Back Pages Books opened in 2005 on Moody Street, Waltham's vibrant "restaurant row". For nearly a decade, Back Pages has followed a path of using a small space to promote big ideas through a mixture of new and used books, author events, civic activism, and advocacy for the arts in Waltham. Back Pages occupies a space on the ground floor of the Lincoln Building alongside the Lincoln Arts Project and Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts. The unique collaboration between independent artists CDIA BU, and the bookstore has contributed to Back Pages' rising name as a preeminent literary destination in the Boston area.
Hailed as the "Best of the New" for bookstores by the Boston Globe in 2005, Back Pages has hosted over 500 author events in nine years. Past speakers include Pulitzer Prize winners Tony Horwitz, Samantha Power, Franz Wright, Gordon Wood, and Junot Diaz as well as Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, acclaimed historian Charles C. Mann, activist and linguist Noam Chomsky, novelists Ha Jin and Andre Dubus III, and Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland. Back Pages has also been a principal supporter of young international writers including Thomas Glave, Helen Oyeyemi, and Edmundo Paz Soldan.
In order to further promote a vision of locally run book production and distribution, Back Pages Books opened Back Pages Publishers in March 2009. Back Pages Publishers simultaneously prints works for mass distribution alongside limited edition letterpress and fine press works. These works, which include pieces by W.S. Merwin, Maxine Kumin, and Seamus Heaney, have been acquired by some of the pre-eminent archives for books and art in the world, including Emory University's Raymond Danowski Poetry Center and the Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.