While Borders succumbed to bankruptcy at 40 years old, and Barnes & Noble’s financial strife has yet to be cured, the Grim Reaper isn’t coming for Half Price Books any time soon.
In a market that e-commerce companies like Amazon and Apple currently dominate, Half Price Books— whose flagship store is located at the edge of our neighborhood — is flourishing.
“I think we were already positioned to deal with this world,” CEO Sharon Anderson Wright told D. “We’ve always done well in good times and bad times. When the economy is way down, people can afford to come and buy a bunch of books. The crazier things get, the calmness of a book is going to be even more appealing.”
Texas Monthly’s Dan Solomon delved into the company’s success in “An Ode to Half Price Books.” Full disclosure: Solomon started working for the chain at age 22 and married one of his co-workers, so he’s incredibly attached to the bookstore.
“After 45 years, Half Price is an institution in Texas,” Solomon writes. “Forty-five of those 122 stores are right here, in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, College Station, Tyler, and more. Some are brightly-lit retailers that recall big-box stores. Others are small, with walls decorated with beat-up paperback covers and old records lovingly displayed by employees who quit working there years earlier. But no matter the size, the stores beckon not only bargain-hunters, but those who seek the immediate gratification of a physical purchase that a click on Amazon Prime just can’t provide.”