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Half Price Books opens Bloomington store

POSTED AT 09:35 PM ON Nov. 14, 2012  (UPDATED AT 09:35 PM ON Nov. 14, 2012)

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Copies of “The Absolut Vodka Advertising Story,” “Burnham’s Celestial Handbook” and “The Great Gatsby” sell for $1.

These titles are just a few of more than 100,000 options lining the shelves of the new Half Price Books Outlet store, 3120 W. Susan Drive, which opens today.

The outlet is the first of its kind for the franchise. Rather than buying books from the public, it will offer overstock books from 30 other Half Price bookstores in the Midwest, District Manager Tony Warmus said.

Warmus said he thought of the potential need for an outlet while he was working as the store manager at a Half Price Books in Indianapolis. The store was buying so many books that it had too many leftovers and nowhere to put them.

“We’ve toyed with the idea for a while now,” Warmus said. “I finally wore them down.”

The Half Price Books Outlet will offer cheaper items than regular Half Price stores, with almost everything costing $5 or less. Most books are used but in good condition, Warmus said. The outlet will also offer movies, CDs, LPs and video games.

The outlet has the familiar feel of any other Half Price store: tables stacked with cardboard boxes filled with bargain merchandise, shelves for every genre imaginable and the subtle yet comforting scent of yellowed paper. Though they haven’t been allowed to buy anything, prospective customers have stopped by all week to check out the new location.

Martinsville residents Laura Ziegler and her 4-year-old daughter Jazmyn said they were not familiar with the Half Price Books franchise, but the sign caught their attention, and they came in to check it out. Ziegler said she was looking forward to the official opening.

“I love to read. I just read everything,” she said. “It’ll be good for getting some Christmas shopping done.”

Warmus said he wants the store to cater to both kinds of customers — those who come in and like to browse for treasures and those who know exactly what they want.

Though Warmus said he enjoys science texts the most, he recommended the lesser-known philosophy section to adventurous bookworms, as well as the Bathroom Readers and trivia books. He said the biggest value at Half Price Books is the diversity of the material, especially with out-of-print books.

“You probably need to bring your own wheelbarrow, there’s so much stuff,” he said. “They will not walk out of here empty-handed.”

 

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