|Thomas Lyons ( Owner of the New England Mobile Book Fair)|
Thomas Lyons, the former insurance executive bought New England Mobile Book Fair (NEMBF), the largest independent bookstore in New England. From the parking lot, the squat cinderblock building nestled in a commercial strip in Newton Highlands, looks unremarkable. But step inside to a bibliophile’s dream. Its 32,000 square feet (more warehouse than shop around the corner) is piled floor to ceiling with books. Classics. Best sellers. Remainders and picture books. NEMBF, which is neither mobile nor a fair, is so named because the first lot of books was bought from a woman who sold books out of her car at school book fairs. With the books came the name, and it stayed. More than half a century later, the store still offers discounts to schools and libraries, and the less than accurate name has long been just one of the store’s endearing peculiarities. Until recently, all of the books (yes, one million plus) were arranged by publisher rather than by genre, as is done in the vast majority of bookstores.