"The Coop" on the Harvard campus (Photo by slgckgc)

Have you ever walked into your campus bookstore and wondered how it compares to other campus bookstores in terms of size? If you attend Harvard College or MIT, you probably know already that “The Coop,” which serves both schools, is considered the largest campus textbook store in the United States.

“The Coop,” which is more formally called the Harvard/MIT Cooperative Society, is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The store was first created by a group of Harvard students in 1882. The initiative was subsequently established as a cooperative among students and members of the Harvard community. In its early days, The Coop was primarily designed as a bookstore where students could purchase their books, school supplies, as well as coal and wood that was used for fires to keep people warm during the cold winters in the northeastern U.S. In 1916, MIT moved its campus from Boston to Cambridge. That is when a group of alumni from MIT were able to create a branch store with The Coop of Harvard on the MIT campus so that both MIT and Harvard students would be served by the same cooperative. The Coop currently has the same membership fee of just $1, which was the established fee back in 1882 and has held the same ever since the store opened. But it is now a primary hub on campus and has a café and lots of other cool amenities for students to study and socialize.

The Coop is considered the largest college bookstore in the country and has six different locations throughout the Boston area. With its primary location at 1400 Massachusetts Avenue on the Harvard campus in downtown Cambridge, this store is open seven days a week. It is also open late most days to meet the needs of college students who have busy schedules and need access to the bookstore at various times throughout the day. When you shop here, you will find thousands of textbooks on every subject imaginable. You will also enjoy great prices and used, rental, and digital textbooks. Even though the cost of tuition for Ivy League schools is typically quite high, students can save money on their course materials. The Coop has also emphasized the use of digital textbooks and has made thousands of them available to students in all academic studies, including for the law and medical school students at Harvard.

In addition to textbooks, The Coop sells a huge selection of other items. This includes a wide array of school supplies, computer items like discounted hardware and software, along with plenty of gear for Harvard and MIT students to show support for the athletic teams at these schools.

Although off-campus and online bookstores are popular for students trying to find certain books and save money, most Harvard and MIT students have everything they need right around the corner at one of the six locations of The Coop. That is why this bookstore is so unique compared to the bookstores at all other colleges and universities nationwide.