The beautiful thing about Boston is that it’s a city with 20th century innovations, circulated by urban veins, filled with the latest trends, fueled by technological advancements, and yet has somehow held on to it’s old soul. Boston is very unique from other cities around the United States, and a majority of the reason comes from the fact that Boston holds the key to American roots.
“Pahk the Cah in Havahd Yahd.” Arguably one of the more popular phrases that gets tossed around with us Bostonians. It’s our stereotypical calling. Technically, Harvard is in the city of Cambridge, but nevertheless, tourists and locals claim it as our own.
This week, I went to explore Harvard Square as part of a project for my personal blog, ” A Cup of T”. Around the evening, fueled with a sugar high from Zinneken’s Belgian waffles, my friends and I decided to get lost in Harvard’s book store.
The first thing I noticed while walking into the book store, was the amount of ladders the store had on several shelves. (Yes, tall, wooden ladders, that were in absolute perfect condition.) In my lifetime, I hadn’t ever come across a bookstore that included traditional ladders, like the ones you’d see in movies like Beauty and the Beast. I couldn’t resist the urge to climb one for no apparent reason, and ran my fingers across the spines of the books that were touched far less than all the others. The store was buzzing with people from all over the world. There was a couple flipping through cuisine books and a hunched over old man grumbling his way through clusters of people, and a man reading a children’s book to his son in French. It made me feel like a 20th century Belle, up there on the ladder. Harvard’s book store is such a small space with so much room for the diverse population of tourists, locals, authors and one particular resident, Paige.
Paige is Harvard’s espresso book machine. If something could look like it belonged in both history and the future, it would be Paige. After interviewing some of the employees at the information center, I discovered that Paige can produce an acid-free paperback books in nearly four minutes. Customers could print existing pieces from the internet, or even create their very own books!
Paige presents many benefits to authors who choose to custom print at the Harvard Book Store. Books are “library-quality, perfect bound, acid-free paperbacks, indistinguishable from books produced by major publishing houses.” Authors can avoid the expensive investments that are sometimes required by self publishing programs. Authors also experience the benefit of owning total rights to their printed work, including the layout, design, the price of the book, and even the option to display it at the Harvard Book Store. For information regarding book pricing and the simple submission guidelines, go to http://www.harvard.com/bookmachine. Paige can also print books that are out of print, such as Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript of Alice and Wonderland, or books that are online accessible.
The Harvard Book store also sells misprinted books for $2.00, just behind their espresso book machine. I thought this was very interesting, knowingly buying a book that is indeed one of a kind, special, and of course, cheap!
Right next to Paige, is a staircase that leads to Harvard’s Used Book Department. There are thousands of used books, comics and magazines all placed at a lower price. The Used Book Department is plastered with antique stickers, news clippings, baseball cards and book covers on the poles and shelves. I spent a good 20 minutes looking through all of the in-store collages.
Tourists, locals, authors, non-authors, students and beautifully curious people should come and take advantage at what the Harvard Book Store has to offer. It’s an inexpensive way to explore unique works of literature, pick up a misprinted book, or learn something new. It’s a new an exciting way to get up close and personal with the literature we love.
By Jade Cruz