Softpro is a small book store chain which has locations in Marlborough, MA, Burlington, MA, Denver, CO, and Boulder, CO. They specialize in technical books about software. There's a leavening of books about how to use the more interesting sort of graphics programs, but the real focus is on programming and system administration. The Burlington store (the only one we've been to) has more O'Reilly books than we've ever seen in one place before. They're serious: If you need something on Common LISP or Smalltalk-80, they're a good bet. There's a difference between computer science and programming, and they try to cover both. They don't have anything on Ruby yet as of this writing, but who does?

They have one of those "discount card" arrangements, where you start an "account" and after you've spent some ungodly amount of money on books there, they'll give you a discount on some more books. We have such an account.

They have a web site at, where you can check to see what they've got in stock at their "brick and mortar" locations. You can also order books online from the site.

At the Burlington location, they sometimes have coffee and donuts for the customers, but we've never been able to detect a pattern in it. It is a quiet and pleasant store, and the staff is helpful. They will also sell you Linux and BSD CD-ROMs, and t-shirts which say "RTFM" on them. We have not bought one of those shirts, because the 'F' is in a dopey "cursive" typeface while the 'R', 'T', and 'M' are big fat blocky sans-serif things. It looks idiotic. Keep it Simple, Stupid.

They also have magazines of interest to computer people and a small selection of popularized books about cryptography and so on: Impulse purchase items for the kind of people who a dozen or two O'Reilly books and visit Softpro often to buy more.

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