Porter Square Books and COVID-19

In order to continue serving our community during the COVID-19 crisis, we have added a number of services. This page will continue to evolve as things with COVID-19 change and develop, so check this page often.

UPDATE 3/23/2020: Per the orders of the Governor of Massachusetts we will no longer be allowed in the store starting on March 24 at noon. We will be open from now until 9PM tonight for pick up and from 9AM-12PM tomorrow. If you have a pending order please feel free to give us a call at 617-491-2220 to check on its status. Many of you have parts of orders that could be picked up today or tomorrow. If you do come in to pick up a partial order please let whoever helps you know that to make it faster for us to get it for you. 

We will continue to fulfill as many orders as we can directly from our warehouse.  

To increase the chances of your order being fulfilled directly from our warehouse:

1. Only order titles with an inventory status of "Available at the Warehouse." 

2. Select the UPS/USPS Ground Shipping option

3. Pay with a credit card

All other orders will be processed as soon as we get back to the store. You're also welcome to use Indiebound.org to find a store that is still operating or shop Bookshop.org.

Can you still order from us? Yes. Every order you place helps us continue to pay our employees while the store is closed. We will continue to get you the books you want and need as quickly as possible, it's that "as possible" part now most likely means "sometime after April 7." 

Free Shipping

So that you can still get the books you want even if you can't or would prefer not to go out, we have added two new free shipping options. For our friends in Cambridge and Somerville, we have a Free Local Delivery option. Orders with this shipping option will be delivered Monday through Friday. Deliveries will be left on porches. COMING SOON: Local deliveries will be able to add select items from Cafe Zing to the orders. For our friends who live further away, we've added a free media mail option. 

Curbside Pickup

We have also added a free curbside pickup option. Our website will still think this is a "shipping" option so make sure not to check "Pick Up In Store." We'll get in touch with you when your order is ready to be picked up. Then just give us a call when you pull up to the store and we'll bring your order out to you. If you already have a book on hold you can convert it to a curbside pick up order by calling us at 617-491-2220 and paying for the book over the phone. We've added an extra level of social distance to curbside pick up. There will be a table outside the store. A bookseller will put your order on the table and we ask that you wait until the bookseller is back inside before picking up your order. Joyous waving at us through the window is, as always, appreciated and encouraged.

Cafe Zing

Customers using our Free Local Delivery or Curbside Pick-Up can also get a taste of Cafe Zing at home. Bags of Cafe Zing Equal Exchange coffee and Equal Exchange chocolate bars are available. We are working on ways to make more of Cafe Zing's great offerings available.


We know we're not just a place where you buy books. We're a place where you browse shelves and chat with friends and neighbors. As people stay home over the next few weeks it can be easy to feel lonely and isolated. So we are going to do as much as we can to make those other aspects of Porter Square Books available to our community. Follow us on InstagramYouTube, Facebook and Twitter for videos of us reading from our favorite books, talking about books, talking about reading, sharing polls and quizzes, storytime for many different ages, and anything else we can think of, so you can see some familiar faces no matter how long you may stay home. We'll also highlight authors whose events have been canceled and continue to have as much fun as we can. We'll also change our newsletter to incorporate a lot more bookish content.

Virtual Story Time: We're on a way to still do story hour even though we are no longer allowed in the store.

Our storyteller Doria will continue our weekly story hour sessions -- virtually. They will take place on Wednesdays at 11AM on Instagram Live.

Addition Items Available for Online Ordering

NOTE: Only orders for puzzles and games with an inventory status of "Available at Warehouse" have a chance of being fulfilled. All other orders will be fufilled when we are allowed back in the store. Some puzzles and games will be available for online ordering and delivery to help make the days go by. We're starting to make some puzzles, games, and other fun stuff for kiddos available for online ordes. Click here to see what we have. Please note: Puzzle and board games are not elibigle for media mail. All of our Kobo readers are also available for online purchase and delivery. We will continue to add gifts, items, and other fun stuff as things go along.


Following the lead of a number of other organizations and bookstores, we are canceling or rescheduling all of our remaining March events. To better support those authors, all of their books will be 20% off for the month. Whenever possible, we'll post videos or other digital media from the authors and try to arranged for signed copies and signed books. Whenever possible, booksellers will also read from canceled event books on our Instagram stories. 

Virtual Book Fairs

Many area schools have book fairs with us this Spring. If you do, we can convert it to a virtual bookfair in which all of the books are ordered online and then delivered to the school. If we are doing your book fair and you would like to convert it to a virtual bookfair, please email Marika at bookfairs@portersquarebooks.com.

Safety at the Store

We are following the lead of many other businesses and organizations by adopting heightened cleanliness strategies for the duration of the crisis. We'll have a sign on our front door listing all of those strategies. Our employees will also have unlimited paid sick leave during the crisis. If they are on the schedule, they will be paid even if they decide to stay home with health concerns. Even though the storefront will be closed, we will continue these protocols.