Meet the Bibliomaniac: April Wakeman

We’re beyond excited that our new store in the Beechmont area of Cincinnati is joining the HPB family! In this edition of meet the bibliomaniac, we introduce you to April Wakeman, Assistant Store Manager. She joins the team all the way from HPB in Washington. Take it away, April!

April Hammer - Copy

When did you join the team?
I began my HPB career at the Concord, California store in November of 2008. Since then, I’ve worked in Bellevue and Redmond Washington, and I’m currently helping install the Beechmont store in Cincinnati, Ohio.

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
I love the variety of work and experiences that are part of daily life at HPB. No two days are quite the same, and something new happens every single day!

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Meet the Bibliomaniac: Steve Leach a.k.a. The Buy Guy

You may already recognize this friendly face! In this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniac, get to know Steve Leach, the HPB Buy Guy. He’s got some great stories to share from his 32 years in the book biz. Take it away, Steve!

Image uploaded from iOS

Name: Steve Leach | Job Title: Buy Guy | Store Location: Corporate Offices, Dallas

When did you join the team?
I was hired as a bookseller back in 1985, when the Flagship was located on Mockingbird Lane in Dallas, Texas.

As Buy Guy, what’s an average day like for you?
I’m lucky enough to be able to say there aren’t many “average days.” Most days include answering customers’ and employees’ questions about buying. Some days, I’m helping store people identify, evaluate and promote their collectibles; other days I’m helping train employees, and I occasionally get to talk to customers about books, collectibles and the treasure hunt that is HPB.

How did you become the HPB Buy Guy?
When I started at the Flagship store, I was given the LP section because I had a music background. Boots, now the CEO, was at that time the assistant manager of the store, and her specialty was handling collectibles. I expressed interest and was allowed into that magical world.

What got you interested in collectibles and rare books?
I was a lifelong avid reader with no experience in pricing collectibles; however, I became quickly immersed in it, because, then as now, the Flagship store was full of wonderful, weird and rare stuff to process.

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Meet the Bibliomaniac: Gella Spencer

In this month’s edition of Meet the Bibliomaniac, we introduce you to Gella from our South Houston District. Take it away, Gella!


Gella faceName: Gella Spencer
Job Title: District Inventory Manager
Store Location: South Houston District

When did you join the team?
I joined the HPB team in the summer of 2002. I was the first non-transferring employee hired at the Humble, Texas location while it was still being outfitted from a lighting store into a bookstore. I thought it would be a short-term summer gig, as I figured out what I wanted to be when I “grew up”… and here I am in my sixteenth year.

As a District Inventory Manager (DIM), what’s an average day like for you?
Any given day in my role as a DIM, consists of three main responsibilities: working behind my laptop, working alongside my Store Inventory Manager (SIMs) or working on a specialized task. An average day behind the screen can include: checking reports, placing/verifying vendor orders, troubleshooting and basically providing aide to my team’s various needs. On days where I work alongside my SIMs, we can be merchandising, creating décor for an upcoming display, updating store signage, or any other task that offers aide to my SIMs. Specialized tasks can include conducting inventory, aiding in Comicpalooza/vendor participation, redesigning the flow of a section/area or participating in one of the taskforces/committees I am on.

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Meet the Bibliomaniacs: The HPB Tyler Team

You asked, we listened. We’re beyond excited for the opening of our new store in Tyler, TX. In this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniacs, we would like to introduce you to the entire HPB Tyler team. Take it away, guys!

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What is your favorite part about working at HPB?

  • “Interacting with and serving our customers and setting up my staff to succeed.” ­– Joseph M. (Store Manager)
  • “My interactions with customers and employees.” – Cody T. (Asst. Store Manager)
  • “The customers and coworkers are my favorite part of working at HPB.” – Twila B. (Shift Leader)
  • “Being surrounded by the things I love.” – Curtis B. (Bookseller)
  • “Meeting new people.” – Natasha M. (Bookseller)
  • “Learning! Opportunities to learn about anything and everything are endless.” – Bree L. (Bookseller)
  • “Discovering fantastic books!” – Jeff G. (Bookseller)
  • “How much HPB understands and celebrates the individuality of its team members.” – Dana E. (Bookseller)
  • “I am a bibliophile, so my favorite part of being a team member is the books and officially becoming a bibliomaniac.” – Jennifer G. (Bookseller)

What is your all-time favorite book, movie or album?

