Buy Guy Collections & Curiosities: Happy Birthday, Jerry!

It’s startling to think that the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia would’ve turned 74—yes, 74—this August 1! He’s been gone for more than twenty years, but Deadheads around the world will be celebrating his long, strange trip. HPB employee Don is one of them (we call him Don of the Dead), and he’s turned much of his home into a Grateful Dead shrine.

In the second in our series of videos featuring our employees’ collections—See the first one here, we recently visited with Don to see a few “high”-lights from his extensive collection.

We know Don will be busy this week rearranging his Dead souvenirs while he has the band cranked on the stereo. Although I’m not a Deadhead, I do have American Beauty on vinyl, and I’ll be giving it a spin!

Steve is the”Buy Guy” at Half Price Books Corporate.

Local Store Events Round-Up: August 2016


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Phoenix – Camelback

First Sunday Storytime
Pack up your half-pint readers and come to your Camelback HPB for Storytime Sundays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 1 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month. All young readers and listeners are welcome!


Citrus Heights

Summer Safari Children’s Camp
Look for the HPB booth at Citrus Town Center’s FREE Summer Safari Children’s Camp on the first and third Friday of the month, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. We’ll have store info and FREE HPB tote bags. After camp, join us at Half Price Books for Children’s Storytime from 12:15 – 1:15.

Storytime Sundays
Pack up your half-pint readers and come to your Citrus Heights HPB for Storytime Sundays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 2 p.m. every Sunday. All ages are welcome!


HPB at Fremont Festival of the Arts
Look for the HPB booth at the Fremont Festival of the Arts in downtown Fremont on Saturday and Sunday, August 6 & 7, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. We’ll have coupons and free tote bags while supplies last. And, don’t forget to check out our store in The Fremont Hub.

Kent Evans & Zoombie Morgan Performances
Meet writer and performer Kent Evans along with music producer and guitarist Zoombie Morgan at your Fremont HPB on Saturday, August 13, from 2 to 3 p.m. Join us for a book reading/performance from these two members of the Bilingual Prog-Rock group Epic Fail. Kent and Zoombie are also promoting the release of the first Epic Fail single, “Dr. Gypsy”, featuring Carl Restivo.

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Pocket Paperbacks: You Can Judge a Book by Its Cover (Rarest of Rare Collectibles)

Pocket paperbacks have always been a large segment of HPB’s product mix, but we’re seeing fewer of them now, as much genre fiction has migrated into electronic delivery modes. But we still devote considerable store space to them, and we still find a place for collectible PBs from the mid-twentieth century.

Paperbacks were first popularized in England by Penguin Books, which issued its first ten titles simultaneously in 1935. Mass-market PBs were introduced in America on a large scale by Pocket Books in 1939. Many other publishers followed, and this affordable, handy form of reading material has been bought for convenience and thrift ever since.

There’s a reason pocket-sized paperbacks are called “mass-market”—they were created as an alternative to the hardcover editions the “masses” couldn’t always afford. They were generally cheaply made and weren’t really meant to last a long time. But some have indeed lasted and are still eagerly sought, primarily for their cover art that so thrillingly reflects the pop culture of its time.

We’d like to present some fine examples being offered by three of our stores, the South Lamar location in Austin, Texas, the Countryside, Illinois location, and the Dallas Flagship location in Texas.

Death on Scurvy Street by Ben Ames Williams
Popular Library #194, 1949
Mysteries in the lurid-cover, murder-and-sex pulp fiction PB form are mainstays of fans’ collections. This minor 1929 mystery by prolific author Ben Ames Williams was resurrected and hyperbolized in this late-forties paperback edition. If this cover by Rudolph Belarski doesn’t lure you in, maybe the cover blurb will: “She waited for love and got murder.”


First Paperback Printing. Very Good +, $12

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If You Like Me Before You, You May Also Like…

Me-Before-You-Jojo-MoyesIf you are part of the HPB Book Club, you are currently reading or perhaps just finished Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes, which is a book all hopeless romantics must read. At the beginning of the book, gregarious waitress Louisa Clark loses her job, and being one of the only working members of her family, she needs to find a new job fast. The problem is she isn’t really trained to do anything. Enter Will Traynor. After an accident left Will paralyzed, his family needs to find a caregiver for him, but they are not looking for someone who will look after his physical needs as much as they need someone to show him that his life is still worth living. Louisa Clark seems perfect for this. However, as Will and Louisa’s relationship grows, she discovers Will has a secret, and her job turns out to have greater consequences than she ever imagined. Me Before You is a book that will make you laugh, cry and just maybe plan a trip to Paris. Continue reading

Video Games of Yore

Half Price Books has lots of dedicated video game-buying customers, so we want to salute them with a stroll through some collectible games from ancient history (the 90s). The Buy Guy isn’t much of a video gamer—I must admit I’ve never actually played one. So I’ve recruited a resident gamer, Customer Care Specialist Jeremy, to offer some comments on some of the video game gems that have turned up recently in our stores. Put that controller down and help us out here, Jeremy!

OK, Buy Guy! Let’s start with a classic that is being offered by our Highland Park store in the Chicago area: Mega Man 4 (1991)


System: NES. Original packaging, black NES game sleeve, and instructions included. $40.

Despite being the fourth game in a long-standing series, Mega Man 4 features some notable firsts for fans to enjoy. It’s the first appearance of Mega Man’s Mega Buster, a new default weapon that can be charged for a more powerful blast. A new villain, Dr. Cossack, takes the place of the infamous Dr. Wily from the first three games in the series. Continue reading