Meet the Bibliomaniac: Gillian Pratt- Krygowski

Gillian is the South Ohio District Manager and has been with Half Price Books since 1998. We are lucky to have her! Like many HPB Bibliomaniacs, not only is she a voracious reader, she also exhibits several bookish and crafty superpowers as well. Last year, when Gillian heard that the author Delia Owens was planning a visit to our Flagship location in Dallas, TX, she asked us (begged us) to present Ms. Owens with a square of fabric for the author to sign. Delia Owens was delighted and honored to be a part of Gillian’s @BookClubQuilt project and graciously signed the quilt square. Want to know more about this literary crafter! Meet Gillian and her beautiful project:

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Meet the Bibliomaniac: The HPB Woodshoppe

It’s simple; you can’t sell books without something to put them on. That’s where the Half Price Books Woodshoppe comes in. With a staff of 11 employees, our Woodshoppe provides shelves and materials for all 125 HPB stores.

Established in 1984, the Woodshoppe’s work goes beyond a bookshelf that holds your next read. Shelves, counters and chairs are just a small portion of what is handmade at our 50,000 sq. ft. work space in Dallas, Texas. The Woodshoppe strives to stay true to our company mission. Be kind to the environment. Continue reading

Celebrating Women’s History Month with HPB’s Leading Ladies

Since March is Women’s History Month, we thought it would be a great time to check in with some of our fearless female leaders here at Half Price Books. They spoke with us about the women who’ve inspired them in literature, music and their personal lives.

Sharon Anderson Wright, President and CEO

SharonAWright2Favorite female authorBarbara Kingsolver

Dream book club guest – My mother, Pat Anderson (and co-founder of Half Price Books)

Favorite female musician – I can’t pick just one, so I’ll say Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt and Carole King.

Which woman has inspired you the most in your personal life? Kathy Doyle Thomas, HPB’s Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. Continue reading

Meet the Bibliomaniacs: The HPB Wichita Team

Hey Booklovers! We’re beyond excited for the opening of our new store in Wichita, KS. In this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniacs, we would like to introduce you to the HPB Wichita team. Take it away, guys!

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What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
Charity: The other employees have been fantastic.
Kathleen: I get to be surrounded by the things I love with people who also love books and media, too. Seeing people come in with things to sell is an adventure. You never know what will be there!
Jonathan: The atmosphere.
Matt: Seeing and buying so many books.
Sarah: The people I work with and the customers.
Morgana: I enjoy how patient and reassuring all of my superiors have been. It creates a comfortable work environment.
Thomas: The work environment, working with people who like books. Customers and employees alike.
Lisa: Exposure to new subjects and expanding my knowledge of books.
Hunter: Seeing all the new products and interesting things come through.
Anissa: Being around books and learning about new subjects.
Caleb: Interacting with people who have the same passions I do.
Tim: Being exposed to rare and exciting collectibles and learning something new every day.
Kristal: Working with a company that has such diverse interests and really values both customers and employees. Also, my favorite part about buying books is that they can tell you a story about the people selling them to you, and you never know what that story will be. Continue reading

Meet the Bibliomaniac: Greg Lamer

For most HPB Bibliomaniacs, books are a way of life. And for Greg, that extends to printing, publishing and promoting the literacy scene in Lexington, KY. In this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniac, Greg shares more about his non-profit work, engaging with the community and some of his bookish favorites.

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When did you join the team?
October of 2002 at HPB Olathe, Kansas

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
I like the “what’s next” philosophy of our bookstores. There is always something new to try or old to change. I like seeing how different people and personalities approach the same problem and manage to come out with often very different, but sufficient results. If you want something to change, or if you want to try something new, it has been my experience that the opportunity is there as long as you do your homework.

What are you reading right now?
On and off I am reading like 10 books… the one I have committed the most time to is City Poet by Brad Gooch. It’s about Frank O’Hara’s life.

What is your all-time favorite book, movie or album? 
For me, this question is really hard. I don’t think I have settled on my “all-time favorite” anything because there are always new things to read, watch or listen to. If we freeze time and I had to pick right this instant, I would say my favorite book is City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City by Greg Girard. My favorite movie is The Normal Heart and my favorite album is No Shape by Perfume Genius. But these will change by the time you publish this.

 

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Meet the Bibliomaniac: Tony Warmus

June is Great Outdoors Month, which made us think of HPB Regional Manager, Tony Warmus. When he’s not overseeing stores in Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia and Missouri, Tony is outside hiking, skiing the Canadian Rockies or tending to his bee apiary. In this edition of Meet the Bibilomaniac, Tony shares his favorite books, movies, outdoor adventures and more. Take it away, Tony! 

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When did you start working at HPB?
1991

What is your favorite part about working here?
The people I work with, some of whom I’ve known for over 20 years. That and the fact that I can always discover something new to read when I visit each of my stores.

What are you reading right now?
Well, I’m reading more than one book. It’s hard to have only one going at a time! For fiction, I’m currently reading a collection of short stories by Ottessa Moshfegh called Homesick for Another World. She was recommended by David Sedaris when we saw him give a reading at Butler University here in Indianapolis. To say her humor is obtuse is putting it mildly! I love the voice of her characters and the odd details she describes. I haven’t laughed out loud while reading a book in a quite a while. I’d highly recommend her book.

For nonfiction, I just picked up The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms by Amy Stewart. It’s basically about what the title says, and it’s full of so many interesting facts about earthworms that I can’t put it down. For example, did you know that after the glaciers retreated after the last ice age, the exposed ground would have remained free of earthworms for nearly 1.5 million years if it hadn’t been for the spread of agrarian culture around the world? I just think that’s incredible! It’s a very readable book. Amy Stewart also wrote The Drunken Botanist, another one of my favorites.

 

If you could write a book about yourself, what would the title be?
It would be one of those long titles, probably something like Pour Me Some Wine and I’ll Tell You My Tale. As that title may suggest, I’m fond of a good glass of wine, particularly during what I like to call my “attitude adjustment” hour between 5-6 p.m. every day.

What is your all-time favorite book, movie or album?
My all-time favorite book is The Direction of Time by physicist Hans Reichenbach. I guess that gives me away as being a bit of a nerd. That book is the classic work on the underlying nature of time, part philosophy and part advanced physics. Hans Reichenbach was the first scientist to help really clarify the notion that entropy ensures time moves in one direction, what we perceive as forward.

My all-time favorite movie would be Aliens, at least judging by the number of times I’ve re-watched it. That movie is good on so many levels, but I really love watching the transition of Ripley from meek, science consultant to confident leader of the surviving group of soldiers.

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Meet the Bibliomaniac: Renee Hodge and Martin Reiss

HPB North Oaks in Houston, TX, recently received a makeover, with the construction of an all-new “Staff Picks” section at the front of the store! As a family-owned, community-oriented bookstore, Half Price Books hires employees that reflect the neighborhoods in which we do business. The beauty of a neighborhood bookstore is in the sharing of ideas, so the new Staff Picks section at HPB North Oaks was designed to celebrate that connection between community and store by starting a conversation about what the HPB North Oaks team is reading. Let’s meet some of those team members in this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniac–Renee Hodge and Martin Reiss, Store Manager and Assistant Store Manager.

Martin and Renee

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
MR: I’m interested in every type of product we carry from books, movies, music and games. I love that I’m able to buy/sell what I am interested in.
RH: My favorite part of my job is the fact that each day is different. I have friends that go in to work and do the same thing each day in a cubicle and they are not enthusiastic about their jobs.

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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!

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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!

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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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