Half Price Books

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Half Price Books Reviews

Updated Jul 10, 2014

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All Employees Current Employees Only

3.7 71 reviews

88% Approve of the CEO

Half Price Books President and CEO Sharon Anderson Wright

Sharon Anderson Wright

(50 ratings)

73% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • If you want to buy any merchandise, the employee discount is generous(in 10 reviews)

  • Great health benefits and 401k, profit sharing(in 10 reviews)


Cons
  • As always in retail the pay is low but it''s made up for in benefits(in 6 reviews)

  • Many employees stay for 10 plus years, leaving very little room for advancement within the company(in 3 reviews)

71 Employee Reviews
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    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Best job I've had so far.

    Cashier (Former Employee) Louisville, KY

    ProsEveryone I worked with was intelligent and fun, the pay for a part-time cashier's job was great, the discounts were amazing, and who doesn't like being around books all day?

    ConsVery rigid schedule- had to work 28 hrs/wk, every week (only 7 less than full-time), which was really difficult as a full-time student. My store's GM was also really hard to read and made everyone nervous.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFlexibility with schedules for the part-timers, please!!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Big issues with distant management.

    Help Desk (Former Employee) Dallas, TX

    ProsGood benefits, great discounts/free merchandise. There are a lot of awesome people working there, but they are all at the bottom (where you will most likely be as well)

    ConsLittle opportunity for advancement, as they hire externally for management positions.
    Management unconcerned with the ideas of their subordinates.

    Advice to Senior ManagementListen to your employees, and stop hiring externally for management when you have perfectly qualified candidates (multiple!) in house.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    This job is stressful!!

    Bookseller/Shiftleader/Store Inventory Manager (Current Employee) Dallas, TX

    ProsBenefits, a few interesting people, great discounts...All in all it's not the worst job I've ever had. Some of my managers have been great, and I have made a ton of great friends. Christmas bonuses are nice.

    ConsEveryday I go to work there is a new rule. Many of the people who work in corporate worked their way up from the bottom, have been there for 20+ years, but haven't worked in an actual store since the 70's. They seem completely out of touch with how the stores run today. As a result of recent economic decline, and the advent of the e-reader, it has become neccessary for HPB to implement new programs to try to keep up with the market's changing demands. In the midst of re-training employees to use these new programs, (which takes extra time) HPB has also been slowly cutting back on staffing levels. This makes it literally impossible to complete the many different tasks that are assigned. I often find that I am simply unable to offer an excellent level of customer service because I am constantly spread so thin. The corporate office keeps adding more work for the booksellers, and taking away employees. I have worked here for years, and am sad to say that this used to ba a good company to work for, and maybe it will be again someday, but for now the book biz just sucks.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThe corporate level employees need to put more trust in their store managers, and quit micromanaging them to death. I also think that most of the corporate employees could use a week or two actually working in a store. I know that this is laughable, but seriously, I just wish that they could have a taste of just how ridiculous the workload has become. Trust your people in the trenches, we're the ones who see what people actually buy everyday. We are the people who interact with the customers, and who process all of the used merchandise. I'm tired of hearing about our low sales, when part of the reason for them are all of the wasted manhours we spend trying to follow useless rules that were invented by a person who hasn't a clue of how they will play out in real life. Everything doesn't have to be completely standardized. A little autonomy could go a long way.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Best company I ever worked for.

    Store Inventory Merchandiser/Service Desk Tech I (Former Employee) Dallas, TX

    ProsFun job! Great co-workers, profit share bonuses every 3 months, really cheap premium PPO medical and dental, 401k, tattoos and expressive attire welcomed. Very supportive company and easy to move up if you work hard, low turn over rate. Very down to earth people including corporate.

    Consstarting hourly pay pretty low but bonuses and loving your job makes up for it.

    Advice to Senior ManagementOpen a store in Hot Springs, AR so I can come work for you again! I miss it

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Corporate culture is taking over

    District Training Coordinator (Former Employee) Dallas, TX

    ProsThe discount, and health insurance are amazing. Cool people tend to work there and happiness ensues

    Consthe pay sucks, they removed the one hour paid lunch, the stores are getting more and more corporate and there is an old guard so it is hard to advance without being super political

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    For retail, HPB is a pretty plum gig

