• John O’Rourke

    Editor, BU Today

    John O'Rourke

    John O’Rourke began his career as a reporter at The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. He has worked as a producer at World Monitor, a coproduction of the Christian Science Monitor and the Discovery Channel, and NBC News, where he was a producer for several shows, including Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie CouricNBC Nightly News, and The Today Show. John has won many awards, including four Emmys, a George Foster Peabody Award, and five Edward R. Murrow Awards. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 18 comments on Crazy? The Man Bought a Bookstore

  1. I used to get gift certificates every year to the NEMBF for my birthday. I remember as a kid thinking that the warehouse was so huge. Returning as an adult it didn’t seem all that overwhelming, but the selection (including a huge bargain area) and quirky environment are great, nonetheless.

  2. This is great news. I only visited this store once because it is not near where I live. I liked its huge selection but found the arrangement by publisher very off-putting. Will definitely check it out again both online and in person. Good luck to the entire Lyons family in their new venture.

  3. I grew up in Needham and remember visiting this fabulous bookstore often. Thank you for keeping it alive!

    I will be sure to vist on my next visit.

    Best wishes

  4. Seconded, Robin! I loved going there as a kid, and from the picture it appears to be smaller than I remember (but obviously still sizeable enough to fit a million books). I also could have sworn the comic books/graphic novels, at least, were all in one section. Anyway, so glad Mr. Lyons has purchased and is even improving this business. Looking forward to getting back there soon!

  5. This is an excellent bookstore with helpful staff, but it has suffered for years, IMHO, from its idiosyncratic ways. Reshelving the books by genre is an excellent start. But I urge the new owner to address the fact that the store is misunderstood or ignored by large segments of the shopping public due to its odd name and bargain basement exterior appearance. Thousands of would-be shoppers bypass it daily (it is located on one of the most heavily trafficked local roads in the Boston area), without realizing it is a full service store carrying new books. Even among those who know this, the store still doesn’t fully “register.” I take pains to visit indy bookstores, but NEMBF is almost never on my radar of Boston area bookstores during my 8 to 10 visits to the area each year. Heck, I lived a few miles from the store for two decades, and even then I forgot it existed… I am far more inclined to remember and visit other bookstores nearby–Newtonville Books, the B&N, and the Borders when it was still in business. Here’s hoping the new owner can do something about this.

  6. I was breathless with excitement when I went here for the first time a few months back, a couple of months after coming to Boston. The only hard part is that it’s not exactly at a T sop, but it’s a pleasant walk from Newton Highlands. The staff is extremely helpful and the girl at the till had very interesting observations on one of the books I bought the first time I went there. Plus hardcovers are 30% off and paperbacks are 20% off. Amazon is roughly 1/3 off; so if you value the pleasant browsing experience among stacks and stacks of books this is the place for you.

  7. This is the best news since Fifty Shades single-handedly saved the paper book business. I am a buyer for a distributor and I am watching my livelihood disappear before my eyes. There are box bins next to the Salvation Army dumpsters! Please! Mr. Lyons, thank you for saving one of the best bookstores in Mass. and thank you for putting them in categories. I can’t wait to come back. Amazon can go fly a kite.

  8. Thumbs up! That is an amazing example of entrepreneurship and the fact that age does not matter, if you really willing to roll up your sleeve and follow your heart and get the job done! Wish you great sales and time success in your venture. Hopefully, I will visit you soon.

  9. I have loved coming to this bookstore from the first day I discovered it. Someone told me about it and I was “blown away.” It became my special place so to speak to make discoveries, compare books, “mind travel”, enjoy discounted books and buy some for others; I’ld spent hours. Some 14 years later I still don’t know all the shelves. You can’t really buy art books on the internet, you can’t see the quality of the paper and of the reproductions. You can’t buy a kid’s book on the internet, you’ve got to have it in your hand and feel it, size it. I use my library all the time, and when restless I head down to the Bookfair. So thank you Mr. Lyon for rescuing “my bookstore” – just one thing, don’t get it “too” organized! I did not mind at all the books organized by publisher because once you knew a publisher it was actually fun to see what THEY published and I would often go to these isles and find excellent books I would not have thought of looking up. To me, NOT knowing what I wanted, then finding something special was an incentive for coming to the bookstore. I agree with Frederick that many people still have not registered how special this bookstore is because of its name and its blank facade. Definitely, something needs to be done about the facade. I wish you all the luck, down to the last lucky penny.

  10. Thank you Mr. Lyons! My eight-year old is now a huge fan of the store, and I am an author. Note: I bought a gift card for the holiday but had to do it over the phone and pick up at the store once we visit. No biggie; just printed my own fun little card at home. Finally, three more words for you, sir: Print On Demand.

  11. Sorting by publisher is the only thing I ever found wrong with this book shop. Otherwise, it was a total treasure. Bargains were everywhere, and when you read as many books as I do, it’s important to watch the budget. I didn’t include the Bookfair in my new book, A Vacationer’s Guide to Rural New England Bookstores, because it’s not in a rural area. But, it meets every other criteria I set for a great bookshop. And congratulations to the new owner; I’m sure the shop will be even better now.

  12. I am a NEMBF fan and was worried when I heard it was for sale. Thank you for being business savvy and a book lover as well! This store feels like a piece of history and a gem in today’s “big box” world. May the force be with you!

    1. Thank you Jean and thank you all for your positive comments, encouragements and suggestions. We at the Book Fair are working hard to address all issues, expand the word about this treasure trove and make the shopping experience better. Our weekly author series is picking up steam and getting more people into the store.

  13. Thank you Mr Lyons for stepping up to plate to save a much loved independent bookstore. Even the big bookstores (Borders) are falling down. While I like the ease of eBooks I don’t love using a tablet. I love the smell of a small bookstore. I love the feel of book covers and the book themselves. I love the feel and sound of turning book pages. You can actually curl up with a book. Tablet: not so much. I know that there are other crazy book lovers like myself out there. Thanks again Mr Lyons for caring about us.

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