I honestly do not understand the criticism of this store. Frankly I think people vastly overestimate how much the books they’re selling are worth. I’ve asked employees what to bring in and what not to bring in based on the needs of the store. Bestsellers and coffee table books don’t sell well unless they are at their peak popularity, a lot of nonfiction is considered dated a few years after publication, used children’s books typically have more wear and tear, and mass-market paperbacks initially sell cheaply. They’re looking for books that will sell but won’t be overstocked and many books do not fit this description. If you aren’t satisfied with the price offered, you’re certainly welcome to refuse the sale. I’m sure there are some books that should fetch a better price that what’s offered, but I’ve found it’s mostly fair, especially considering how little a profit the store would make if they gave more money per book. Most of the books for sale in the store are offered at half of the sticker price, many for less than that. So if you’re selling a book that was originally $16 dollars, it’s unreasonable to expect to receive more than a couple dollars in exchange. If you sold your books for more than that, all of the books for sale would be more expensive. They also do the work of organizing, stocking, and selling your books, which accounts for some of the cost (unlike a venue such as Ebay, for example, where you’d probably get more money per book but would be responsible for posting the item, selling, and shipping). As for the time it takes to sell, it’s usually 15-45 minutes, but it only takes longer if you’re selling a lot of books or if you go during the busiest days and hours (such as Saturday afternoons). \r
As for the rest of the store, I find it to be very clean and organized, especially considering that it’s a smaller location and houses a ton of books. I’ve never had a problem with the staff and consider them helpful and nice. Particularly the cashiers, who often ask about the books you’re purchasing and show a genuine interest in them. As for buying, the books are nicely priced, many of them are in “like new” condition, and they have a great selection. They give out good coupons and have some fantastic sales a couple of times a year (typically around Memorial Day and Labor Day). Definitely don’t miss the clearance section, which offers excellent books for $2 apiece. They also sell used CDs, records, DVDs, rare books, and gifts like journals and calendars. \r
Perhaps Half-Price Books isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Those who use the store primarily to sell books might be able to find better offers elsewhere. But please don’t listen to all the “This store is terrible, never go there” reviews without giving it a chance yourself. The store has plenty of great attributes, and I know many people who enjoy it. If you have FourSquare, check out the tips on there. Almost all of them are positive.