Half Price Books

www.halfpricebooks.com

Half Price Books Reviews

Updated January 27, 2015
Updated January 27, 2015
89 Reviews
3.4
89 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Half Price Books President and CEO Sharon Anderson Wright
Sharon Anderson Wright
62 Ratings

Review Highlights

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 Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Good Benefits

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

    I worked at Half Price Books

    Pros

    Most of the customers are friendly and easy to interact with because for the most part they are well read. Management focuses on promoting from within, especially when the right people are available.

    Cons

    As is general with retail, most of the staff are unmotivated and tend towards lax behavior. Management could possibly offer more positive incentives to improve on work habits and skills.

  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Shift Leader

    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Half Price Books

    Pros

    great co-workers, access to amazing merchandise, relaxed atmosphere, good discount, good health insurance

    Cons

    dismal wages, poor leadership, irregular schedule, physically stressful, unhappy customers

  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Was Once A Great Company to Work At

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

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

    Pros

    Discounts on books, DVD's and CD's. Good healthcare and 401 K program.

    Cons

    District managers that will not follow company rules regarding spouses working within the same region. Managers that are blind to problems within their employees and favoritism. Promotions based on friendship instead of past work performance and more on nepotism. If you look closer into this company you will see the problem starts with the CEO and trickles down which allows this type of behavior to prevail. I saw this first hand when I was sent to Dallas to train for a new position in the company. They were more interested in drinking and spending company funds on partying, than the job at hand. If the rest of the employees nationwide knew how much money is squandered on the daily drinking "meetings" by the upper management, I believe they would mutiny. But hey, what do you expect when the CEO didn't earn the position, by was given it, due to simple fact that her mother owned the company and then put her husband in the number two seat?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sorry I cannot offer any advice because most of the store managers got their jobs by brown nosing the district managers. I know this first hand after working solo in a position that required two employees to perform the daily tasks for over six months. Instead of being rewarded for a job being done very well, (according to my yearly review) I was passed over for a promotion that the district manager said didn't exist. It was given to his lackey, that didn't even work in my department. Five years later the company decides to move the entire department to Dallas, effectively laying off everyone in my department with the exception of the district manager's boot lick that was given my promotion.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good co workers, ok management, poor pay rate

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

    I worked at Half Price Books

    Pros

    co workers- great people
    discount
    profit sharing
    great training
    flexible scheduling

    Cons

    Low start pay rate
    little accountability for shift leads

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Rapidly changing market, not so rapidly changing company.

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

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

    Pros

    Benefits, even though they have been curtailed. Still some of the best healthcare insurance and employee discounts one can get, especially in the Red State markets HPB tends to operate in. If you like books, music, and movies, this is the place for you. HPB is also a very diverse workplace.

    Cons

    Every store is understaffed, but that's American retail today. The buying process is stressful and will burn most folks out. Managers are constantly under tremendous pressure from corporate and the day to day operations of the store.
    Policies change or are reversed without any coherent planning. It's impossible to have a predictable work schedule, apparently. Working on the weekends or at night is inevitable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Plan ERP/POP/OFS rollouts more efficiently. Please, please go to a credit system for buys. Don't micro-manage the store environments. Stop trying to train every bookseller to do everything, go to a specialist model.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    Long time employee

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

    I worked at Half Price Books full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Books! Interesting work, co-workers, benefits.

    Cons

    I worked for Half Price Books for more than 15 years, and the pros out weighed the cons for many years. When I left, I left feeling burnt out and disappointed in a company I worked my butt off for so many years. The expectations senior management and corporate put on the stores was ridiculous. Stores are seriously understaffed for the amount of work that needed to be done. The amount of vacation time you could accrue was great, but it was difficult to use up, because staffing was so tight.

    Holidays felt like a piece of cake, if you can manage to get through a summer with Half Price Books. Customers might bring in 30 boxes of books that they couldn't sell at a garage sale, you sort through everything and come up with a few titles that you might be able to sell, then you get to give the customer an offer of a couple of dollars, as you stand there smiling, they roll their eyes at you and tell you that you are ripping them off. You then get to spend the next half hour cleaning up the mess and taking all 30 boxes out to recycling. Then you start all over again. Forgot to mention, that you are also answering customer questions, answering the phone and fulfilling orders at the same time. Meanwhile, five other customers have come in and are standing with more bags of books to sell, getting impatient because you can't get to them soon enough. Somehow, you also need to get the books processed and on the shelf, and deal with the hundred of DVDs and CDs that come in everyday and that are virtually worthless.

