Half Price Books Reviews

Updated July 2, 2015
102 reviews filtered by
  • Any Location
  • Any Job Title
  • Full-time
  • Part-time
Employment Status

Reset
3.2
Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Half Price Books President and CEO Sharon Anderson Wright
Sharon Anderson Wright
64 Ratings

Pros
  • the employee discount makes it easy to build an enviable collection (in 12 reviews)

  • ridiculously inexpensive health insurance, great employee discount, quarterly profit sharing (in 10 reviews)

Cons
  • As always in retail the pay is low but it''s made up for in benefits (in 7 reviews)

  • The pay is low but above minimum wage (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

102 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. Good and bad

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Corpus Christi, TX
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Corpus Christi, TX

    I worked at Half Price Books

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Nice discount, insurance is great, pay is not bad for retail. Flexible hours and day off requests.

    Cons

    They keep shrinking the amount of sick time and vacation leave available. They sent us a lot of 'new' stuff which is just stuff they bought cheaply from random distributors. And they MADE us put it out before anything else even if there was no room. I'm talking like fifty puzzles a week, when no one bought them.


  2. Great for a retail job

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Highland Park, IL
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Highland Park, IL

    I worked at Half Price Books full-time

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Casual work environment, frequent task rotation, good if you love books, nice discount, insurance package, overall great compared to other retail jobs

    Cons

    Pay is low, shifts are always changing (this can be a plus i guess)


  3. Great company to a point

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Half Price Books (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The benefits are outstanding and beyond compare

    Cons

    The business is changing and they're holding on the people and divisions out of loyalty

    Advice to Management

    There's a reason long time employees are quitting. Non-store employees aren't drones


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Shift Manager

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Shift Manager in Avon, IN
    Current Employee - Shift Manager in Avon, IN

    I have been working at Half Price Books full-time (More than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    This company has great benefits and insurance.

    Cons

    There are no set schedules. You can request certain times you would like off but the schedule open availability.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees better and you will get better results.


  6. Not relaxing as most would assume

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Shift Leader in Cleveland, OH
    Current Employee - Shift Leader in Cleveland, OH

    I have been working at Half Price Books (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great benefits, including supplemental life insurance and profit based bonuses. Vast array of tasks and jobs within your shift so you're never doing the same thing over and over again.

    Cons

    Pay is low for all that is required of you. You basically work as a retail clerk, a garbage man, a warehouse employee, and a babysitter for one small salary. Corporate keeps cutting back on employee benefits that were unique or unheard of for a retail company. Raises are minimal, you work every holiday, and there is little chance for advancement. Customers are becoming more and more rude and demanding and you must cater to their foolishness and entitlement.

    Advice to Management

    Stop treating employees like they should be grateful for having this job. It is hard, grueling work and it never lets up. Stop hiring people in marketing that have never worked in a store. Get more feedback from employees before rolling out ineffective and time wasting promotions and stop changing things that aren't broken with highly expensive piece of crap replacements.


  7. Current empoyee

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Shift Leader in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Shift Leader in Austin, TX

    I have been working at Half Price Books full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Fun place to work, flexible schedules, no day is ever the same.

    Cons

    More work for less money. Benefits keep going down every year making in almost impossible to want to stay there.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your long term employees better.


  8. Helpful (2)

    No Points For Trying

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Half Price Books full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Quirky, unique people work here which can make for great friendships. The pay and benefits are better than most retail chains. First dibs on new material. Very flexible with shift changes and requests for time off.

    Cons

    They don't know how to handle sexual harassment and rarely fire people who ANYWHERE ELSE would boot. Their technology is outdated and they are going to continue to have issues staying viable in the book world unless they change.

    Advice to Management

    Iron out the technology and listen to your veteran staff. The job now requires so much more than it used to and people don't feel compensated for it.


  9. Helpful (1)

    Was once a great place to work for, now not so much.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - On Line Bookseller in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - On Line Bookseller in Houston, TX

    I worked at Half Price Books full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits such as healthcare, vision and dental. 401 K plans, sick days and vacations. Really great employee discounts.

