Two months ago, the COVID-19 crisis arrived on our doorstep. (We much prefer to receive book deliveries, thank you very much!) It’s been a whirlwind experience for Bas Bleu’s staff, just as it has been for most Americans. We’ve received a lot of questions from customers over the last few weeks, asking how is Bas Bleu handling the COVID-19 crisis? We thought we’d answer a few of your most common questions here in the Bluestocking Salon.

Q: Is Bas Bleu still open?
A: Yes! We’re packing and shipping orders five days a week.

Q: Is that safe?
A: The small team of employees working on-site in our warehouse and call center are supplied with face masks, gloves, and sanitizing supplies, and communal work and breakroom areas have been configured to allow for maximum social distancing. The health of our employees is of paramount importance, and our safety procedures are checked and rechecked constantly, with our team members’ wellbeing a top priority.

Q: Will you run out of inventory?
A: No. It’s true that puzzles, games, and novels have been even more popular than usual, but our purchasing team is working hard with publishers and other suppliers to refill our shelves. Some vendors have paused production as required by state orders or to protect employees in hard-hit communities, while others have shifted gears to produce PPE. We’re fortunate to enjoy long-term relationships with many of our suppliers, and we’re all working together to refresh our inventory supplies and fulfill your orders as quickly as possible.

Q: I think I’ve read every book in your Spring edition. Will you be sending me a new Summer edition?
A: Absolutely! Our editorial team may be working from home these days, but we’re still reviewing books, sampling product, writing and editing copy, and designing catalog pages. We’re just doing it in makeshift offices established in guest bedrooms, playrooms, and at kitchen tables. Our editorial meetings are held via video (that’s us in the picture below), and kids and pets make occasional appearances on screen. Our Summer 2020 edition is at the printer now, and is scheduled to land in your mailbox on May 27.

screen shot of 5-person video conference call

Q: Will Bas Bleu be offering new Summer Reading Collections?
A: Oh, yes! We’ve created new packages of Novels, Mysteries, and Nonfiction selections. And believe us when we tell you they are good.

Q: I love to read, but some days I have a really hard time concentrating on a novel, no matter how good it is. Am I the only one?
You’re not the only one. That happens to booksellers too! When it does, we turn to short stories, poetry, and magazines. We watch movies. We try our hand at sewing face masks and baking bread. We take long walks around the neighborhood and shout “Hello! Are you hanging in there?” to our neighbors from a respectable distance. We skip lawn-mowing day and play hide-and-seek in the long grass with the kids instead. One of us even adopted a puppy! And we eat ice cream on the front stoop while listening to the birds sing.

We can’t say it often enough, dear bluestockings: Your support of Bas Bleu during this unprecedented crisis has been incredible, and we’re so very grateful to you. We hope you’re well. We hope the people you love are all well. To those who aren’t able to stay home because you’re working every day to keep our communities functioning—to the healthcare providers and the dedicated staff who support them, grocery cashiers and shelf stockers, transit employees, postal workers, delivery drivers, farmers, cooks, utility technicians, law enforcement officers and other first responders, public-service employees, and the many others keeping our nation running—thank you all.