    Many of the half thought out changes that corporate implemented, seemed reactionary and fear based and hardly fostered a positive work environment. When I started, I felt the thrill of something new everyday and what treasure was I going to find? At the end, it wasn't about the books anymore. I was shoveling them through as fast as I could and could have been working in any retail environment. I think Boots needs to let go of the claim that "we're all one big happy family". The company has grown to the point that employees don't feel seen or heard anymore. I don't think I can walk in the door of any of the stores for a very long time, and that makes me very sad.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Best. Job. Ever.

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

    I have been working at Half Price Books full-time

    Pros

    I really enjoy how laid back the entire company is, from the store all the way to the top. It isn't unusual for the CEO to randomly pop in and say hello. I've heard it be said that this is a "hippie company" and they really live up to that. Love everyone, be good to the customers, employees, and the environment are the values they live by and it shows.

    In addition to the laid back atmosphere, you really feel like you're making a difference. You're helping people learn and you're also learning in return. The feeling of reward is unparalleled in any job I have ever had and I know through talking to many other employees that the feeling is very widespread. It's very unusual to have a job that makes you happy to come to work, but this is definitely it.

    And of course, the benefits. The benefits are amazing. You have the option of a normal plan or a premium plan and both are extremely affordable and it covers too much to list. They also offer benefits for same-sex couples and families too. The pay is also amazing for any retail store, let alone one that sells half price merchandise.

    Cons

    There really isn't too much to list. Every store is different and everyone's experience will differ depending on the location and management. My experience has been quite good, as has most of the other HPB employees I know.

    If there is one "con" it's probably the fact that there isn't as much of an opportunity to climb up the ladder as there might be at other jobs. Because of the pros listed above there isn't as much turn-over as there is at other retail establishments. However, because the pay is quite good and the yearly pay increase is fair, not to mention bonuses, it's definitely possible to live comfortably as a bookseller.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work. I would consider a pay increase (albiet smaller than for a shift leader) for ASIM's and M.O.D.'s since they're fulfilling those duties as well as being a bookseller, but that's really more a suggestion and not a complaint.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    A wonderful job for young parents in need of health care.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Saint Paul, MN
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Saint Paul, MN

    I worked at Half Price Books full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Fellow employees are great and the job is fun. PTO and health benefits are beyond generous. If you like to collect books, records, movies, etc. the employee discount makes it easy to build an enviable collection. Almost all management positions are filled in house and promotion is common.

    Cons

    It is retail so you need to develop a thick skin for dealing with customers. In some districts there is a lot of micromanaging.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    Steadily Going Downhill

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

    I have been working at Half Price Books full-time

    Pros

    The benefits package was stellar, and its still pretty great. Paid vacations and healthcare are the biggest pro of this job.

    Cons

    They keep taking away our benefits. The profit-based bonuses are gone... the insurance isn't as good as it used to be... and while they raised the store minimum wage, they slashed our hours making it not a raise at all. The hours are HORRIBLE and completely random. The dress code keeps getting stricter and stricter to the point of making HPB just another bland corporate chain with no soul.
    They are becoming less and less environmentally friendly by investing more in brand new books and crappy gift items that hardly ever sell.
    They're losing what made them great.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop alienating your workers. Give people consistent, fair schedules.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    A once great company is going bad.

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

    I worked at Half Price Books full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    If you want good health benefits and a chummy work environment, Half Price Books is the place. It is hippy/hipster paradise where you get hands-on with old texts and rare/weird movies and memorabilia. If you find a location with good co-workers, you'll have a good time.

    Cons

    The company does not operate by its own rules. It promotes environmental awareness, but I worked at a location that literally threw thousands of brand new books away over the course of 3 days while moving store locations. There wasn't enough room to put the books in the new store, so instead of donating or recycling them, we threw them all in the garbage.

    The kicker?

    When students from the local university began pulling the books out of the dumpster (which only had books in it - we had gotten an extra dumpster just for all the books), our managers called the police on them. Then it started raining later that night. Thousands of brand new books were destroyed.

    Since the manager of that location now has a better position at a bigger location, I can only assume that this type of behavior is encouraged or rewarded by the company as a whole.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire kind and caring managers, not penny pinchers. Remember what made your company special in the first place. You will never win competing against big chains, so stop trying to make all your stores look like theirs. Be a little grimy, a little dirty, a little cavey, and thereby different and interesting.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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