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Meet the Bibliomaniac: Aliyah Uddin

If you haven’t heard the good news, we’re opening a new store in St. Charles, MO. We can’t wait for you, our booklovers, to come check out our new digs. We’re even more excited for you to get to know the amazing staff. In this edition of “Meet the Bibliomaniac”, we introduce you to Aliyah.

Store #127 Shift Leader-Aliyah UddinName: Aliyah Uddin
Job Title: Shift Leader
Location:  HPB St. Charles

When did you join the team? 
September 2016

As a shift leader, what’s an average day like for you?
Right now, we are installing our new store in St. Charles, MO.  So it’s a lot of guidance, lots of alphabetizing, sizing the books and making sure the shelves are full for our Great Opening on August 17!

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
Definitely seeing what we are buying from our customers!  Then visiting with our customers about our inventory and getting them as excited about it as I am!

What is your all-time favorite book/movie or album? 
American Gods by Neil Gaiman

What are you reading right now?
A Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

What TV show/movie are you embarrassed to admit you love?
Say Yes to the Dress

What do you like to do in your free time?
I am a photographer.  I love to photograph weddings and families!

If you could write a book about yourself, what would the title be? 
A Foot in Two Worlds

When are you the happiest?
When I am in the presence of my family, whether we’re doing something special or just hanging out.

Anything else you’d like to add? 
I love this job!  Can’t wait for the new store to open!

 

Meet the Bibliomaniac: Kathleen Higgins

June 23 is National Take Your Dog to Work Day. At HPB Corporate, Office Manager Kathleen Higgins brings her dog, Vader, to work every day! Let’s jump into this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniac and learn more about Kathleen and Vader’s efforts to rescue dogs in need.


Kathleen+Vader

Name: Kathleen Higgins
Job Title: Corporate Office Manager
Store Location: Corporate

When did you join the team?
March 1990. I was hired to be HPB co-founder Ken Gjemre’s assistant. Our mutual passion for protecting the environment made it a good fit.

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
Working with like-minded people. Life is too short to put your values and beliefs on hold in pursuit of a paycheck.

As an Administrative Services Supervisor, what’s an average day like for you?
There is no “average” day. The nature of the job is putting out fires or solving the crisis du jour. Keeping up with the nearly 150 people here in corporate, meetings, and being available to the stores is a full agenda. One of the advantages (disadvantages?) of being here as long as I have is the amount of knowledge about HPB that you accumulate and how often people depend on it. Working with various vendors and comparative pricing are regular activities. Of course Vader, my dog that I bring to work every day, needs to be walked at least once a day and we have a steady stream of visitors that stop by to get their “dog fix.” Continue reading

Meet the Bibliomaniac: Bryan Douglas

In this month’s “Meet the Bibliomaniac” feature, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Bryan, assistant manager in the Austin-area. Since we’ve got comic books on the brain, let’s dive deeper into Bryan’s love of comics and learn more about him. Check out his Q&A below.


Bryan Douglas Half Price BooksName: Bryan Douglas
Job Title: Assistant Manager
Store Location: 104 Cedar Park

When did you join the HPB Team?
September 2004.

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
Being surprised every day by the books I discover, either from seeing them in person or hearing about them from customers.

As an Assistant Manager, what’s an average day like for you?
My work days are a mix of getting to help customers directly and helping our staff to do the same. The leadership role is nice, because it gives me the feeling of helping even more people than the ones I interact with directly!

What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had since working here?
Finding two hundred dollars in cash hidden in a book called “The World’s Lost Wealth!” (This was at the Buy Counter, so we were able to get the money back to the customer!)

