are trustfund kids who can rely on Daddy's money to pay next month's rent; however, the real victim in all of this is the commenter who thinks Trident's café food does not meet his demanding palette's exquisite needs.

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Boston Used Bookstores

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I fondly remember The Book Clearing House, near the Public Garden, where in 1962 I perused tons of remainders and LPs.

It was the beginning of my own lifelong bookstore browsing.

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With so few local non-chain

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With so few local non-chain bookshops left in Boston, wishing Trident the best! Hope this is a wake-up call to those who mostly buy books on Amazon, or only buy books to read on their e-readers... you won't have these kinds of local shops any longer if you choose to support billionaire Jeff Bezos whose net worth is a staggering $123.8 billion USD. Not knocking Jeff Bezos, good for him for making that money, but you can either make him richer of you can physically walk into a bookshop, grap a cup of coffee and a sandwich and pick up a decent actual physical book to read.

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Voting is closed. 31

Love Trident!

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I moved to Boston from the West Coast about five years back. So I do not know about what the indie book store scene was like in this area before, but I found Trident to be a very inviting place to grab some coffee and Momo, browse books, and shop for funky gifts! No - I do not go there to get gourmet food, but I go there for the cool ambience of an independent book store. I have not bought a single thing from Amazon since 2010 when I bought a boo from them. I remember Bezos made an attempt to get a frivolous patent around 2000 and he eventually backed down because of uproar from the open source community. It left a really bad taste in me and have tried to actively avoid them. And now that they are on grabyourwallet.org, I avoid them (including Whole Foods) at all cost.

I sincerely hope Trident gets up and running in the near future. I am going to buy some books from their online store in the mean time to show my support. I feel deeply sorry for the employees who do not have a job now :( I am wondering if we can do something as a community to help them.

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