Capitol Hill Half Price Books to close

Used vinyl, originally uploaded by chrisfurniss.

The Belmont Ave outlet of the regional chain Half Price Books will close before summer. Paul Constant of the Stranger does the honors:

Yes, we recently decided not to renew the lease and the Capitol Hill store will close June 2. We have great customers at this store, but not enough traffic, so we felt it would be best to focus our resources on our other seven Washington locations.

As Constant notes, there have been rumors of the store’s closure for a long time. CHS last inquired on a possible shutter in December when a company spokesperson told us there was nothing to announce at the time.

Half Price has operated at 115 Belmont Ave E since 2003. The building is owned by real estate investor Janice Jarman. It’s a massive retail space with some 14,000 square feet to fill.

The book retailing industry has suffered with the growth of ecommerce and platforms like the Kindle. Capitol Hill, as rough as it has been on its independent book sellers, is a rare bright spot for brick and mortar shops highlighted by  Elliott Bay Book Company’s move to the neighborhood from Pioneer Square. But Capitol Hill has also watched shops like Bailey Coy shutter in the face of the changing economy. Meanwhile, independents like Twice Sold Tales — which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year Ada’s Technical Books and Spine and Crown carry on.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

32 thoughts on “Capitol Hill Half Price Books to close

  1. …The woo-woo bookstore (Quest?) next to Ada’s Technical books, and Horizon books, which carries on underground. And does Louis Collins still have a physical presence, or is it strictly online these days? Any others I’m forgetting?

  2. I literally gasped out loud when I saw this. I only go a few times a year (bookshelf space is limited) but their cheap section is an incredible bargain and I’ve found some titles there that I’d been searching for forever. I’ll have to make an extra run here before June!

  3. I go here several times a month. Not gonna lie, teared up a bit when I read this. So sad the second most read city in the nation and the densest neighborhood in King County can’t keep a bookstore open. BOO!

  4. Sad! Well, I’ll let everyone in on my secret now: stock up on travel books! Seriously, they’re so cheap there. Obviously you can do all your research on the interwebs these days, but you can’t carry the interwebs in your backpack.

  5. I get about 99% of my (physical) books here. I just can’t believe they don’t get enough business… seems always busy. So sad to lose this store… I mean Elliott Bay is great and all but paying retail kinda sucks.

  6. Twice Sold Tales is awesome. The selection is eclectic but deep and Jamie is always down for a good conversation about anything and everything. Half Price Books served me well sometimes but I love Twice Sold Tales and always check there first.

    The paperbacks at Twice Sold Tales are cheaper than ebooks and even cheaper if you go to the book happy hour!

  7. Because of the allergies I have, Twice-Sold has been off limits to me for several years–just too many cats!!

    As for the Roosevelt store, parking there has become short of impossible, so I’m really sorry to see this Half-Price go. I’ve always enjoyed the selection and location.

    If they can’t stay on the Hill–how about a location Downtown??

  8. I hate to state the obvious, but apparently they won’t be missed by too many. Not saying that to be snarky. All you have to do is look around CapHill (or anywhere, really) and note the number of people out in restaurants, coffeeshops, even bars, staring catatonically into the glow of their laptops/tablets/smartphones, no matter what they’re doing. People don’t buy books because bookstores are selling them– bookstores sell them because people want to buy them. Not enough people want to buy books, or they probably wouldn’t be closing.

  9. I once saw the owner of Twice Sold Tales aggressively berating a couple of 10-year-old girls for selling Girl Scout cookies in front of the QFC, and I haven’t darkened her door since. I don’t need a 200+ itemized list of questions I’m not allowed to ask in the store to greet me at the door.

    I will miss Half Price Books because I could easily dispatch of my books once I finished reading them and needed some extra cash.

  10. I’m another who won’t go to Twice Sold Tales anymore due to their attitude. When they moved off John, I’d hoped for an improvement but I stopped in and they were as obnoxious as they had been all along. I wasn’t too surprised, but still a bit disappointed since I do prioritize shopping at local & independent stores.

  11. Aw, that’s extra sad. They’ve always been super nice to me and everyone I’ve ever gone in with. I’m sad to hear that’s not always the case for everybody. :(

  12. To the person who “stated the obvious”, I don’t know that it’s that simple… or obvious. I shop Half Price about twice a week and probably drop $100 a month there easily. And anytime I’m in there, there’s ALWAYS people ringing up at the register. Sure… “ebooks” are popular but used bookstores seem to be for those people who don’t want to read the newest Hunger Games or Shades of Grey on their Kindle. It’s for people BROWSING, looking for music, DVDs, books, gifts, etc. It’s not like it JUST books or JUST fiction. I regularly buy nature field guides, occult, historical, religious books and graphic novels there. Those are all books better had in hand than in a Kindle.

    I assume this loss can be attributed to the pursuit of more wealth on someone’s behalf. There’s nothing “wrong” with that but I hope we don’t trade a bookstore for condos :-/

  13. I stop into this location and drop $$$ at least once per month (books, of course, and also DVDs). I went in yesterday and purchased more books, commenting to the clerk that I was going to be sorry to see them go and he said that the departure “had been in the works for awhile.” I asked if their University District location was going to continue and that sounded doubtful, as well. I love to wander around and explore the myriad of titles available. Half-Price has virtually everything for everybody. Just so disappointed that we are losing this wonderful establishment.

  14. I love coming to this HPB, and do so multiple times every few weeks, just to stay up on what the inventory is. This past week, I’ve dropped quite a bit of money there. Great selection, wonderful atmosphere, friendly staff…great selection! I will miss this place dearly. I suppose after the closure of QA Easy Street, no store is sacred for keeping, so the closure of possibly the best 2nd hand book store on the hill is not completely surprising, but still totally gut wrenching. Never been a huge fan of TST, can’t afford retail prices and the Roosevelt HPB sucks for selection (why is it the CH location is closing but this one remains?). I guess my options become Cross Roads HPB, Redmond if I have the time to ride there or Tacoma, which is even further out of the way for me. So basically, after June 2nd, I won’t be shopping at HPB very often. :( Boo!

  15. I am heartbroken by this.. So much for Saturday coffee strolls to HPB, just to linger for hours and figure out how to carry all my new purchases home..

  16. Pingback: What’s next for Capitol Hill’s Half Price Books building | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  17. I too will miss this HPB location, but it became my second choice after my first visit to Twice Sold Tales.

    I’m shocked that people are complaining about the owner’s attitude, I’ve only ever found her to to pleasant and helpful, if a little intense. For political theory, literature, science fiction, and philosophy, I’ve never seen a better used bookstore on the West Coast. Those girl scouts probably deserved it, pushing their damned expensive cookies.

    Besides, the U District HPB outstrippes the Capitol Hill one by miles.