What got you interested in comic books?
I’ve always been interested in the multiple layers of meaning comics can provide. Certainly, prose fiction can do that, too… But somehow combining words and pictures in the comic book style seems to allow for a greater number of ideas to be distilled down to a smaller space! Continue reading

Meet the Bibliomaniac: Kiki Baughman

We’re so lucky to have bibliomaniacs of many talents throughout the company. If you’ve ever had the chance to visit the Half Price Books Flagship in Dallas, you’ve probably seen some of the fun and unique displays around the store. In this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniac, we’re pleased to introduce you to Kiki Baughman, Display Specialist at our Flagship and the mastermind behind all those awesome creations.


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Name: Kiki Baughman
Job Title: Display Specialist
Store Location: 001 Flagship

When did you join the HPB Team?
August 1 will be 11 years at HPB. 10 years and 9 months of that I have been a part of the Store Inventory Merchandiser team at 001 Flagship.

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
My favorite part would be that I get to be creative every day. Second favorite thing would be my co-workers. They are the best.

As a Display Specialist, what’s an average day like for you?
As the Display Specialist for 001 my days are very diverse. One day I may spend all day working on a custom display for a book signing. Another day might consist of planning the holiday decor for the store and ordering product. Another day is spent displaying merchandise and helping with a book signing. Continue reading

Why I Teach: 5 Books and Movies with Inspiring Educators

I’d like to introduce you all to Caitlyn! She’s a middle school teacher in North Texas (an amazing one at that) and a wonderful friend of mine. Check out her picks of books and movies that help her along her teaching journey.  Enjoy!  -Sam


I’m one of those brave individuals that has chosen [been called to] a career as a teacher. I didn’t sign on because I wanted to have my summers free (although it is a beautiful perk) and I certainly didn’t embark on this journey because I thought it’d be easy (because in fact, nothing could be further from the truth). But it is my joy and my privilege to impart some small bit of knowledge on a set of middle school students every year.

I find inspiration in almost everything, even this Starbucks I’m sitting in. I really like the seating arrangements in this space and I’m making notes – ha! The greatest source of inspiration for me comes from books and movies. They are my love language. After a difficult day, I know I can read a chapter or watch a few minutes of a favorite story and it’ll fill my sails for the next day.

These are five movies and books that have been a source of motivation and encouragement at some point in my career.

Dead Poets Society (starring Robin Williams)
O Captain! My Captain! If you’ve ever seen this gem, then you’re probably nodding your head in a very, Ahh…of course kind of way. Mr. Keating is one of the reasons I love poetry and why I find it essential to teach in a free kind of way – no right or wrong, but interpretation and feeling. This movie reminds me that each person has the right to explore their own identity – what brings them joy, inspires them and fulfills them. I teach Walt Whitman’s poem O Captain! My Captain to my 8th graders and I love showing them the clip from this movie with that iconic line. Mr. Keating encourages me to be a source of inspiration to my kiddos, showing them that they can make their lives extraordinary.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” Continue reading

You Know You’re a Booklover When…

A true booklover knows that National Book Lovers Day is every day, but to the rest of the world, it’s celebrated on August 9.  Now, we booklovers are guilty of doing things that might seem pretty strange to others, but we’re too busy with our nose between the pages to care.

We asked you guys (the HPB booklovers) on Facebook what your bookish quirks are. Here are some of the top answers and our favorite responses.

YOU KNOW YOU’RE A BOOKLOVER WHEN….

You spend your lunch break reading instead of eating.
You don’t need no stinking food! Well…maybe a little bit, but at least you’re feeding your brain with the sweet, sweet nectar of the newest bestseller.

Booklovers 1

Spreadsheets and lists are your new BFF.
It ain’t easy keeping all your book business in order. Books you’ve read, books you want to read, books you own…you know, so you don’t buy To Kill a Mockingbird for the millionth time. In the words of DJ Khaled…

booklovers 11 Continue reading