Two Vanderbilt alumnae launch pop-up bookshop ‘Bookish’ at Nashville Farmers’ Market Saturday Dec. 7

“Bookish” sells used books at discounted prices to promote reading among children and adults, with all profits being donated to local non-profit “Book’em”

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Bookish aims to increase excitement for and access to books. (Photo courtesy Bookish)

Hayden Gee, Staff Writer

Kelli Klein had always dreamed of opening a bookstore. 

For years, she had dreamed about what her store would look like, even choosing a specific wood that the shelves of her store would be made out of and what type of fabric in which the furniture in the store would be outfitted. 

After seeing a decrease of locally-owned bookstores in Nashville and realizing that less and less people were spending their free time reading, Klein decided that now was the time to make her dreams a reality. 

In May, she recruited her friend and fellow Vanderbilt alumna, Karissa Deiter, to help her create a bookstore concept. Given her passion for books, Deiter was glad to help.

“Personally, I’m a big fan of locally-owned, community-based efforts at finding the intersections of art and books and literature,” Deiter said.

Klein and Deiter decided to call their shop “Bookish” and make it a “pop-up” book store. Bookish will not have a permanent location; the mobile format allows them to be able to set up their shelves of books in different places, Klien said. 

The two wanted to make their bookstore a little different from regular bookstores. Bookish will sell used titles that Klein and Deiter either purchased or received as donations from bookstores and libraries at discounted rates to relieve the financial burden of buying books.

 Adult novels will cost five dollars flat, regardless of age or condition. Children can receive their first book for free, with subsequent book purchases costing only one dollar. Klein and Deiter both work for nonprofits in Nashville and say that giving back to the community is very important to them, and the business model that they have created for Bookish will help them to do so. 

The goal of Bookish is not to generate large profits, according to Klein. Klein and Deiter want to cover their costs so that they can offer their books at these discounted prices and donate the rest to Book’em, a local non-profit dedicated to promoting literacy through book ownership, Klein said. The organization gives out free books to kids and hosts book readings to promote reading as an exciting, communal activity for children. 

“The idea behind this is to kind of level the playing field in terms of how people conceive of what is valuable in a book,” Klein said.

‘Bookish’ will sell books of all types, including fiction, poetry,  cookbooks and picture books. Klein and Deiter want Bookish to be a place where people can bring books that they have loved and share them with others.  

“The idea is that people read a book, and if they really enjoy it, they want to share it with someone else,” Klein said. 

Additionally, they are focused on offering books by women and people of color, as these demographics are underrepresented in bookstores, Klein said.

The Farmers’ Market this Saturday will feature Bookish’s grand opening. In the future, Klein and Deiter hope to bring the shop to other events around Nashville, like East Nashville Night Market. They also want to bring Bookish to places where book stores would not typically be found, like music festivals or  ‘books and brews’ events. 

Klein and Deiter both have their eyes on turning Bookish into a permanent retail space.

“I’m just really excited to interact with people this weekend and see it come to life first before planning too far ahead, but I think the dream is to have a brick and mortar someday,” Deitier said.

Ultimately, Klein wants Bookish to be fun.

“We’re both passionate about books and creating experiences for others, so even if the pop-up does not progress to a brick and mortar bookstore, we’re still really excited to just be sharing books with Nashville,” Klein said.