In Photos: Porter Square Books

By Jennifer Z. Liang
By Jennifer Z. Liang

Hannah Robinson browses the arts section. An employee at the bookstore for the past four years, she now interacts with shop regulars on a first name basis and enjoys helping newcomers find their next favorite read.

A table with staff-picked novels sits near the entrance of the bookstore. Founded in 2004 by six booksellers, the independent bookstore is currently owned by Dina Mardell and David Sandberg, two Cambridge residents and bookworms.

Robinson poses with her horror book bundle. Porter Square Books’ book bundle program lets booksellers like her customize curated book bundles for customers looking for reading recommendations.

Robinson places packages to be picked up by customers. During the pandemic, Porter Square Books adapted their business model, expanding their services to delivery and curbside pickup of book orders.

A stack of books sits in the storage room waiting to be signed by authors. In addition to providing customers with signed book copies, the bookstore frequently opens its doors to Cantabrigians for events, such as silent reading parties and open mic nights.

Porter Square Books partners with the Prison Book Program to help send books to individuals in prisons across the country. Customers can contribute by buying books from a selected wishlist, which is then donated to the program. The bookstore also leads its own civic engagement program, hosting events on a wide range of social justice issues.

Locals sit at the cafe counters near the entrance of the bookstore. Porter Square Books is frequented by many Cambridge residents and college students, serving as both a bookstore and cafe.

Just inside of the front of the bookstore is Cafe Zing, open daily to bookstore visitors. In addition to its popular Vietnamese fresh rolls, the cafe also features products from local bakeries like Iggy’s Bread and Danish Pastry House.

Katia Matthews prepares a drink at Cafe Zing. The cafe serves fair-trade and organic coffee from Equal Exchange.

Porter Square Books is located at 25 White St, Cambridge. In 2021, Porter Square Books partnered with creative writing nonprofit GrubStreet to open its second location in Seaport.

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