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Harvard Square losing a bookstore

The owner of Raven Used Books announced today he's shutting down his Church Street store this summer - and re-opening in Shelburne Falls, which is somewhat west (and north) of Worcester.

John Petrovato writes that after 18 years running Raven in the former cultural hotspot of Harvard Square, he and his family are moving to southern Vermont.

The years of business at this location has been amazing and I cherish all the strong relationships built and support of the community.

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Comments

I'm sure another bank will occupy that storefront in no time.

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Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

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"A song about being possessed by the ghost of the 19th century author (and more) makes it to the final in Liverpool."

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/austria-edgar-allan-poe-eurovisio...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMmLeV47Au4

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One time when Magoo was visiting jolly ole England Magoo was walking in the country side. While walking incredibly a raven swooped down and landed on Magoo’s scally cap. Magoo was so surprised that Magoo fell down on Magoo’s tummy. Said raven then proceeded to peck Magoo in the bum bum. Magoo.

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They used to be all over Harvard Square, plus a few in Inman Square, Central Square, and on the way towards Porter Square. I can't think of a single one remaining besides Raven.

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The Harvard Bookstore sells used books in their basement.

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It's been a while since I was on that block but last I saw Rodney's in Central was still there.

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Man, do I miss Rodney's. You never knew what you would find in that place.

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Boomerangs in Central Square has some used books.

It’s too bad Rodney’s wasn’t able to find another space.

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Bryn Mawr used bookstore is still in Cambridge, on Huron Avenue.

The internet has drastically changed the business of used books. You can search for the titles you want in thousands of online stores, rather than taking your chances of what your local store might have in stock. The stores that survive are the ones that have low operating costs and good online presence. They can operate out of a warehouse and not even have a retail storefront.

Shelburne Falls, with its quirky Main Street and low rents, would be ideal.

The Bryn Mawr store is a nonprofit, charitable organization, which keeps its costs low by using primarily volunteer staff, and relying strictly on donations of inventory. Plus they own their building (and rent part of it to another tenant), so rising rents won't affect them. There are, or have been, several other Bryn Mawr used bookstores elsewhere in the country, but they're all independent, and not a chain. All profits are donated to Bryn Mawr College.

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You can search for the titles you want in thousands of online stores, rather than taking your chances of what your local store might have in stock

For many of us, the joy of used bookstores is that you never know what you'll find. I don't think I ever went to a used bookstore looking for a specific book. Maybe a specific author. I lived a few blocks from a used bookstore in high school and loved popping by after school to see what interesting find I could get for next-to-nothing.

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I agree with mg absolutely. I'm just reporting on a nationwide (international?) trend which has "disrupted the industry".

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While Shelburne Falls is certainly north and west of Worcester, it’s even farther out than that.

If you find yourself there, Hearty Eats is a must-try.

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If you're out there during peach season, stop by Apex orchards for awesome peaches. I never knew peaches could be so good.

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I saw reports earlier that the February deep-freeze had killed off any likelihood of New England peaches this year.

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All the local orchards are saying we got skunked. Lots of other good stuff though! Good places to eat: Gypsy Apple and the Blue Rock in Shelburne Falls, Wells Provisions in Charlemont. Shelburne Falls Cork is a great wine store. And Red Dahlia at the end of the Bridge of Flowers for crepes and gelato.

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but cool to hear that they're opening up elsewhere. If they think there's a market where they can keep their bookstore alive, that's certainly better than just closing.

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It will however never lose its character.

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Seven Stars in Central Square sells both new and used books. It's primary focus is New Age, metaphysical, spiritual. An all around great place.

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Ah, I see there will be some competition for my favorite used book nook in West Massachusetts. Can’t wait to visit both in the fall.

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There is already a used bookstore there that also sells local art. It’s a charming little town with a surprising lot to do there. I hope it is a good move for the Raven.

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I believe the basement space is still dedicated to used books?

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Is a pale reflection of what it once was. COVID lockdown was the last straw. Terrible damage to small businesses, great for big business consolidation. The MBTA New Normal, more mentally ill homeless doesn't help.

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