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Half Price Books to close Lawrence store in coming months

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Silly me, I thought 10 inches of snow meant that it was snow shoveling season. But based on the actions of a few other people in my house yesterday, I guess it is book-reading season.

Well, book readers soon will have one less option to feed their habit in Lawrence. Officials with Half Price Books confirmed the Lawrence store will be closing in the coming months.

An executive out of the bookstore’s corporate offices in Dallas told me the Lawrence store, located at 1519 W. 23rd Street, is slated to close on June 14.

Kathy Doyle Thomas, an executive vice president with the chain, said the Lawrence store simply was underperforming.

“We’re very sad about it,” Thomas said. “We’ve been in the Lawrence market for 10 years. There just aren’t enough customers.”

Lawrence’s education levels certainly suggest the city would be a good book market, but it appears Half Price Books may have discovered what a few other retailers have over the years: Lawrence isn’t quite as big as it first seems.

“In the Lawrence market we have a real strong base of loyal customers, but there just isn’t enough of them,” Thomas said. “With the book industry the way it is right now, we have to be in communities with a larger population.”

Thomas said the company plans to move the inventory of the Lawrence store to a new store it is opening in Independence, Mo. So, don’t expect a big going-out-of-business closeout sale.

There are about 15 employees at the Lawrence store. After its closing, the closest Half Price Book store will be in Olathe.

Comments

Pfeifer29 1 year, 1 month ago

I loved buying the $1 VHS about 8 years ago. I even found my dad an Elvis book he didn't own there. I will stop in a few times before closing day.

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pace 1 year, 1 month ago

I liked the store and the employees were fine. They bought a wider selection of books than Dusty does. That is a good store too. I always thought half price should of done more advertising and spruced it up. They should understand, win your customers , treat them right, win them again and again. They just sat there. I will miss them.

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Kirk Larson 1 year, 1 month ago

Harsh. I have to admit that I did not frequent there as much as I could have (because I always left with an armload of stuff). I'll miss 'em.

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Justreading 1 year, 1 month ago

It may be that Friends of the Library cuts into volume of both buying and selling at the Lawrence store.

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none2 1 year, 1 month ago

I used to go to Half Price Books quite often, and I did actually buy books there. However, it was about 5.5 years ago when I had a really bad experience there. I don't know if she was a college student or not. What I do know is that she though she was a higher class than her customers. If I wanted that kind of attitude, I would have gone to certain places in Johnson County.

There is nothing like a condescending employee to spoil your whole experience. While I didn't boycott the place after that, it did curtail the frequency of stops there, and I cannot recall if I bought much if anything there after that.

While the loss of options is always sad, it is such experiences that make it hard to shed a tear even if the other employees did not share her arrogance.

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Jean Robart 1 year, 1 month ago

I felt I was in Heaven when I discovered HPB. Their customer service at the beginning was really great. Not so much after the first few years. And when I took some hard cover books to them to buy, I was insulted when they offered me 50 cents apiece for books that I bought for at least $20 each. No more Half Price Books for me.

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Norma Jeane Baker 1 year, 1 month ago

I can't help but think that if all the "I love Half Price Books" people really shopped there as much as they say they did, the store wouldn't be closing. It wouldn't be an under-performing store.

Oh, well.

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raypetty 1 year, 1 month ago

I grew up in Dallas so I've known Half-Price Books for over 30 years. I don't go often, but when I do, I always find some interesting books and some are incredible bargains. Books are great gifts also, so come holiday season, I leave there with armsfull at a time. It is sad to see another bookstore vanish. I may give the Olathe store a chance, but to me it is so convenient on 23rd Street. I don't know how some of the commenters on here behave, but I've had no problem whatsoever with customer service. Some people, I guess, are just . . . too much!

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traveler12 1 year, 1 month ago

I never had a "good" customer-service experience when I was in HPB. One time I inquired as to whether they had a particular book in stock. "You'll need to go on Amazon.com to see if that book exists," I was told. It was a fairly well-known book, so, huh?