    Cons

    No overtime, ever. Employees that are lazy and refuse to work as a team, meaning you will be expected to take up the slack created by some of these manager's pet employees. Dirty work environment that may cause problems with employees with previous respiratory health problems. Older stores are not maintained because corporate is concerned with expanding into newer territories and refuses to hire professional cleaners to come in periodically and remove dust and allergens. Managers, assistant managers, shift leaders, and store inventory managers that are chosen not by their ability to do the work but based on favoritism which extends all the way from district regional managers up to the corporate level in Dallas. This means you can work there for years have excellent employee reviews and still get passed over for promotions unless you date, marry or kiss a manager's behind for quite awhile.

    Advice to Management

    District regional managers it might be time to reassess the people you have been allowing to manage your stores for years. These would be the Kirby and Montrose locations in Houston. Sure the store profits are high but it is because of the locations they are in not by the work of your store managers. They abuse their powers, neglect issues that occur within their stores and hide from the responsibilities that they were hired for in the first place. Also, District Regional Managers, and you know who you are, if you are married to one of your store managers within your operating region, then consider following the rules set by corporate, even though the CEO Sharon "Boots" Anderson Wright doesn't follow this rule herself. Remember she owns the company along with her sisters, and they can run the business into the ground if they chooses to do so, you cannot.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Poor Ethics

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Book Seller I in Frisco, TX
    Former Employee - Book Seller I in Frisco, TX

    I worked at Half Price Books full-time (More than 3 years)

    No opinion of CEO
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Well, they did pay me. Thanks.

    They do not actually recycle books, they claim to recycle but a large portion end up in the dumpsters behind the stores.

    Cons

    Wrongfully fired. Several people were fired in a short period of time by DM and store manager. Told by management that if the records being sold to us have a black person on the cover who is "dressed funky" than to buy the album because someone will buy it. Also asked to follow around black people to make sure they do not steal. Most employees refused. Some eagerly followed them around.

    Advice to Management

    Good luck.


  11. Helpful (1)

    Half Price Books:

    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller II in Bloomington, MN
    Former Employee - Bookseller II in Bloomington, MN

    I worked at Half Price Books full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Half Price Books provides a great access to rare and collectible media if you are an employee. Customers should be aware that the more often than not, the most sough after merchandise will never see store shelves, as part of an implicit business model initially focused on providing enough incentive for employees through its affordable (Sometimes free) media. Rare books, video games, dvds... entertainment of all kinds. However, this increasingly expensive way of keeping employees satisfied is slowly dying. Depending on location, you can expect a collegial environment of like-minded people (Also depending on interest).

    Cons

    I have seen Half Price Books slowly take shape into its current form for nearly 10 years. Bottom Line: This company is dying because 1.) The market is changing dramatically, making it difficult to be profitable and 2.) Half Price Books has failed miserably on all levels of management to see understand and acknowledge that its own practices have led to a quick demise than may have been before. Let me explain. Half Price Books, from my first days, has primarily been run by people who have little or not interest in seriously advancing in a meaningful or challenging career. The company actively seeks (and capitalizes on) relatively educated people who freshly obtained a degree in the liberal arts, but are unsure of where to go next. Take a look at the current application as of this writing. The majority of the questions are not about your strengths or weakness or what skills you may have, they are based on what types of books you read, what kind of music you like, what kind of movies you like. Your likelihood of getting hired is based on whether you like the same types of media as those you will be working with. Many of the people working there's highest aspiration is "Going into grad school sometime in the future." These are the people who are sought after (And I mean that literally) to work there because they are typically in for the long haul. After years of not upsetting anyone and fitting in with management (As you may have read from previous reviews, advancing in this company is actually and seriously difficult if you are not close friends with your immediate superior), an employee may be promoted. However, this advancement is not based on merit, work ethic, emotional intelligence, or most importantly, management skill, it is based on your longevity in the company and your outside interactions with your boss and your boss' boss. The reviews on this site have a very familiar theme of poor management (Some of which may be for superfluous reasons, as that is an easy criticism of any company you are upset with) and at the heart of it are what they seek as a company: Conformity. You are expected to fit in with a certain dynamic (Typically one many might consider a pseudo-intellectual, self-proclaimed movie/music critic, aspiring writer, or, yes, a hipster) For a company based on values of openness to ideas, free speech, and fair treatment of employees, they are notoriously closed off to these three components.

