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Porter Square Books Has New Owners

A Cambridge couple—the wife a veteran teacher, the husband a lawyer who quit his day job at Google—officially took ownership of the popular bookstore on Sunday.

Porter Square Books, a favorite of Somerville readers, has new owners. Credit: Patch file
Porter Square Books, a favorite of Somerville readers, has new owners. Credit: Patch file
Asked if new ownership would bring changes to Porter Square Books, Dina Mardell, one of the new owners, said, "Absolutely not."

Mardell and her husband, David Sandberg, officially took ownership of the independent local bookstore on Sunday, according to a press release from the store.

Porter Square Books, which is just across Somerville's border in Cambridge, is a favorite of Somerville bookworms.

Mardell and Sandberg are both longtime Cambridge residents who, among other things, are involved in that city's education and arts non-profit community, the press release says.

Mardell, speaking briefly with Somerville Patch Monday morning, said she has a background in education. Among other things, she spent more than 20 years teaching young children from pre-kindergarten to third grade. She also worked with Lesley University as a teaching mentor. Porter Square Books has a sizable children's literature section.

Sandberg, she said, has worked as a lawyer, mostly with start-up firms in Cambridge.

"He just quit his day job," which was at Google, Mardell said about her husband. The Internet giant had purchased a start-up where he was serving as in-house counsel.

Sandberg also has an undergraduate degree in literature and is working on completing a PhD in English, she said.

Mardell said, "We're hoping [the transition is] going to be a seamless thing."

Three of Porter Square Book's former owners—Jane Jacobs, Carol Stoltz and Dale Szczeblowski—will stay on as employees to help guide the new owners, according to the press release and Mardell.

Jane Dawson, another previous owner, will be retiring, which is "well deserved," the press release says.

Mardell said, "We're delighted" to be the new owners of the store. The experience for customers should remain the same, she said.

When the book store went on the market back in February, "We had to make sure it was [a] viable" option, Mardell said, but "we pretty quickly realized this was something we wanted to do."

She said the cost of purchasing the book store is confidential.

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Porter Square Books Is Up For Sale
Joe Beckmann August 20, 2013 at 08:34 AM
Perhaps the Cambridge and/or Somerville library could create an electronic branch at Porter Square, and encourage people to own, borrow, or just scan books related to a purchase? With the coffee shop available, that could BOTH encourage library use as well as encourage sales.

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