Alibris, Meet Half-Price Books

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There's a business-section piece today about Half-Price Books' new online marketplace, which coincides with the Dallas-based used-bookseller's own release this morning announcing the virtual shoppe. Says Kathy Doyle Thomas, Half-Price's exec veep, in the official announcement: "Half-Price Books is pleased to offer an online shopping option to our customers, both in our markets and around the world. HPB.com will allow our customers to track down a specific book they may not find in our brick and mortar locations."

Mentioned in both: the company's partnership with Monsoon Commerce Solutions, which already runs Alibris's invaluable website. No surprise, then, that both sites offer the exact same results: I ran a few searches this morning for, oh, Jim's The Accommodation: The Politics of Race in an American City and Dallas Rediscovered: A Photographic Chronicle of Urban Expansion 1870-1925 and a few other local titles and came up each time with the same results displayed in the exact same order, most of which were offerings from out-of-town booksellers. (Which reminds me: Hey, Schutze, somebody in Florida thinks your book's worth $242.06.)

So I called Emily Bruce, the PR coordinator at HPB HQ, to ask: What's the difference between the two sites? Her answer -- and a look into Half-Price's online future -- follows.

"With our site, it's branded with our name, and we do have the books posted on there you can find in our stores," she says. "Not all of our books in our stores are online. We're working on that, but it's taking some time. But select stores in various markets are putting them online."

She points out: Using the "find a seller" option, you can type in "HPB," and the outposts in various markets will pop up with a list of their offerings. HPB-Dallas, for instance, currently offers 23,705 books, 577 movies and 873 music titles -- a fraction of a fraction of a fraction its offerings, but, still, better than nothing. Still, Bruce acknowledges, getting all of the local product online will take a good long while.

"That is the ultimate goal," she says. "As far as the time line, I can't tell you, but that is something we're working toward. I think it says somewhere on the website that we're on the cutting edge of the '90s, so we're working toward it."

Besides, nothing beats the brick-and-mortar browsing. Which is how went in last week looking for one thing and came out with Friend of Unfair Park PeterK's 1991 Dallas Then & Now, published on behalf of the Friends of the Dallas Public Library. Which I really must share with you. Later.

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heyheymama
heyheymama

NW Hwy mothership, how I love thee, let me count the ways. I'll be there for a mommy getaway lunch on Friday without the kids. It's like a day spa for my brain.

pak152
pak152

"nothing beats the brick-and-mortar browsing"

you got that right RW. whenever I'm in Dallas I have 2 must do visits. one to 1/2PB on NW and the other is Central Market. I jokingly refer to it as making the hadj to Mecca and Medina.my last trip I spent almost 4 hours in 1/2pb making my selection to take back to RIC

heyheymama
heyheymama

I've had visiting family land at the airport and immediately ask to be taken to HPB. With the luggage restrictions, they just ship books back home via "media" rate.

pak152
pak152

I'm surprised that hpb hasn't set up a shipping service for out of townersas for luggage restrictions with my flight status I don't charged so i always pack a travel bag for books. this last trip I was able to pack 40+ lbs of books

LaceyB
LaceyB

Is Disqus a little slow on the uptake today, or is it just me? Trying to erase one of my comments, and may have double posted another. Wanted to fix it, but the dang thing is like 1 hr. Behind. Wondered if anyone is having the same problem.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Yeah, they're having a problem keeping proper count -- and track -- of comments. I deleted yer reposts. But they say they're on it. Which they've been saying since yesterday, when this problem began.

LaceyB
LaceyB

Thank you, kindly, RoWi. Wanted to keep my comments nice and tidy. Moderating comments must be/have been a dirty business. As, I'm sure, you knew from before Disqus.

LaceyB
LaceyB

I've been to Amsterdam, when it was hot (summer 2005). Sounds delish, right about now. Will have to hit it some weekend soon.

LaceyB
LaceyB

Yum. Sounds delish right now. Been to Amsterdam. When it was hot, incidentally. Love that city.

LaceyB
LaceyB

What does a signed copy of "Bully", by Jim Shutze, go for these days (book, not DVD)? Much of what I keep around is signed to me. Otherwise, to HPB it goes.

LaceyB
LaceyB

Frankly, this sounds lovely, but way too much like half.com (which is sorta a cross between amazon and ebay for textbooks). HPB is a true store experience, but, if they could just do some sort of inventory that tracks what is in store, or where it is located, that would be the real ticket. Also, stick an indie-coffeehouse in there (with pastries imported from West, Texas), and I might spend all day in a place like that. Not to mention, I would buy un-necessary books (since I now have the "works-when-it-feels-like-it-Koba").

Escamp
Escamp

Hit the Half Price HQ on Northwest Highway. They have a Black Forest Deli in the front corner.

pak152
pak152

better when you have bought your books go out back and have a sitdown lunch at the home of the Black Forest deli where you can have a beer with your lunch. a wonderful twofer experience

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

I was about to say the same exact thing. Get a Hot Amsterdam.

It's a sandwich, incidentally. Very affordable, very delicious. And best named sandwich ever.

LaceyB
LaceyB

Yum. Sounds delish right now. Been to Amsterdam. When it was hot (Summer 2005). Love that city.

Larry L Johnson Jr
Larry L Johnson Jr

I've got a copy of The Accomodations that you could pry from my fingers for half that.

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