Softpro Books


Ben Olson created the physical concept and built environments for Softpro Books, computer bookstores in five locations. These retail outlets served the computer professional and enthusiast with a complete collection of books about computers, software, and related disciplines.

The original prototype store was located in Burlington, MA and is featured in the photographs. Custom wood display ladders at the front of the store are used to present new book arrivals. Flexible shelving, also custom designed, rings the walls with a continuous sign band that can be easily changed as books sell out and new categories are needed. Aluminum and maple cubbyholes, located near the paired checkout desks, help to accent selected software and other tools.

The owner’s office near the rear of the store has a concealed, twelve-foot pocket door that can remain open to the sales floor or be pulled shut when a private meeting is required.

Softpro Books was meant to feel more like an academic library rather than the typical bookstore with even a small lounge area in the rear of each store with coffee and newspapers. Due to the rise of and other on-line purchasing, only the Denver store is still open.


“New England Architects,” The Boston Society of Architects selected Softpro Books for its traveling exhibition.