Living in Lowell has been… weird. For nearly 6 years I been living in a place without bookstores. Well, for four and a half of those years there has been no bookstore other than the campus bookstore.
For a while the campus bookstore seems to have served as a city bookstore, but that was because Barnes & Noble was the vendor managing the store. To be clear, a campus bookstore is not a bookstore… except maybe at Oxford University’s Blackwell’s… that’s a post for another day. In the US, a campus bookstore rarely has more than textbooks and paraphernalia for the school in question. Some may have books of local interest, but their purpose is not to be a bookstore for a town or city. When B&N stopped managing the campus bookstore, the storefront was emptied and I had to go elsewhere to buy books.
About 7 months ago Serpentine came to town. They are located in a local Mill that serves as a shopping center for small stores. There is a great coffee shop, a movie theater, local popcorn makers, and more. On Sunday mornings I go to the indoor farmers market and often bring Cedric with me. It is a small shop, but an elegant one. I found them back in September when I was looking for a special birthday present for myself. I found a pretty collectable edition of Pride & Prejudice.
The collection here is used books and collectable editions. The collectable ones are pricey, but they are collectable, not just used. They do have some less expensive used books. OH, they also have British candy. The owner is a huge Harry Potter fan who is often seen wearing his Hogwarts robes. They have an adorable Boston Terrier named Guinness who is often sleeping in the store. When I bring Cedric, they often have a meeting of the minds. By meeting of the minds, I mean they sniff each other’s butts and then play with each other.
The store front, in fact most of Mill No.5, makes me think of old shopping districts in cities. They have a window display and book carts outside the shop. You can sit in the coffee shop and find yourself surrounded by books, music, and wonderful smells.