After ten years in our current office, our editorial staff is preparing to move into new, larger digs next month. (We’re bursting at the seams!) In the midst of packing up paper clips, catalog archives, and so many books, we were delighted to rediscover boxes full of archived customer correspondence from Bas Bleu’s earlier days. In the 1990s and early 2000s, before e-mail was as widespread as it is today, many of our customers directed their inquiries, book recommendations, and, occasionally, criticisms to us via snail mail.
As we prepare to “move house,” we’ve been delightfully distracted by rereading these old letters. They’ve made us laugh, made us wax sentimental, even made us sheepish over early mistakes. As our founder wrote to one of our earliest customers, “Our first catalog was a critical success (thanks to letters like yours) despite being a financial failure. We were encouraged to go on.” More than two decades later, we’re sharing just a handful of the thousands of wonderful messages our readers have written us over the years, letters that encouraged us to go on.
I enjoy your catalogue so much I ordered a dozen of them to give as favors to my friends who attended my daughter’s bridal shower. That was one year ago and I continue to hear words of praise as my friends keep on discovering treasures within those pages. One friend expressed my thoughts when she asked, ‘How does Bas Bleu know just what I’m looking for, when I don’t even know I’m looking for it?’ —Roberta, 2000
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My literature collection is thriving because of y’all! Books have always held an important place in my life (which is why I became a librarian). As [Thomas Jefferson] so aptly put it, ‘I cannot live without books.’ Have just completed my reading of The Outermost House and it was such a joy! I could smell the salty air, see the dune grasses waving and hear the birds calling in their own special language…and could feel the shivers during the winter. You are super! Keep on rolling! —Virginia, 2004
Thank you for putting together your catalog. Your taste in books is impeccable. I enjoy reading your comments as well as discovering your selections. Amazon would be cheaper, of course, but you get my business because you take the effort to bring these gems to my attention. —Eduardo, 1999
I’m not sure how I would manage Christmas without you. —Sandra, 2001
Thank you so much for each and every catalog! I’ve been writing this note in my head for years! I’m a mom with little kids and my free time is so rare—sometimes just reading the descriptions of all these great books, gifts, etc. is the closet I ever came to the real thing. I cherish each and every catalog. I can’t put in words how much it means to me. I do treasure Bas Bleu! —Susan, 2006
Just this very minute received your first catalog in the mail. I’ll be faxing you an order in the next week, but could not wait to let you know what a delight Bas Bleu is. Your editorial taste is impeccable (which means you like the same stuff I do) and your house is probably as jammed as mine with books and more books. The best of luck with your new venture, vive la Bas Bleu, and long may she wave! —Nancy, 1994
I buy lots of books, and I buy most of them at local discount stores and via amazon.com. But your catalog has introduced me to many books I would never have found any other way, and I value that greatly. Amazon can refer me to yet another mystery writer, but I turn to you for ‘real’ literature—and for offbeat, but very special gifts…I will continue to order from you, and not seek a lower price elsewhere, as long as you continue to introduce me to books I just gotta have. —Roberta, 2001
I like your selections; I don’t always agree with the reviewers but I can usually find an offering to enjoy. Keep up the good work! —Nina, 1999
A copy of your Fall 2000 Bas Bleu catalog was delivered to my home today. I don’t know how I found my way onto your mailing list, but after poring over each page of your catalog, I was happy to be numbered among your subscribers. And as I paged through the catalog, I would see an entry and think, ‘I must pass this catalog on to Susan.’ Later, at another entry, I would think, ‘No, I must give this catalog to Bill.’ Still later, it was ‘Patricia must have this catalog!’ So, with that in mind, may I make a request? Could you please send copies of your catalog…to each of the people listed below? I know they will enjoy seeing your offerings as much as I did. —Tim, 2000
Please thank the young man who helped me with this order today. I have a 90% hearing loss and despite a hearing aide and a telephone amplifier during a telephone conversation the other person must be very patient. My young man was a gentleman through the difficult conversation—patient and kind and helpful. Thank you many times. —Beatrice, 2000
Please note that I have moved, kindly change your records. I could not live if I missed getting your catalog. —Lucrecia, 1998
We don’t receive quite as many letters today as we once did, but we still cherish each one. All of them have reinforced what we already knew: Bas Bleu’s customers are the best in the business, and we’re lucky to have every single one of you!
If you’d like to drop us a line, you may contact our editors via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or via snail mail at our new office:
Bas Bleu (beginning mid-March 2017)
150 E. Ponce de Leon Place
Decatur, GA 30030
You’re also welcome to write a Reader Review if you’re keen on a book you think we should carry; or, feel free to write a personal product review on our website to share your thoughts about the books or gifts you’ve ordered from us recently.