Go Back to the Throwbacks: Vinyl, Board Games and Real Books

In this computer age, when everything’s digitized and carried around in your pocket, are people still buying actual, real books? Clunky board games with piles of pieces? Big, inconvenient LPs? Why, yes, they are!

For lifelong readers, there’s nothing that can take the place of holding and reading a real book or magazine. Board games offer tactile and kinetic pleasures that we need—and they do a great job of connecting us in groups of family or friends. And audio media that have come along after vinyl records just can’t compete with the richer aural and visual experience of LPs, which are worth a little inconvenience.

Those of us who’ve been around a while are rediscovering these throwback media. But the big and encouraging story is that younger generations who may start out curious about these relics are finding that they have a lot of value and many aesthetic advantages beyond their novelty.


Sales of vinyl have grown by leaps and bounds for three years running, and the purchasers are not all aging audiophiles. More and more young people are becoming vinyl enthusiasts, not only collecting hard-to-find treasures from bygone eras but also grabbing vinyl copies of new releases by their favorite artists because they sound and look so good.

HPB stores carry a wide variety of new vinyl, but here is a nice example of an “only on vinyl” collectible:

Twenty: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Pearl Jam
Columbia Records, three discs. Limited Edition, 2011


The music on these records accompanied the 2011 Cameron Crowe band documentary Pearl Jam Twenty. The special limited issue is a scarce collector’s item. The album, containing three 180-gram vinyl discs, is still in the plastic wrap in which it was packaged. It includes a 12”x12″ full-color booklet with an introduction by director Cameron Crowe. The records are in full-color sleeves within a double-gatefold sleeve covered in images of the band. It is available at our Appleton, Wisconsin store, and its condition is near-mint, with very minor rubbing to the edges of the sleeve and a small amount of general wear to the inner record sleeves.

Here are just a few more vinyl gems available in our stores, all priced $15 or less:

vinylDigital books don’t make a very good mantel display. If you’re a collector, there are countless treasures to be found on the shelves of HPB stores across the country (or on our online shelves). Here’s one of the more interesting ones we recently learned about:

Ha! Ha! Houdini!
Patti Smith
Gotham Book Mart & Gallery, Inc. 1977
First Edition. 126 printed (100 signed, 26 lettered)


The copy our Berkeley snagged is signed by Patti Smith and is one of only twenty-six lettered copies (letter L). In honor of the book’s subject, it includes a lock and key. A fan of Patti Smith’s music and books can find no better piece to add to their collection than this early work, which is in Very Good condition. The store also has several other Patti Smith rarities to offer!

If you’re just wanting to own a classic and read it the way it was meant to be read, here are a few nice options in the $3.00 to $15 range found at our Flagship store in Dallas:


Another recent renaissance has taken place in the world of games. Many avid gamers who grew up watching a screen and manipulating a controller are now indulging in old-school games that have foldout playing boards, individual pieces and instruction sheets. There are seemingly infinite varieties of Monopoly, numerous editions of Scrabble and countless classic tabletop role-playing games. Here’s one example:

Avalon Hill, 1976
A 40-year-old version of the classic wargame Diplomacy is at our Highland Park, Illinois store, and Store Manager Jay says, “There is some scuffing on the edges of the box but it looks like somebody played this game just once, years ago. All 112 markers are present, as well as the Conference Maps pamphlet and complete instructions.” The gameboard is in great shape, too. Game-maker Avalon Hill produced many other tabletop gaming classics that show up in our stores, including the popular Magic: The Gathering.


When you get the board-game bug, you may want to check out the great selection at HPB. The ones below, seen on our store shelves, are in the $10-20 range:


If you’re interested in buying or finding out more about any of these throwback pieces, contact The Buy Guy!

One thought on “Go Back to the Throwbacks: Vinyl, Board Games and Real Books

  1. Pingback: Half Price Books Mentions Diplomacy in Their Latest Blog | Diplomacy World

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