Love in the Stacks: A Bookstore Romance

Many a Half Price Books employee has found love in the stacks while working at our little bookstore chain over the years. Our founders, Ken Gjemre and Pat Anderson were a couple when they founded Half Price Books in a converted laundromat in Dallas way back in 1972. Pat’s daughter and current HPB CEO, Sharon Anderson Wright, even met her husband, Ken, while working at HPB.

You’ll find book-loving couples across the chain, so in honor of Valentine’s Day, let’s meet some of our bibliomaniac booklovers from Austin!

 John and Maggie


How Their Love Story Began:

These young booklovers met when Maggie started working as a bookseller at an HPB John had been at for a few years. Maggie described him as the “intimidating one all the other employees were afraid of.” She managed to see him for the softy he really is and they became friends for about a year before they began dating. Maggie says that, even though she has moved on to her permanent job as a librarian (We know, cute, right?!), they still love talking “shop!”

Describe each other by using one author or book, and why?

John is The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway meets Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

Maggie is How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Everyone makes plans for houses, dogs, kids etc…but how are you planning your book future together?

“When I shop for books, I think about the classics that I want our future children to read,” says Maggie, “Also, now that we’re in our first house, we have the sense of permanence and the space to build a great collection.”

Which room is each’s respective “reading room”?

John likes sprawling on the couch and Maggie likes curling up in the bedroom.

 How will you decide how to organize your collection?

Our book organizational method is a work in progress. (But we think the librarian might win out.)

And it’s not just employees finding love at our stores. HPB shopper Kathryn’s boyfriend sent her on a scavenger hunt that ended at our store in Algonquin, IL. Kathryn found an engagement ring hidden in a copy of Harry Potter, with a glittery feather sticking out from the pages marking the book.


Ever been on a date at HPB? Tell us when in the comments!

Emily is Public Relations Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.

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