    The immediate superior of most employees is the shift leader. This position is designed to be a management position, but its candidates almost always fail in every component of a manager you could think of. Their job is to report serious issues to the assistant manager, who's job it is to report to the store manager... The store manager is expected to wait until the problem is severe and meets the criteria for a Write-Up before actually acting on it. For example, I worked with a number of people who felt it beneath them to show up on time, who were consistently abusive to fellow employees, people without manners or professionalism, who used sexist and profane language in front of customers, and who engaged in extrememly inappropriate debates while on the sales floor (Politics, religion). Instead of confronting an employee about their behavior on the outset, the shift lead tells the store leader, who often contacts his superior on what exactly to do (Though to be fair, my store manager was a stereotypical coward and passive-aggessivist). The employee often (because they generally lack self-awareness) has no idea what they are doing until months later. And often instead of confronting them directly, the manager will bring up the issue generally and ask ALL employees to cease said behavior, leaving every other employee confused and the person who actually did it, more likely than not, still unaware.

    Half Price Books has been a company for a long time. Around the time I started (mid-2000s) they were outrageously profitable. Profits came because they had a franchise model and cornered the market around the country, becoming the most successful chain of used book stores ever founded. Making money was extremely easy. Margins were ridiculous. However, not long after I started, the company's profits slowed and they became more restricted and far more conservative. Their idealism of providing free health care to all employees was one of their greatest benefits. You did not have to pay a dime for health care as an employee back then. However, once the money wasn't pooring in en masse, they realized health care for all employees is outrageously expensive. 2 years later they began charging for it. A modest cost, still beneficial. Then they changed providers: Every.Year. As you can imagine, the quality of these programs was less with each one, while the cost per employee steadily rose. However, benefits were incredible. But things were still good, we received healthy profit checks and christmas bonuses. A steady and persistent decrease with each year. What once may have been a couple thousand extra dollars per year amounted to less than 80% of that as of this writing, with 2 out of the 3 last quarters having no profit checks (perhaps no profits, however, it is a private company so who knows..Also, it is rumored these are being taken away as well). Holidays, sick days, vacation days... Those have recently been cut by 25% or more on all fronts. Everything that once kept the typical half price books employee happy was taken away or drastically reduced.

    The bottom line is this company is finally realizing how difficult it is to successfully run a profitable business that is fair to its employees. They were able to do it when it was easy, but by the time they saw the dam cracked, they panicked and did what most people do when its too late: try to ease the pain of the inevitable. They realized how damaging it is to advance people with no experience or skill into very senior levels of management that often require advanced training to do successfully. They saw why companies struggle to offer huge perks, free insurance, and profit sharing to everyone they hire. They have finally been forced to acknowledge that the market is dying and that the gravy train has stopped. This company is a shell of what it once was, partially because of its own practices, but also part of just the way the book market has gone.

    Barnes and Noble is managed by people with actual experience in the business world and is shutting down hundreds of stores in the next few years. Half Price Books is the story of 2 hippies in a laundromat accidentally striking gold. How likely is it that a naive, idealistic hippie, and a patchwork band of liberal arts majors can keep her parent's company afloat?

    Advice to Management

    Enjoy your jobs while you have them and jump ship when you can. The Flood is coming to Half Price Books and they will not provide for you a place on the Ark.

    To "Boots" and anyone at DM level and above: It is time to level with your employees and come clean.



Showing 102 of 108 reviews
Reset Filters
RSS Feed </> Embed

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.