Once upon a time (in a not-so-distant, selfie-obsessed past), the good folks at the New York Public Library launched Library Shelfie Day, an annual occasion to share portraits of personal—and, often, creatively arranged—book collections. Reading is such a personal experience for so many of us, informed by our individuality, our life experiences, even our schedules, that it’s no surprise our bookshelves can offer a revealing window into our literary souls…or, at least, a peek into our book-organization methods! Continue reading
In the midst of the cooking and the shopping and the party-going and the travel-planning, it can be easy to forget that the holiday season is intended to celebrate gratitude, joy, fellowship, and other non-monetary gifts. At Bas Bleu, we’re not about to dissuade you from holiday shopping—we believe our eclectic selection of books and gifts will make Christmas a little brighter—but we do want to stop for a moment in our Thanksgiving preparations to tell you how grateful we are for you, our readers.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Bas Bleu’s customers are the absolute best, for a multitude of reasons. Among our favorites: Y’all recommend some wonderful books! So wonderful, in fact, that we created our Reader Review program inviting readers to submit your own Bas Bleu-style book reviews. Many of the reviews we’ve received over the years are for books we’d never heard of; some are for books we were “on the fence” about and a Reader Review cast the deciding vote; others are for books we’ve already carried, but are thrilled to know you loved, too. Continue reading
April is National Letter Writing Month, and a wonderful reminder to us of the joys of writing and receiving “old-fashioned” snail mail. Last April, we wrote about the irreplaceable value of paper mail in a digital world and issued a letter-writing challenge to all of our readers. This year, we thought it would be fun to dig into the Bas Bleu mailbag and share with you some of the recent letters our editors have received. Because in the midst of writing catalog copy, sorting through piles of books, embarking upon reading marathons, and posting on Twitter, Facebook, and this blog, we still get excited when the mail carrier delivers a letter or card from one of our readers. (And it’s not every day someone uses the phrase “sultry feminine charm” to describe our catalog!) Continue reading
Thanksgiving is less than twenty-four hours away, and whether you’re basting a magnificent bird or tucking in to a convenient take-out meal, this annual celebration of bounty and blessings is always a good opportunity to stop and take stock of all we have to be grateful for.
2017 has been a difficult year in so many respects: Anxiety and fear fueled by global unrest and national political and social upheaval have been exacerbated by devastating hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes. Faced with such challenges, it’s natural to wonder what difference we can make as individuals…or, in Bas Bleu’s case, as booksellers. Continue reading
Bas Bleu was founded in 1994 by a true bluestocking, a book-loving lady who launched her venture from her Atlanta, Georgia, home. In the beginning, she wrote every word of catalog copy, packed and posted every order herself, and stored the company’s stock in a closet! She mailed 50,000 copies of the first edition of the Bas Bleu catalog. Today, we mail millions of copies to readers all over the country, but our little company never could have survived those early years without the enthusiasm and support of our loyal customers. That’s why, in 1999, we decided they deserved a little something extra…and the Bas Bleu Society was born! Continue reading
One of our very first customers sent us this homemade flag during Bas Bleu’s first year of business, “as a reminder of your cheering section, and to keep the flag of literacy flying.”
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.
Members of the Bas Bleu Book Club gathered to celebrate their twentieth anniversary in August 2016. They’re posing with their favorite Bas Bleu catalog cover, Nishan Akgulian’s “The New Bluestockings.”
In August, we received a wonderfully surprising note from a lady named Helen, one of Bas Bleu’s long-time readers in Arlington, Texas: Continue reading
It’s that time of year again, bluestockings! No, we’re not talking about turkey or football or friendly family squabbles over the last slice of pie. (Though those are excellent traditions too.) We’re talking about taking a moment—before the merry mayhem of the Christmas season overtakes us—to sit back and count our blessings.
We thoroughly enjoy our work here at Bas Bleu, but ours is not an easy business. Bookselling has always been more a labor of love than an opportunity for enormous profit, especially as algorithm-driven deep discounters have grown to dominate the industry. That’s why every single day of the year (and twice on Thanksgiving!) we count our lucky stars to have customers like you.
For more than twenty years, you’ve supported our “bookseller by post”—even when you had bigger, cheaper options—because you share our love for interesting, out-of-the-ordinary, occasionally odd little books and gifts. We’re thankful for every purchase, no matter the size, as well as every book recommendation, Reader Review, and handwritten note you send our way. We’re even thankful for your critiques, because they help us improve our products and our service to you.
George Colman wrote, “Praise the bridge that carried you over.” Dear bluestockings, you are the bridge that carries us over. We know 365 days a year just how fortunate we are to have the customers we do, but Thanksgiving seemed like the right time to tell you: Thank you. You’ll never know just how much you—your patronage, your trust, your good humor, and your devotion to good books—mean to all of us at Bas Bleu.
So from our family to yours: Happy Thanksgiving, and happy reading!
We have the best customers in the book business. Hands down. Bar none. Without a doubt. You share our passion for books and reading, and you’ve supported our quirky little catalog for more than two decades. And for twenty-one years, our readers have sent us wonderful letters and e-mails, even scribbling little notes in the margins of Bas Bleu order forms. Those kind words delight us and, on more than one occasion, have boosted our flagging spirits. Today in the Bluestocking Salon, we thought you might enjoy reading some of the wonderful messages we’ve received over the years. We can’t possibly include them all, but here are a few of our favorites: Continue reading