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New Coop Outpost Fools Tourists, Locals

By Alexander B. Cohn, Crimson Staff Writer

Nestled in a row of storefronts on Mass. Ave. between Harvard and Porter Square, a new establishment looks for all the world like a general interest bookstore. But browsing locals and tourists have been fooled—in reality the store is a new annex of the Coop, peddling textbooks primarily for Harvard Law School students.

The new outpost is a temporary replacement for the Law School’s former Coop location in Harkness Commons, which is currently under construction, according to Ellen P. Shapiro, a Coop clerk. She added then when construction is completed, the Coop is expected to return to its original location.

The store opened on August 1, and although a trickle of Law School students still comes through to buy books, the real rush was at the end of August, Shapiro said.

Since the store primarily sells textbooks for courses taught at the Law School, the drop-off is not surprising—Law School classes began on Sept. 2 this year.

A steady flow of locals and tourists have been coming to the store since then, unaware that it doesn’t cater to the public.

“I have to keep explaining to customers that we are not a general interest bookstore. Almost everything here has been ordered by a Law School professor,” said Shapiro.

The store also carries a small section of trade books with legal themes, candy, and mugs, T-shirts and souvenirs emblazoned with the Law School shield.

German tourist Viola Habakuk was unimpressed with the store, considering she said she was looking for the Law School campus and came across the one-room shop instead.

Habakuk, a lawyer herself, said “The Harvard Law School is famous in Europe. I knew when I came to Boston, I had to see it.”

—Staff Alexander B. Cohn can be reached at

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