The US Marines have a saying ‘once a marine, always a marine’. The concept is so engrained that you never say ‘ex-marines’, but rather ‘former’ or ‘retired’. I have a feeling that The Folio Society works in rather the same way. Once a Folio member always a Folio member – even if you don’t happen to be buying books at the moment.
Our Marketing Director, Toby, was sitting on a bench in Red Lion Square the other day eating his sandwich and reading a Folio book (without getting grease on the pages – fear not!), when he was approached by a lady. ‘Another Folio member!’ she said by way of introduction. She was surprised to find out The Folio Society was based just around the corner and lamented that since she wasn’t a current member she couldn’t drop by. Naturally Toby led her at once to the Member’s Room and told her to make herself at home. Once a Folio member, always a Folio member, you see. Anyway these days we don’t ban you from buying books if you’re not a member – we just don’t give you lovely discounts and gifts!
It works for employees too. Once a Folio member of staff, always a Folio member of staff. The idea is in my thoughts because after seven years at Folio, I am leaving. Indeed, it says a great deal about The Folio Society that seven years does not count as especially long service. There are numerous members of staff who have been here over 25 years, even more have reached the 10 year mark and been presented with a glass at the annual Christmas luncheon. Alas, this honour will not be mine – unless of course, like plenty of other members of staff I return one day. The more I think about life without limited editions to drool over, leather samples to stroke, exciting new artworks to look at and fascinating new subjects to learn about (burins, brayers and spitstickers, for example), the more I wonder how I can bear to go.
But I couldn’t stop being part of Folio, even if I wanted to. Lovingly acquired Folio books will continue to line my bookshelves. My husband will still curse every time he trips over the limited edition box, which is too large for the bookcase and lives on the floor. I won’t stop buttonholing strangers at parties and enthusing on the delights of Folio books… Nor, will I stop buying Folio books. In fact, I shall finally be eligible for a joining offer – now I just have to choose!