It’s That Time Again!

It only happens three times each year. What am I talking about? COUPON WEEK at your local Half Price Books!

Different districts and regions have different weeks for their coupon sales, but I imagine most will be in July at some point because annual sales are annual sales, and there are more to plan and execute.

Anyway, down here in Houston coupon week is THIS week. Which means if you’re on the HPB mailing list, then you’ve already gotten your coupons for the week. If you’re not, then visit your local store and sign up!

For those of you eyeing that latest bestseller, the coupons work on those too! Think about this. Let’s say you want the newest John Sanford book. The retail price is probably $28. Which means the regular 20% off price drops you down nearly $6. Which means Amazon is still cheaper. But you’ve lucked out and someone has sold back their copy to HPB. Now the price is only $14. But you walk in with your 50% off coupon on Sunday and that NYT bestseller suddenly dropped down to $7! You see!? Magic! Go, go!

The Biggest Lie You’ll Hear in a Bookstore

“Shh. You have to be quiet in the bookstore.”

Bookstores have cafes and coffee shops inside them. They have kids running around and people searching for books. Sure they may be somewhat quiet when compared to other retail establishments, but there’s hardly an unwritten rule.

At my store we are constantly paging customers and employees over the loud speaker. Customers and employees are constantly interacting. Music is playing just about every minute the store’s doors are open. Sure people may not like the sound of the crying baby right next to them in the store, but that has nothing to do with it being a bookstore. People become nervous around crying babies no matter where they are.

Also, the door at my store makes a sound when it opens. Just another sound added to the many coming from bookstores.

So the next time you hear someone tell their kid to be quiet because it’s a bookstore, maybe call them on their lie.

Do you think bookstores need to be more quiet than any other place of business? I surely don’t.

Neil Gaiman Might Actually be a Rockstar

I’ve said it before that Gaiman is one of the most recommended authors to me, and American Gods is one of the most recommended titles of any author I’ve ever known of. Well I’m now understanding why. He’s actually a rockstar.

I know this because he recently released a new book and the store carried it. Our new releases are usually 20% off the cover price. Which is less of a discount than other booksellers, but that’s what it is. So when customers see the price of $20 or $22 they sometimes decide to go elsewhere for their book. But not for Gaiman. His books were signed and we got enough to take up an entire shelf on our new releases display (probably 12-16 books) and I think all but one has sold.

Not bad, Mr. Gaiman. You little rockstar.

We also did the same with Anderson Cooper’s new book recently.

Do you agree? You think Neil Gaiman is actually a rockstar?

Is This Right?

We have a running joke at the store about James Patterson whenever the person running the mystery or paperback sections gets a little mouthy. That we’ll buy ALL the James Patterson. It’s funny because it basically happens already.

But summer is our busiest time of the year and now we’ve hit a snag. We’re low on Patterson! Ha! In our daily meetings we’ve been told to buy more Patterson (and a few other authors) because we’re very low on his books. Welp. Some things you just don’t expect to hear.

But to my knowledge, Janet Evanovich and John Grisham are still crowding our shelves. *sigh*

This Week in Books: HPB Half Pint Library

I’ve already written about HPB’s Half Pint Library donations on here once, but now we’re down to the wire. The Half Pint Library is a month long period of donations. The company asks customers to donate kids and young adult books to help build libraries in the community. And HPB matches the donations, but in reality the company donates a a great many more books than customers will.

The month of donations ends tomorrow! So if you have any kids or young adult books just collecting dust on your shelf, then get those books over to your local HPB! And do it fast!

On Strangers

Have you ever been in a public place and a random person just feels the need to chat you up about something completely random? We all have been, right?

Well today it happened to me at the store. A customer was talking to a coworker of mine about something entirely unrelated to a bookstore. And then proceeded to do the same with me. She probably spent 10-15 minutes talking to us about random things we weren’t interested in. It was odd. And then it made me wonder if I’ve ever done that. Just gone on and on with someone who was trying to find the quickest way out. I hope not.

Ever been chatted up by a stranger in a bookstore?

Half Pint Book Drive

How many of you utilize your neighborhood HPB store? Well for the month of April Half Price Books is accepting and matching donations of kids and young adult books to build libraries in the community in schools and other educational centers.

So what are you waiting for!? Go donate some books for the kiddos!

On Mascots

I’m sure you’re thinking this is completely random, but no. See, HPB has a mascot. And it’s a bookworm, naturally. But we have it on some current bookmarks and on posters throughout the store right now. And it’s kind of scaring me. I mean, am I the only one?
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Unexpected Bestsellers

The term bestseller in this instance doesn’t mean on any bestseller list. It just means a book that sells REALLY well. And I’ve come across one in particular since my switch to a new section of my store. First, my new section is education and parenting. So you’ll have primary education workbooks, textbooks for teachers, all things science, and parenting.

One of the things I’ve noticed in the past is that we ALWAYS have What to Expect When You’re Expecting. People want babies, I guess. But what I didn’t realize is how many people are actually looking for it. There’s a new edition on the way, but I checked Amazon out of curiosity last night and it’s in the top 100 bestselling books on the site! Seriously.

A book that came out in 2008 and isn’t young adult. That was a bit of a surprise to me. It’s the bestselling pregnancy book on the site.

Have you ever come across a book that sold way more copies than you’d have thought?