Also, it always bothered me how HPB dislikes book boxed sets--they don't carry them. Looking for a boxed set of the "Little House on the Prairie" or "Harry Potter" series? You won't find them at HPB. More than one employee explained to me how they split up their boxed sets to sell the books as individual copies. Extremely annoying for those of us who still value, and purchase, boxed sets.

One final complaint: I didn't appreciate how they kept "mature" oriented books and magazines behind a lock and key. It's always embarrassing to find an employee to open the cabinet so I can browse through whatever's in there. Other chains/stores shelve their "mature" materials up out of the way, usually at the top of the shelf. But it was always a pain to get someone to unlock that section.

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Mehriheart 1 year, 1 month ago

Love half-priced books, everyone who works there is always super helpful. I usually get my books from either there or The Raven.

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Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm so lazy that I buy books with a few keyclicks on ebay, and they're delivered. If they don't have a very obscure title that I'm looking for at the moment, I put it on saved search, and I'm notified as soon as someone lists it.

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Katara 1 year, 1 month ago

I love going to bookstores and browsing. I usually end up buying more than I planned. I have found a site I do love that I can trade my books on when I am done with them. It is not as satisfying as going to an actual bookstore and browsing but if I am looking for a specific book, I found it to be fairly decent.

http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php

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oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 1 month ago

The place cannot operate , increased social security match, rent increases due to propert tax increase and most of all a stagnant population.

The statements from 1/2 price should be a lesson to the city commissioners about the need for a massive rec center. The bodies are not here.

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letitrain 1 year, 1 month ago

wissmo - I agree with drumming up business. I frequent HPB and I speak highly of it to friends and family....but no harm in a petition in addition to that. Why not let corporate now how we feel and back that up with our patronage?

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Tony Kisner 1 year, 1 month ago

With the new $18 mil. Library there is no need for private book sellers profiting from the masses.

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SpeedRacer 1 year, 1 month ago

I really like this store (except for its location) and have always preferred them over the other stores in town.

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lovespiders 1 year, 1 month ago

Well its a shame! The last decent bookstore to go hangout. I love Half Price and don't know what I'll do if they aren't here. I shop there almost every day and find something cool everytime I'm there. The staff is a great bunch of people and always help me find whatever I am looking for. They can even order stuff now from their other stores and I've used that too. I try and tell as many people as I can about them. Didn't know they'd been there for 10 years. Maybe they should advertise and tell people they are there. I don't think most people know about Half Price or even what it is. I still know people who have just found it and will be really sad to learn of its closing. I will be signing the petition for sure. People up in your corporate land.....we need this bookstore. Can't you figure out a way to stay? I won't be driving to Kansas City for your other stores, sorry, just too far.

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letitrain 1 year, 1 month ago

I've started a petition if any one is interested. Its at: www.thepetitionsite.com/255/081/047/c...>

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fu7il3 1 year, 1 month ago

I really feel for the people working there, too. I've never had anything but a good experience with them. When I come in with my five year-old, they are always very nice. I've gotten used to their faces. Sometimes, I just pop in to kill ten or fifteen minutes. I am going to miss that.

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tir 1 year, 1 month ago

Well, RATS. I really hate to see this happen. I go to Half-Price all the time for used and new books, cds and videos--it is so convenient to be able to browse for all three in one place. I can always find something good every time I go in, and I will really miss them! I like Dusty, too, and I go there often, but it is harder to find what I want, plus they don't carry any media items. I will really miss Half-Price, and I'm sorry they didn't get enough business to keep them here.

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fu7il3 1 year, 1 month ago

Oh my God! This is the worst news ever! All of my books are from there. I've probably got a small fortune in just Clearance items, not counting all of the other stuff I've bought from there. It's the only addiction I've got. Wow...

I don't like the Dusty Bookshelf. I can never find anything. All the books are just all over the floor, parking on Mass St. sucks, and their hours are a little more constraining. But seeing how it is that or Hastings, I guess I am screwed. Apparently, I am going to save some money this year.

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Aileen Dingus 1 year, 1 month ago

Sadness! I love Half Price and shop there often. I'll have to stock up before they head out.

I also go to Dusty Bookshelf, don't get me wrong- but Half Price is just... better.

