May 29, 2013

World of Books: Alex + Dallas, Texas

Everyone has their neighborhood bookstore or their local library they call home. Maybe both even. I know I do - in TWO different cities. World of Books if a bi-weekly feature that allows me - and any of YOU - to share the bookstores and libraries you love so much. If you want to be featured on World of Books too, make sure to go HERE and fill out the contact form!

When I saw Gaby’s World of Books post, my first thought went something like “ohmigod, Boston is so much prettier than Dallas – not fair!” It really is; you won’t see anything that gorgeous here. But instead of being insanely jealous, I realized that this was an opportunity to find some cool book store hot spots across the country (and globe, perhaps?). How many times have you been in a new city, wanted a book, and did not know where to go?

Obviously, there is Barnes & Noble, but I’m a broke college grad trying to pay off loan debt. I don’t have the money to be spending full price on ALL the books I buy. Not to mention, try finding a YA book published only five years ago and the search gets harder. Amazon is amazing with all of the above problems, but every book lover will agree that there is just something about shopping for a book in a bookstore that is abundantly more satisfying.

So when Gaby introduced this idea, I was overjoyed – because I would never be bookshop-less in this world again! Isn’t that an amazing concept?!

Now, to talk about Dallas!

I’ve lived here my whole life, with the exception of the four years at college (aka Hogwarts… Gaby can attest to that). I was never a big reader, with the exception of Harry Potter; and I was a horrible writer and failed both the English AP exams. It was actually thanks to Gaby and another friend of ours that I started writing HP fan-fiction in college, which soon morphed into original story telling. Even then, being a professed writer, I didn’t read all that much! Crazy, right? It wasn’t until August 2012, after Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas came out, that I started binge reading. Like hardcore, non-stop.

Not really. I love sleep.
Aaaand it hasn’t stopped since. Not surprisingly, writing suddenly became way easier.

It became necessary to find book stores that I could afford pronto. Because I NEEDED some of these books like nobody’s business.

It should be noted that Dallas is NOT a walker friendly city, which makes me really sad. Cars are a necessity to go to a store a block away; and the public transit, at least in my part of the city, just takes too long and it’s impractical. It’s a harsh reality. However, Dallas has a LOT to offer when it comes to business. So, travelers to Dallas, make sure you have a car with good gas mileage when you come here!

As it happens, Dallas is where the Half Price Books chain originated. This city alone has twelve stores, and there are ten more in the whole D/FW Metroplex. That’s twenty-two total stores within an hour’s drive selling books at half their market price. AND the flagship store on Northwest Highway is the one closest to my house. WOOT!

Do you want to know the best part about Half Price? Each store has different, ever-changing stock because it is all resale. You can go to all the stores in the same day and have a completely different experience in each of them. Their stock is made up of books that customers sell back to them, so not only can you find some fantastic deals you can also get paid to sell back books you no longer want or need SO THAT YOU CAN BUY MORE BOOKS.

It has its pitfalls, though, like the fact that you can pretty much count on new, popular books NOT being sold back for a few months at least, or whenever their sequels come out. But there are those times when you get lucky and find a new book right after its release and then you will scream, cry, and dance all at the same time because you are probably the luckiest person on the PLANET at that moment. That JUST happened to me with Melina Marchetta’s Quintana of Charyn. I’m still doing this over that one:

Pretty much exactly like that

Half Price Books is just my heaven on earth, and I go to at least one of the stores about once a week. The Northwest hwy branch pictured above also has this really good coffee shop, a lot like Starbucks, but I’ve found that I like this one better! Best hot chocolate coffee EVER. They also have comfy chairs scattered around the store where you can sit and read for as long as you want, and there are two open areas where people can congregate to study, talk books, whatever. Most recently they hosted a Q&A and signing with Marie Lu!

There is also a far lesser known resale store called Lucky Dog books, which happens to be a few blocks from my house! I still don’t walk there, though. It’s not my fault! There are NO sidewalks in my neighborhood. And we don’t need to talk about the heat.

Because most people in Dallas go to Half Price, the stock there isn’t assssss varied, but it’s still a neat place to go. It has a more homey feel to it, and the shelves are PACKED, and just walking through the place is a joy.

Last but not least is the public library. The branch I go to, Lochwood, is also a few blocks from me, really close to Lucky Dog, actually.

This is one of the newer libraries, so they have some nice reading areas. All of the branches are pretty small, except for the main branch in downtown.

It’s an ugly box, but huge – which is the important part (right?)! ALSO, get this, the downtown branch has a used books store inside of it! It’s called BookEnds and nothing there exceeds $2. It’s pretty much a perpetual yard sale of awesomeness.

That’s it for Dallas, y’all! Can’t wait to see what other places pop up in the coming weeks!

Alexandra Ray is an unpublished Young Adult fantasy writer. She is currently working on a high fantasy, very loose retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. She is a former poster on fictionpress and the_write_away. She loves all things Disney, wine, pizza, and crime shows that don’t take themselves too seriously and often finds herself daydreaming of pirates, mermaids, and fairies. She has an in-between blog on LiveJournal and will hopefully be starting a new, more official blog soon. You can follow Alex on her LiveJournal, on Twitter, and Goodreads.


  1. I've worked in Dallas for two summers and I have to say Half-Price books is probably my favorite thing about the city. One of the best used bookstores I've ever seen.

    1. My sentiments exactly! I have a hard time moving away just because I would loose Half Price. True story.

  2. YAY Alex! You have an awesome name, and I would know ;) I think it's wonderful that you have Half Price Books near you -- I know I'd LOVE to go if I could! And YAY for getting a copy of Quintana of Charyn. Did you read it yet? It's EPIC.

    1. NAME WIN!

      I haven't started Finnikin yet! I'm an awful human being, I know, but I'm using it as leverage to get myself to write. I went ahead and bought Froi and Quintana because it's pretty much impossible for me not to love anything that Marchetta writes. I just bought The Gorgon in the Gully, so my collection is now COMPLETE! Can we just talk about how amazing Saving Francesca and Piper's Son are (Gaby better be taking note of this!)? I read them two months ago and I still classify them as my current obsession.

  3. First of all, how did I not know that you're from Dallas before now? I'm in Dallas, as well!

    And yes, Half-Price Books is AMAZING. I love it there, and I go there way too often. (As in, some of the employees at my local one know my face. Oops.) Also, Half-Price is starting to carry some new release books. I actually went to my local one about a week ago, and they had a few copies of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, which came out about 3-4 weeks ago! Mind you, they don't carry A LOT of them, but every once in a while!

    1. I'm a recluse - that's probably why :P

      Okay, WHICH ONE DO YOU GO TO? Because obviously the employees there are awesome. And... How did I forget to mention that? I haven't really taken advantage of their new release books... unless there is a sale or I have coupons or both (hence, I am now the proud owner of Cinder, which I had to put on hold for two weeks straight to make sure no one bought the last copy). I was planning to go crazy in that section on the 50% off sale day, but I couldn't get over there that day! I cried.

  4. Awesome feature!

    I live in OKC and I love HPB! I understand about not being able to walk anywhere, too! Bookmarking this in case I'm ever in Dallas and need books!


Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment. Also, if you have a blog, be sure to leave a link so I can go check it out!