Cambridge, MA, October 1, 2008 – After forty-six years as the owner of Harvard Square’s landmark independent bookstore, Frank Kramer is handing over the keys. As of today, Jeff Mayersohn and Linda Seamonson of Wellesley, Mass., are the new owners of Harvard Book Store. Mr. Mayersohn will serve as president of the company.
On May 27, 2008, Frank Kramer announced that he was putting Harvard Book Store up for sale. In his announcement, Frank underlined his commitment to maintaining Harvard Book Store as the vibrant independent bookstore it has been for over seventy-five years. Frank asserted his dedication to finding a new owner who knows and loves the store for what it has been—and who has a vision for the future that honors the store’s unique history.
Yesterday, Frank Kramer and Jeff Mayersohn completed the sale, two months in the making. Of the closing, Frank noted: “I couldn’t be more thrilled. Jeff is both a book lover and a businessman who has a tangible affection for Harvard Book Store. When I met him, I liked him immediately. And when I found out that he and his family plan their vacations around the locations of great independent bookstores, I liked him even more.”
Jeff Mayersohn was equally effusive: “As a customer of Harvard Book Store for over thirty years, I’m overwhelmed and elated by this opportunity. My wife and I have wanted to own a bookstore for many years—I never imagined that it could be Harvard Book Store.”
Mr. Mayersohn takes over ownership of the company effective immediately. Over the next few months, Frank Kramer will act as a consultant for the company. Carole Horne, who has been with Harvard Book Store for over thirty-five years, maintains her role as General Manager alongside the company’s committed management team. Ms. Horne is enthusiastic about the transition: “Frank said he wouldn’t sell the store unless he found just the right person, and I think he has. I’m very happy for Frank, and I am excited about working with Jeff.”
Self-described as politically progressive and an avid baseball fan, Mr. Mayersohn is pleased to continue running Harvard Book Store as the community’s locally owned and independent bookstore. He is also interested in bringing his technological experience to the store. “I understand that Harvard Book Store was one of the first independents to adopt inventory-control software, in the 1980s. I’d like to find new ways to continue the store’s tradition of being on the leading edge of bookselling.”
Mr. Mayersohn has attended the bookselling school for prospective booksellers, sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, as well as several national book industry conventions and the New England Independent Bookseller Association’s regional conference.
Originally from New York City, Jeff Mayersohn has been a resident of New England for nearly four decades. He graduated from Harvard College in 1973 and received an M.Phil. in physics from Yale in 1977. He has worked at several high-tech companies in the region, including internet pioneer Bolt, Beranek and Newman. For the last ten years, Mr. Mayersohn has been an executive at Sonus Networks, a market leader in IP communications infrastructure. Mr. Mayersohn and Ms. Seamonson are married and have three children: Andrew, a sophomore at Yale, and Rebecca and Anna, who attend the Wellesley public schools.
Mr. Mayersohn is a passionate reader across many genres, with a large personal book collection. Mr. Mayersohn and Ms. Seamonson contribute to many worthy causes, including a scholarship at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and their other alma maters, Yale and the University of Wisconsin. Mr. Mayersohn’s mother, Nettie Mayersohn, is a member of the New York State legislature and is running for re-election this year.
Harvard Book Store is pleased to host a special event on Tuesday, October 21, inviting the community to meet Jeff and learn about his history and love of Harvard Book Store.
After forty-six years as owner and president of Harvard Book Store, Frank Kramer looks forward to new endeavors. He plans to spend more time working on the development and growth of Cambridge Local First, a shop-local campaign he co-founded in 2005. Frank will also function as an industry consultant, and would like to learn Italian in his spare time.
* * *
Harvard Book Store has been a literary destination in Harvard Square for over seventy-five years, founded in 1932 by Boston native Mark Kramer. Then, as now, Harvard Square was a magnet for students, cultural enthusiasts, and intellectuals. Mark chose to start his bookstore at the center of this vibrant community. Two years later, Pauline Kramer, Mark’s new wife, joined him in running the small bookstore. In 1962, at the time of Mark’s death, his son Frank Kramer took over the family business and actively directed the company’s activities for forty-six years.
The theme of quality bookselling expressed through a broad inventory and personal service was established early by the Kramers, and it remains the primary goal of the company. Today, the expanded bookstore is a Harvard Square landmark and a destination for visitors from all over the world, providing a comprehensive and provocative selection of new, used, and bargain books.