True story: In the post-paper Kindle age, an independent used-book shop called Indy Reads Books (911 Massachusetts Ave., 384-1496, indyreadsbooks.org) opened with enough bright-eyed enthusiasm to triumph over dark capitalist forces. Even if you adore your e-reader, you’ll love hanging out here just as much, thanks to this cast of winsome characteristics:
 Interior designer Nikki Sutton made the most of repurposed materials. During renovations, staffers and volunteers removed nails from floorboards that were later installed on the walls. The bookshelves came from the downtown Borders that closed last year.
 All profits support adult literacy through Indy Reads, a 25-year-old nonprofit. Two sunny nooks with wooden tables and chairs were designed for tutoring sessions, but anyone can use them—as a fetching meeting space for a book club, perhaps. There’s also free Wi-Fi and $1 coffee.
 Clever design details include a window into the back room that can serve as another checkout area.
 A stage hosts readings by local authors—John Green and Dan Wakefield have already packed the house—and kids’ storytelling every Saturday.
 The store holds 14,000 tomes and receives 300 to 500 donated books every day. Prices range from $1 to $8, and you never know what you’ll find—and that surprise is part of the appeal. The shelves are still stocked with a motherlode of expensive cookbooks that spilled out of one patron’s car. Surplus inventory goes to Giggle, a local startup that sells secondhand books online.
Photo by Tony Valainis
This article appeared in the December 2012 issue.