DB has charm, but their filing system drives me nuts. "Oh yes- cookbooks are over there. And there. And on that table. And by the door. And under that stuff." If I'm looking for something specific, it is very frustrating. If I'm just browsing, it's heavenly.

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letitrain 1 year, 1 month ago

If any one starts a petition to keep it open let us know. I love Half Price Books. I love tangible books at affordable prices. I love the random games, stationary, gifts you can find there. I love the friendly staff. I love that I don't have to battle Mass St traffic to visit a used bookstore. So if any one starts a petition or cash mob or something...let those of us who love this place know!

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oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 1 month ago

Why. Worry about 1/2 price boos, the town will have a multi million dollar library remodel. and the owner of the 1/2price bookstore has to pay for it in more taxes passed onto the tenant..I would pull out too!

Does Schumm and the other commissioners get the picture?

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Liberal 1 year, 1 month ago

The Dusty Book Shelf has cats...I am extremely allergic to them and avoid any store that has them. I would prefer people leave their animals at home, but hey it is there store and if they do not want people with allergies that is their business.

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Kyle Chandler 1 year, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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bastet 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm sorry about Half-Price, but there are still three local bookstores in town: The Dusty Bookshelf, Signs of Life and The Raven Book Store. Always had good experiences with Dusty. I don't shop much at Signs of Life, but it seems like a good place. The folks at Raven are very customer-oriented. They will help you find what you want in the store or do their best to order it for you.

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horsegirl 1 year, 1 month ago

I would bet that main competitor is the online/electronic book option. Honestly, I would rather read on my Kindle than a physical book and I would bet I'm not the only one. Plus, I can get a book whenever I want without having to go to a book store. It is kind of sad, actually, but just a sign of the times.

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mom_of_three 1 year, 1 month ago

I liked half price books to buy puzzle books and its so much easier to find anything in the half price book store.

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Scott Morgan 1 year, 1 month ago

mach, You are correct, although I can not state the bookstore has poor service. You are correct in a dirty little secret around here. People are not as friendly as other areas I've lived.

Of course not everybody, in fact there are a few very friendly business folks. I dropped nearly 50 bucks buying some suds for the big snow in. This is the conversation during the transaction, and I was actually looking for brands.

enter store.....nothing wander around looking.....nothing give the dude 50 bucks for brew........nothing walking out the door........have a good one

The tone of the......."have a good one" reminded me of the SNL stewardess skit.

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costello 1 year, 1 month ago

I'll miss Half Price Books. Sorry to see them go.

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Bob Forer 1 year, 1 month ago

Good ole capitalism at work. The Dusty Bookshelf has always been a much better place for used books. They pay more for used books than 1/2 Price, and sell them for less. Also, their staff turnover is much lower, and its always nice to see the same faces when I visit them downtown. The only thing 1/2 Price had going for it was more convenient parking.

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Amy Heeter 1 year, 1 month ago

I won't miss them. I never felt like the prices were that great. Iv seen them buy books and offer sadly ridiculous amounts .also watched people selling get very angry. U prefere the dusty book shelf.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 1 year, 1 month ago

I have always had good service at the store sorry you did not enjoy your visits there. I am going to miss this place.

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Machiavelli_mania 1 year, 1 month ago

I found the customer service there to be lacking. At the start of the store, people were nice and helpful. Then people who you asked for help just did not care about the customer. I love the store. I love browsing there. And I love the Madison, Wi, store, my first experience with half price. But I do want to feel like I am a valued client.

In general, Lawrence, Kansas is really bad about customer service. It is as if they just don't care if they sell you something. I just go home and order what I want online. IOW, if you don't want to sell me your stuff and be friendly, I will find it elsewhere. I don't have to be a valued client when I can order it online.

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Norma Jeane Baker 1 year, 1 month ago

I think I've only found a book I wanted once at the Lawrence store. I go in to the Olathe store for a book and usually walk out with 10 or so. Size matters.

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seth5792 1 year, 1 month ago

This sucks, really liked that place

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LogicMan 1 year, 1 month ago

That's unfortunate -- it is a good place to browse for interesting used books. Chalk another one up to the blessing/curse of the Internet.

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