If Brookline needed any proof that magic is in the air during December, they could find it on the corner of Harvard and Green Streets at the Brookline Booksmith holiday popup shop. Delightfully christened PopSmith, the bright, elegant space brings a unique sophistication to the book-buying process from now through January 4.
“We’ve always desperately needed more space to do everything we want to do,” says Lisa Gozashti, Brookline Booksmith co-owner and manager. “We’ve created a bargain book wonderland. It feels like it’s pulsing with this magical light of an urban environment.” And a wonderland it is. Decorated with twinkling white lights and whimsical chalkboard signs, PopSmith welcomes book shoppers in for the long haul.
The popup features a vast array of bargain books typically displayed at the front of the main Booksmith store. These remnants are new books that have been discounted for other reasons, like excess printings. This year the bargain books section boasts a bigger cookbook selection than ever due to a new cookbook vendor. Gozashti says “Hazana: Jewish Vegetarian Cooking” by Paola Gavin and “Green Kitchen Travels: Healthy Vegetarian Food Inspired by Our Adventures” by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl have been especially popular. Additionally, shoppers can find a curated selection of fair trade gifts ranging the gamut from handmade ornaments from Africa to unique, ethically sourced herb mixes.
“It’s a wonderful, curated selection,” says Gozashti. “We have less, but it’s presented in such a beautiful way.” And she’s not kidding; the space has been transformed into a stunning holiday experience. Shoppers can enjoy live music some afternoons, and free cookies and infused water daily. Special author readings will occur in the space as well as open mic nights and other community-oriented events.
The opportunity has allowed the Booksmith staff to experiment with different ways of engaging their customers. Though the PopSmith is temporary, Brookline residents may see some of the same practices used there implemented in the main store. Whether it’s the live music that draws you in, the wide selection of giftable discounted books, or the unique gifts sourced from around the world, you’re sure to find a unique and transportive experience at PopSmith.
“It has a very different vibe and a very different customer,” says Gozashti. “It’s a much more upscale space. People visibly slow down and pause when they walk through the door. It’s like seeing everything for the first time.”