    Bookseller (Former Employee) Austin, TX

    Pros**Who doesn't love a bookstore? You get to work around a variety of media and get an exposure to types of literature that you might not have any previous knowledge of.
    **Insurance and PTO are major plusses. Three tiers of insurance to choose from, and the base plan is affordable while offering solid coverage. Sick and vacation time accrue independently, and as long as you ask off far enough in advance they are accommodating with personal schedules. Taking vacation time is encouraged, but using sick time is discouraged unless you're seriously ill.
    **If you want to buy any merchandise, the employee discount is generous. They also let you check items out 'library style' for up to a month.
    **Everyone gets a steady 35 hours per week. They recently adjusted the starting wage to $10.00 and bumped all the current employee's rates accordingly. Our store did a constant-type schedule where you essentially worked the same hours from week to week, which helped with punctuality and attendance.
    **All promotions are from within the store, so there is room to move up. Many people at corporate started out in stores as booksellers.
    **Store management will give you the space and freedom to run your assigned sections independently. They will usually give you up to what you are capable of handling, but not over. Constant feedback is provided in terms of how your section sales stack up against other areas of the store.
    **The company has established a good reputation in the community over the years, by being environmentally conscious, donating books to schools/non-profits, and providing a good product at a reasonable price. Every time I told someone where I worked, the response was almost universally “oh I love that place!”

    Cons**Two words- Buy Counter. There are no limitations on what people can bring in to sell, and about half of what comes through is utter trash. People bring full boxes of items covered in animal feces, live insects, urine stains, and literal garbage. It’s a health hazard and people should really have more consideration exposing others to their junky materials.
    **Customers will occasionally balk or become irate from an offer, but generally these situations are rare and handled by someone on the management level.
    **Dust EVERYWHERE, but that is to be expected. This place is not for those with allergies or weak immune systems.
    **In my experience, training was adequate and seemed to follow a formula, but as new employees came in during my tenure, I felt like they were not getting the same information and thus took more time and energy to show them the 'right' way of doing things.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDon't make all the stores carbon copies of one another! Part of the magic of HPB is discovering the special feel and unique offerings of each location. Keep expanding into new markets and keep current with POS and inventory technology. Hire people that have a love of books and are familiar with the chain as customers. Retain the excellent benefits that you provide and you will in turn retain quality people, which will keep everybody happy and maintain the bottom line.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    HPB rocks

    Bookseller (Current Employee) Dallas, TX

    ProsGreat employees, Benefits, Profit Bonus, Pet friendly.

    ConsPay, retail work schedule, dealing with public.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    For the most part, great company, great benefits, and few problems.

    Bookseller (Former Employee)

    ProsPTO is fantastic, health benefits are very good, family-like atmosphere among employees, busy but fairly relaxed environment, and books, books, books!

    ConsLow hourly pay with small yearly raises, becoming more corporate focused with every store expected to be the same, bottom line is quickly becoming more important than the customers and employees, inconsistency with rules and practices in stores.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMore manager training is needed for new and seasoned managers, I have seen actions by managers that were overlooked for far too long. The same rules need to apply to all employees, not just lowly booksellers.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Great atmosphere! Working retail sucks, generally poor management.

    Bookseller, Assistant Manager, Manager, Inventory Manager (Former Employee)

    ProsMerchandise discount and first to see what comes in. Pleasant atmosphere. Usually decent staff if management hires correctly. Meet some nice customers. I've held all positions and bookseller is the less stressful and maybe the best, except for the low pay. They will continue to survive in the bookstore environment because all stores sell all merchandise online.

    ConsLots. Was with the company for many years until our store closed. Promotion only comes from within, so management has risen through the ranks. If you do become a manager, it is most likely because of seniority, which doesn't usually lead to the best managers. Training is short and sweet, for all positions. Pay is low, starting at $8-$9 per hour with yearly small increases. Benefits are great, which is why people are drawn in. Healthcare, great 401K. Generous vacation and sick time, abused by those who are abusers. The atmosphere tends to bring out drama with coworkers, due to being a very lax and casual environment. The old adage, 20% of the people do 80% of the work, is a given in this environment. The stores have long hours, with varying shifts. Be ready to work odd days, hours, and schedules. And remember, there are only 2 holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and everyone is usually required to work all shifts. Can be physically and mentally a bit difficult. Life is much better away from this company. Sorry!

    Advice to Senior ManagementShorten your hours! You could save on cost and probably need less employees. Mostly creepers out after dinner hour. Makes for a lazy evening staff and a sometimes unpleasant customer base, if you get my drift!
    More training for managers! Most managers are clueless and don't know they've done something wrong until they are in trouble. Anticipate problems before they happen. Upper management is ill equipped to handle so many stores in a district, making most district managers barely seen or available when problems arise. Listen to your managers, they are the ones working the daily grind. As you grow this corporate environment, you are loosing the HPB old school feel. Maybe that's what is wanted. Because in the end, its a money monster, right? And notice who your really good people are. They are the ones that should continue and should move up the ranks. Seems you loose the good ones because they move on to better money and jobs. Too bad for HPB!

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Long term and stuck

    Assistant Manager (Current Employee) Dallas, TX

    ProsGreat discounts, honest work, and a chance to share something you love (books) with people.

    ConsGreenwashing, full-time employment is only 35 hours a week, skills learned do not really help anywhere else, cronyism, and an alarming number of customers who have no interest in books.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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