Saturday, May 23, 2009

Half Price Books

I'm afraid today's post won't be relevant to everyone in the country, but if you live in Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin, there just may be a Half Price Books store near you (click here for a store locator). If you're familiar with Half Price Books, you'll already know that there are always bargains to be found there on books and DVDs, both used and new/remaindered, which means new copies that regular stores like Barnes & Noble have returned unsold to the publisher or distributor. I always find something I want every time I go in there. But it wasn't until recently that I started thinking of Half Price Books as great for stocking stuffers.

Last weekend I was in buying birthday gifts for two nephews when I came across some adorable Hello Kitty Multiplication "learning cards" (including "rewards stickers" -- you know how kids love stickers!) for only $2.98. Right next to them: Disney Princess Addition & Subtraction learning cards for the same price, featuring Ariel, Jasmine, and Belle on the front of the box. Each set comes with 40 cards with large readable numbers and cute graphics. The boxes are just a shade over 6 inches high and about 3.75 inches wide, which makes them perfect for stockings. The best part? I had a coupon for 15% of my entire purchase, so these were only $2.53 apiece. Even better? You don't need a coupon this weekend, because all Half Price Books are having a 20% off everything in the store sale for Memorial Day weekend, from May 21 through May 25. (And unlike other retailers, I've never known them to exclude anything from their sales!)

Half Price Books also has a nice selection of blank journals, including some smaller ones that would fit inside a stocking. One of my favorites is this Nancy Drew: Secret of Shadow Ranch journal which measures 5 by 7 1/8 inches, and which I believe was priced at $3.98. There was also a terrific Star Trek: Her Name is Enterprise blank journal, featuring the old young Captain Kirk (as opposed to the new young Captain Kirk from the new movie!). There are also journals with cats, flowers, books, you name it.

Because Half Price Books gets their stock from a variety of non-traditional sources, you can't count on any given store to have any given item, but on the other hand I have seen some of the same new/remaindered merchandise in several of their stores. Make sure to check the stationary section for journals and note cards (I know I've seen some Wonder Woman note cards there before!), and check all around the front register for little odds and ends, such as retro magnets and those tiny little "xyz in a box" kits that we're familiar with from the rotating racks up front at Barnes & Noble and Borders.

And if you have some books you no longer want or need, you can take them to Half Price Books for cash or credit towards your purchases. They will take almost anything, although they can't give much for items that are too worn. Between their already low prices, this weekend's 20% off sale, and any books you may be ready to sell back to Half Price Books (no matter where you got them), this weekend is a great opportunity to stock up on all kinds of stocking stuffers!

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