Thursday, October 30, 2014

Brookline Booksmith - Brookline, MA

Brookline Booksmith - Brookline, MA

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How do I even begin to describe everything I saw here and everything that was shared with me by Paul, one of the fine staffers here and editor of the Brookline Booksmith newsletter?  I'm so lucky to enjoy trips to many indies and all of them are 5-star, each in their own, unique way.  This is just one more along the path of my unbelievable journey.

Name something you need.  Goofy socks?  Check.  Greeting cards?  Unique and unlimited supply.  Fake ugly teeth?  Check.  Halloween sh#t?  Check.  Reading glasses?  Duh.  Book bags?  Really?  Of course.  Gigantic wall-sized maps?  Yep.  Finger puppets?  Indeed.  Mugs, journals, blah blah blah.  Ok, Indie Bob, we get it.  They have lots of sidelines.  Boy, do they.  I can't even begin to tell you all the sidelines they have here.  Great stuff that you just can't find anywhere else.  And, yes, you will have to have it.

What about books?  The sidelines here are many and varied but they don't disguise the books.  2-levels of books, new and used.  In some cases, the shelves are floor to ceiling.  You can even get dollar books downstairs so I don't want to hear you cheapskates tell me you can't afford to buy independent.  The children's section is outstanding and they have staff members who are well versed in this genre.  The customer base is largely local but they do some business with tourists as well.  There is a very active event schedule and most events are held on-site downstairs.  For large crowds, they are able to hold the events conveniently across the street in the Coolidge Theater.  There is no cafĂ© here but don't worry, on one side of the store is a Starbuck's and the other side is a Peet's Coffee and Tea.  And after all that go two blocks down Harvard St. to another great stop, Zaftigs Delicatessen.

I enjoyed a great, great conversation with Paul while I was here.  He was extremely knowledgeable and I can't possibly recall everything he shared with me.  But the history of this store has an ironic turning point.  Several years ago a Barnes & Noble opened just down the street from Brookline Booksmith.  This was a very dark cloud over the small store's future.  It was clearly a predatory more by a large chain with no desire to co-exist.  The staff gathered.  What do we do, how do we survive?  The decision was made to take customer service to the ultimate extreme, everything and anything.  As well as expanding the incredible selection and volume of sidelines.  Brookline Booksmith has been here since 1961 and continues to go strong.  It's large chain competitor?  Gone.  Bravo Brookline Booksmith!

When you visit this indie you will have a great time.  Lots of inventory of everything.  Pick out a sideline that you won't be able to find anywhere else.  And definitely get a book from this outstanding indie in Brookline.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

EPILOG:  I didn't meet Dana, the owner, on my first day at Brookline Booksmith so I went back two days after because of Paul's encouragement.  Returning to Brookline Booksmith was like reading a great book twice.  Not only did I meet and talk to Dana but I also enjoyed meeting Lisa, one of the fine staffers here.  Both of these ladies were extremely nice and patiently took time to talk to  me when their store was very busy.  Just another reason to visit this indie in a really cool neighborhood in Brookline.  Thanks for a great visit, Brookline Booksmith.

RECENTLY FINISHED:  So Big, Edna Ferber.  Originally published in 1924 and was, well, big in its day.  Story of a woman and her son, trying to survive in the late 19th century and early 20th century.  I liked it, didn't love it.  Thanks Big!

CURRENTLY READING:  The Days Of Abandonment, Elena Ferrante.  So far so good.

A portion of the great window display.  

This is the view you'll get walking in the front door.  

Seasonal greeting cards.  

Downstairs for events and GREAT book bargains.  

My graphic design artist, Cheryl M., looking for a sideline she can't live without.  She and her husband are part of the Indie Bob tech support team.  

Part of the great book inventory.  

The left side of the store lives in its own world, Giftsmith.  This is a great non-book section of the store.  

The map section.  Something Indie Bob really needs on this journey!  

Just a portion of the great children's section.  

Any finger puppet imagineable.  

The store bestsellers.  

Great display of staff picks.  

Just look at this inventory of books downstairs.  

Here you go, bargain hunters.  

With Paul on the left, staffer and editor of the store newsletter.  

Dana, the owner on the left with Lisa, one of the staffers.  

With Dana, the owner of this great indie.  

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