'Fortune' Profiles Half Price Books




Half Price Books on Broadway (via Half Price Books)

There's been a great deal of false prophets in the world of print media, but one true projection is the decline of brick and mortar stores. In a business where a good quarter is a minimized loss, Dallas' Half Price Books is thriving, opening an average of five stores a year.

In "Thriving in an Amazon World," Fortune Magazine published an essay from Half Price Books CEO Sharon Anderson Wright describing how she took the chain founded by her mother and expanded to 120 retail locations in 16 states. "Because we are private and don’t have to answer to shareholders, we can expand at our own pace," says Wright. "Plus, our inventory is different than most traditional book retailers’ and is lower in cost, so that gives us a different customer base. We’re trying to be a bookstore, record store, antiquarian store, and comic-book store."

This analog headspace has helped Half Price Books to avoid missteps in dangerous crossover markets like that of the tablet. For Barnes & Noble, the Nook reader wounded their profits, hemorrhaging money made from in-store book sales. In 2013, after Nook digital losses doubled in the April quarter, Barnes & Noble announced a hold on production of Nook color tablets.

Meanwhile, Half Price Books raised its revenues from $50 million in 1995 to an impressive $240 million in 2013. "We're the tortoise that's slow and steady," says Wright.

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