Boy, I miss the SoftPro Bookstore. For techies who live on Boston's North Shore, it was a great place to go to get books on cutting edge tech subjects: software, hardware, Linux, programming languages, board design, you name it.
For a number of years it was based in Burlington, MA, right across from the Burlington Mall. It was dedicated solely to high tech subjects, and the staff was stable, so you could go in and say, "I need a good introduction to Linux," and staffer would reply, "Well, we have three that fit that bill. What OS's are you used to? One is good if you're coming from Windows, and the other two are better if you have a Unix background."
Programmers from out of town would come into the bookstore -- often because they were attending a course at a nearby tech company -- and literally salivate. I remember watching a fellow from Montana buy $400 worth of books, pointing out, "We sure don't have bookstores like this out in Montana."
I would go to SoftPro to buy books and figure out market trends. You could browse for half an hour and figure out how hot Java and Linux were going to be just by watching the books people bought. I knew Java was going to be big about six months before the trade press picked up on it, thanks to SoftPro.
Eventually, the bookstore moved to Waltham, several years ago, I think. About a year ago, the owners sold the business to Quantum Books, an equally techie bookstore out of Cambridge, MA. I finally made it to the Waltham store several months ago, and while good, it's a shadow of its former self.
The lack of a tech-only bookstore is less of an issue these days, now that Barnes & Noble and Borders Books have large tech sections. Nevertheless, I miss going into a bookstore that is dedicated to software and hardware and staffed by knowledgeable people. True, it didn't serve lattes or have author readings, but the books and people were great. Which explains why, the next time I'm in Denver, I'll make a beeline to the one remaining SoftPro Bookstore.