Okay, So Half-Priced Books Isn’t That Great

Yufang and I are trying to trim down how much paper stuff we have in the house, which you may have guessed from my previous post on scanning.  Besides the print material that we create, we obviously have a lot of books, because we both study English literature (I do SF, and she does Asian-American lit).  However, we don’t always need all of the books that we take in from the cold, but we would like to find new homes for them.  We both sell books on Amazon, but we’ve collected two canvas bags of books that just won’t sell.  So, I thought to myself today, “why don’t I take these to the Mentor, Ohio Half-Price Books and get at least a little something for them.”  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize just how little their offer would be.  I figured that we would get $20 to $30, because the lot of books runs about $60 on Amazon used and I acknowledge that they need to make a profit (lowest price).  But, I wasn’t even in the ballpark.  I was offered $3 for the lot of 20 books.  Needless to say, I gathered our books and put them back in the car before returning to look through their SF section.  As I was walking around the store, I began thinking about all of the books in their and how Half-Price Books must have royally screwed over a lot of folks to have that much stock–not to mention the entire chain of stores.  Is Half-Priced Books the GameStop of book? (NB:  GameStop is a company that sells new and used video games, and it is notorious for ripping off gamers on game trade-ins–read more here).  Be warned before you make the mistake of driving an hour in crazy NE Ohio Saturday evening traffic with the hope of unloading some books.  

On the other hand, perhaps Half-Priced Books is a necessary evil.  I’ve found some books there that I would have had difficulty finding otherwise, or having found it elsewhere such as on Amazon it may have cost more.

Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.