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: The HPB Vernon Hills Team

Shopping for books, music and movies in the Windy City is about to get a whole lot breezier. In this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniacs, you’ll get to know the management team at HPB Vernon Hills, IL. Kelly, Tom, Tim, Jade and Allie are ready to help you with all your bookish needs. Take it away, guys!


What is your favorite part about working at HPB?

Kelly:    I love the product and the company, but my favorite part is the people I’ve met!
Tom:      The company culture and the friends I’ve made at all the stores in the district.
Tim:       Cool people galore; surrounded by books.
Jade:     Being surrounded by books and people with such unique, varying interests.
Allie:     I find something that fascinates me every 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 Bibliomaniac: Lizz Comer

Educator Appreciation Weekend is Oct. 5-9 at Half Price Books. While all of our staff loves teachers, we wanted to take a moment to recognize one of our great bibliomaniacs who has spent some extra time working with educators and students in her community. So in this edition of “Meet the Bibliomaniac,” we are pleased to introduce you to Lizz Comer from our Columbus, Ohio district. Take it away, Lizz!

17800241_1520290407983678_4328985803447515679_nName: Lizz Comer
Job Title: Store Manager
Location: HPB Northpointe Plaza in Lewis Center, Ohio

When did you join the team?
I started with Half Price Books in March 2007 at the wonderful Bethel Road location in Columbus. I was a bookseller and shift leader there before I transferred to Lane Avenue as an assistant manager in 2013. I became a store manager for the brand new Northpointe Plaza store Lewis Center in 2015 and have been getting this store up and running ever since.

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
I love talking to people about books, movies and video games.

As a store manager, what’s an average day like for you?
My average day consists of coming up with lots of projects for our booksellers to work on.  I also spend a lot of time finding creative solutions to issues J.

What is your all-time favorite book, movie, album or video game?
This is way too hard to narrow it down to just one! I like classic horror movies with Vincent Price. My favorite authors are James Herbert, James Herriot and Shirley Jackson. My favorite video games are the Persona games.

What are you reading right now?
The Literary Ghost by Larry Dark, Yellow is for Fear by Dorothy Eden, The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean and Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson.

What other things do you do in your free time?
I volunteer at my local dog shelter and foster cats and dogs with PetPromise.

Tell us about your work with educators.
I recently had fun doing mock interviews with some high school students.  I gave the teacher a bunch of applications and then went to the school to tell them what I look for in an applicant. These students were in a work-study program and would soon be doing real interviews to find employment once they graduated.

Our store has also showcased local students’ essays about the book Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.  We made a special display and most of the students came in to show their parents.

Who was your favorite teacher in school and why?
Every science teacher I ever had.  There are too many to name, but they made school much more interesting and instilled a curiosity to find out how things work.

Anything else to add?
I highly respect teachers and enjoy working with them.

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!


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: Sarah Dang

In this month’s edition of “Meet the Bibliomaniac,” we’re excited to introduce you to Sarah from our Richardson, Texas store. If you’re a Richardson shopper, Sarah is responsible for all of the fabulous displays you see there. Take it away, Sarah!

selfieName: Sarah Dang
Job Title: Store Inventory Merchandiser (SIM)
Location: Richardson

When did you join Half Price Books?
April 21, 2014

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
I really love the people I work with and I can’t express enough how much I appreciate all of their encouragement and support. Aside from the magic of working at a bookstore and enjoying what I do, I really love the bonds I’ve created with everyone here. These are the kinds of friendships that last.

As a SIM, what’s an average day like for you?
Each day I start off with a list of what needs to get done. I often feel like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. I’m scurrying from place to place to make sure everything is done on time. My days are always super busy and I always have something to do. My daily tasks include merchandising tables and end caps, creating displays, ordering supplies and reorganizing our distribution bins. Simultaneously, I budget time to work on creative projects that not only advertise certain items, but also bring a unique element to our store. I in addition, create chalkboard signs to bring attention to products that don’t necessarily fly off the shelf.

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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.


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