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Brookline Booksmith celebrating 50th anniversary next week

Posted by Brock Parker  October 25, 2011 10:39 AM

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While a number of other area bookstores have closed in recent years, the Brookline Booksmith is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary in Coolidge Corner next week.

The independently owned bookstore on Harvard Street opened in November of 1961 and will celebrate its anniversary and thank its customers with a series of sales running from Tuesday, Nov. 1 through Saturday, Nov. 5.

Dana Brigham, a co-owner of the Booksmith, said the store may also hold some sort of block party after the holiday season, possibly in the spring, to celebrate.

While a number of independent and chain book stores have closed in the area in recent years, including a Barnes&Noble in Coolidge Corner that closed in 2009, Brigham said the Booksmith is having a good year. A careful selection of the books sold at the store contributes to its success, she said, and the store's community involvement has also been important.

"We keep doing what we do best, and so far it's working," Brigham said. "Not to say we're not nervous."

Gift merchandise is accounting for an increasing amount of the store’s sales, and the used book section the Booksmith opened about five years has also been important to the success of the business, Brigham said.

“Luckily for us, our customers are still buying books, books, books,” she said.

Book sales on Amazon.com present a growing challenge to independently-owned stores such as the Booksmith, but Brigham said the store continues to evolve by selling e-books on its website and offering a robust event series featuring with authors.

The business has been constantly evolving since it sold only paperback books in 1961 when it opened under the original name of Paperback Booksmith. Brigham, who has been at the store for 30 years, said Marshall Smith founded this store and he and his family are still the majority owners.

Next week, the Booksmith will celebrate its anniversary with five days of sales featuring 20-percent off a different category of items each day, including hardcover books, used books, children’s books, gifts and learning products and paperback books.

For more information, visit the store’s website at www.brooklinebooksmith.com

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