332 Stockbridge Rd., Great Barrington, MA
Upon discovering The Bookloft bookshop in the middle of a small town supermarket plaza, I was uncertain about what I’d find inside. A deep discount goldmine? A cheapie cast-off shop? But as we know to never judge a book by its cover, I have learned to never judge a bookshop by where you find it, and The Bookloft turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.
Approaching the front door I saw tables lined up along the windows full of half-off books and discounted titles. A few caught my eye, not a bad selection with a few I already owned, but I moved along because I was eager to get inside. By aesthetic and design, the bookshop struck me as a small-scale Barnes & Noble in all the best ways, with organized displays, shelves full of bestsellers, new titles, and magazines in all manner of nooks and aisles for each subsection and category of fiction and nonfiction. As I wandered through I found a ramp/hallway toward the back leading to a large children’s section with a wide array of picture books, YA, chapter readers, and more. Kids will have plenty to look through here.
Continuing to the right I found another large room full of shelves and carts with books on design, music, sci-fi, travel, and more, with a lot of gifts, audio books, bags, t-shirts, games, etc. There is also a small discount shelf in this room just outside another small room where I found the real bonanza of discounted books. This small room, bigger than a closet but not much, is filled floor to ceiling with half-off fiction and nonfiction across the spectrum, with excellent titles offered at great values. I found a bunch I wanted and a bunch I already owned, and I left with Tim O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato. Definitely check out this room when you visit.
Overall, this shop has a lot going for it, way more than I expected, with a robust series of events (with a spoken word reading on Tuesdays), plenty of excellent titles, and an active social media presence. The Bookloft is an excellent example of how a bookshop can provide the community with a lively literary oasis. If you’re passing through Great Barrington, this is the shop to visit for new and discounted titles.
Atmosphere — Like a small-scale Barnes & Noble. Clean, organized, bright, and comfortable, with plenty of visitors, events, books, and more.
Quality — The books are new, even the discounted titles, so it’s a top quality shop.
Quantity — It was a bigger shop than I expected with plenty of books and gifts.
Diversity — Like you’d see in most new bookshops, there is a solid balance of books, genres, and categories here, with a lot of extra gifts, games, and clothes to sort through. Very solid children’s section and plenty of new titles.
Affordability — Whether you want the newest hardcover or a classic paperback, the prices range from typical full-price to deeply discounted, just what you want in a bookshop.
Amenities — The shop has places to sit and relax, events, and a warm, welcoming environment.
Location — In a shopping plaza just outside of downtown Great Barrington, in western Massachusetts.
Customer Service — The staff seemed busy and attentive, although we didn’t interact.
Overall — This shop surprised me, and after following them on social media, they continued to do so. They’re an active, robust shop with plenty to offer booklovers, with discounted books and access to all the best and brightest new voices in literature. Check them out!