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Customers Stories

Email from a happy customer - "Good Evening - Just wanted to let you know that your store is one of the highlights of my trips to South Haven. The ambiance is wonderful. I love Booker and Dewey. Your books are fabulous. I would gladly pay more than you charge for some of the gems I have found at your store. It is always nice to chat with you while I'm in your store. I am enjoying my recent finds: white-tail deer, neanderthals, world history and Freud. I gave away a lot of books in the 90's that I wish I had kept. Happily I have been able to find some of the same books and even better ones at your store. I also love the mug. Take good care, Kisses to Dewey and Booker.

A gentleman with a distinctively German accent asked if we had any books on horses as his daughters loved horses. I directed him to an entire shelf on horse books. He found one immediately, "Horses of the Camargue."    (These horses are an ancient breed indigenous to the Camargue area in Southern France.) The family was traveling around France in August and planned to visit the Camargue to see the horses. They drove 5 or 6 hours to get there and planned to camp nearby. When they arrived, however, they discovered that the camp site had no shade, and the temperature was in the 90's. They turned around and never did see the horses. "And here is a book about these very horses I can bring home to my daughters." He was delighted, and so were we!           

A young man approached the counter with an old book that looked a bit ragged. I (Pam) commented on this, half apologizing for the book's condition. The gentleman said the book, "Civil Aeronautics Administration," was from 1940, and he was really excited to find it. He said he had just graduated from Aviation Maintenance School and "...this book contains a wealth of information that's really hard to find on older planes. I can't wait to share it with my instructors."

A gentleman from Illinois who was working temporarily at Palisades Power Plant, had a day off and was driving around South Haven. He happened to see Black River Books and wondered if possibly there he would find a book he had been trying to find for over 20 years. The book was, “A Treasury of the Familiar,” a book of poetry and short essays and sayings edited by Ralph Woods. He stated he had found his original copy in someone’s trash along his walk home from school when he was in the 6th grade. He loved reading the book, and it became a treasure to him, “a book of knowledge that got me all through high school; a kind of second Bible,” he said. Then somehow as an adult, he lost the book in a move. He has been looking for it ever since then. Well, you know the rest. He did find his long-sought-after book at Black River Books.

A woman asked if we had any fairy tale books, so we went to the children’s room to look.  She immediately saw “Tales From Hans Andersen,” displayed on a top shelf.  Her eyes filled with tears, and her husband put his arm around her as he handed her the book.  She said, “This is THE very book I had as a little girl and had lost”. Her husband shared that while perusing our Military and War section, he had found a picture of the submarine he had served on in Scotland in the early 80’s.  “It gave me goose bumps!” he said, “This has been quite a day for us!”

A Grand Haven customer stated that she had been looking for some time for a particular cook book.  Two weeks ago she went to San Francisco and checked out two book stores there, one of which “had tons of cook books,” and she couldn’t find "Simca’s Cuisine".  “Here it is,” she said, when she found it at Black River Books!

A woman brought a tall children’s book with a pink plaid shiny jacket up to the counter.  “This was my favorite book when I was a little girl.”  The book was "The Lonely Doll" by Dare Wright.  I asked if she had come to the store looking for the book.  She said, no, she had just been browsing, and she wandered into the children’s room.  She said she saw the pink jacket and thought, “Could that be it?” and it was.  She said she had looked for the book when her daughter was born, but she couldn’t find it.  “Now I’m buying it for a future grand child.” “I’m a teacher,” she said, “and I buy a lot of books for my students, but this one is just for me!”

A gentleman came to the counter with a book to purchase.  “There’s a story behind this book,” he said.  “When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I checked this book out of the library time after time.  I was probably the only one who ever read it.”  The book was about aviation.  “See these pictures?” he said as he opened the book to show me pictures and silhouettes of various planes.  “I would draw these in the margins of my papers in school, and I dreamed of becoming an Air Force pilot one day.  And I DID!” he said. “But I could never find this book as an adult, because I couldn’t remember the name of it.”  Then his eyes filled with tears, as did mine as he said, “But there it was on your shelf!”

While I was ringing up the book for a customer, a couple came in and went right to the poetry section.  The woman pulled an older green book with still shiny gilt design on the boards.  “This must be it,” she said to her husband.  “It’s green with gold, and she said it was $8.  This book is $8.”  They brought the book, "Poems of Friendship" by John Howard, up to pay. They told me that their daughter had been in our store a few weeks ago, seen the book, wished she had purchased it, and asked them to look for it.  “Our daughter is going to England to see her male friend.  There is a poem in here she wants to read to him, and she wants to leave this book on his bed when she leaves him to come back home,” the mother said.  “She’s staying with his parents,” she quickly added.”

A woman, who has visited Black River Books often, recently bought a book, "Law in Action: An Anthology of the Law in Literature" for her dear friends' daughter's birthday. The daughter is applying to law schools after having completed a four-year degree in English. The customer reminded me that five years ago she began buying classic literature books at our store as birthday gifts for her friends' daughter when the girl decided to major in English in college against her parents' wishes. The parents had worried that their daughter wouldn't be able to use an English major in the real world. Our customer bought the literature books for the young woman anyway and told her to, "follow her dreams!" She reported that the college girl loved her gift books. Now five years and four birthdays later the young woman plans to incorporate her English degree with a law degree, so the title our customer chose for the next birthday gift she felt was just perfect!

An excited young woman from Indianapolis came to the counter with a copy of "Bryan: A Political Biography of William Jennings Bryan." She told us that William Jennings Bryan was her great great great uncle. Her father had told her that his own mother had, as a child, heard Mr. Bryan practice his orations. The young woman, when she was a fourth grader, had taken the family's copy of "Bryan" to school for a report on Mr. Bryan, and she had lost the book. She had never told her father what happened to the book. "And here it is! Now I can finally tell my father!"

"I saw it, and I gasped! An Anna Del Conte (Italian born food writer) cook book, here in South Haven! What a gem of a store."

Joan - not sure where from, but not from South Haven

Visitors From Afar


We have had customers from many different countries. Here they are in alphabetical order: Africa, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway Philippines, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turks & Caicos Islands, Uganda.

Satisfied Customers


One happy family.








She is finding some great books!

"I have looked for "Southern Women", by Susan Tucker, at Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Half-Price Books, but didn't find it until I came here."
"A year ago I bought "Julia Child, My Life in France". After that, I wanted to go to France, and we did - with our family. We had a great time. Books can change your life!"
- Zionsville, IN
"This is one of the best bookstores in the country."

- Chicago, IL

"Best used bookstore, hands down!!"

- Columbia, MD