Bookworm, Bibliophile, Book Lion (for some Youtubers). There are a number nicknames for those who love the written (or typed) word. In a world of changing wardrobes, traditions, and Netflix, it seems that one thing has never changed. People love stories. And although the platform has changed over the course of a few centuries there have always been people who enjoy books.
A place for book lovers. A place where love of all things literary and fashion collide. Founded in June 2012, the appropriately named “Appraising Pages” is a book review website as well as a shop.
“Appraising Pages started as a book review blog, to be able to discuss and share the books I love. Eventually, the shop was started as a way to express the emotions that books fueled,” said the shop’s owner Justine Brooks.
On the blog side of things, you can find out into which books it is worth investing five hundred pages of your time. In the shop, you find products that would make any fangirl (or boy) swoon. T-shirts, jewelry, coffee cups, wall art — Appraising Pages has something for everyone in any fandom.
An avid reader, having grown up reading “A Wrinkle In Time” and “Where the Wild Things Are,” Justine Brooks wanted to create a place where people could wear their love of reading on their sleeves.
The products often pay tribute with quotes and sayings from popular works of fiction, from Sarah J. Maas’s “Throne of Glass” series to Cassandra Clare’s numerous works from the “Shadowhunter’s Chronicles.” Since it’s launch products from the shop have become so well-known that authors have even on occasion asked the shops to craft shirts based on their books. Although you can take your pick of items related to “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent,” the shop does not limit itself purely to literary items products. They also have merchandise related to “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” or “Doctor Who” available.
Literary t-shirts are not the shops only attribute. In a world full of emails and text messages, subscription boxes have brought a new twist to the mailing experience. Instead of sweaters from your grandmother that you’ll never wear or sweaters you ordered from Forever 21 that you will actually wear, you get a mystery box of fun depending on what your interests are. From boxes dedicated to sugary surprises to battle supplies needed in the event of a zombie (yes, really) apocalypse, there is a subscription box out there for everyone.
With positive reviews often including capslock, it can be said The Bookish Boxes are well received by their subscribers.
“I wanted literary subscription box, that wasn’t based on books, but instead themes that allowed small shops to create new items.” Brooks said. Themes have been things such as “Things That Go Bump In The Night” and “Deep Reads” inspired by “All The Bright Places.”
The boxes are put together in a collaborative effort and consist of products from different shops. Some are created by guest curators, such as author Jennifer Niven.
Given the chance, Brooks would have coffee with Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore, feeling that he would be able to provide a great deal of warmth and wisdom.
In regards to business ownership she had some words of wisdom of her own: “It’s really hard work, and you’ll feel vulnerable when you are trying to achieve your goals, but do it, it’s so worth it.”
Although not easy her business experiences are not without highlights, “My favorite moments are anytime I see someone in public wearing something in public wearing something I designed, or getting a email from someone who loved their order,” she said. “When an author that I love asks me to make them a shirt, that’s a really special moment.”
Appraising Pages and The Bookish Box’s products can be found at www.appraisingpages.com.