This has been a sad week for all the bibliophiles and bookworms who live in and around Rice Village. On Wednesday, November 6, it was reported that Half Price Books on 2537 University Blvd., a bookstore that has been at that location for four decades, will be closing its doors early next year.
The two-story business has been selling discount books, music, movies, and more to people since 1981. But, in this age of Kindles and e-readers, times have been tough for all booksellers. Not to mention that owning and operating a business in Houston is starting to become a little expensive these days.
"Unfortunately, rent prices have gone up," says Emily Bruce, Half Price's public relations manager. "We couldn't afford to stay in the area."
According to Debbie Sheets, property manager and leasing agent for Dutch Line Properties (aka the property owners), there were negotiations between with Half Price regarding what they could pay in order to stay. Sadly, both parties couldn't work it out. "We couldn't agree on a price," says Sheets. "The property's worth more than the rent they could afford."
Bruce says the Rice Village location will officially close on Sunday, March 8. And although there hasn't been any plans to move the business to another locations, Bruce insists that "the management team always keeps an eye out for new locations."
There hasn't been any word on what business will be in Half Price's place once they completely vacate the premises at the end of March, but even Sheets admits she's sad to see the place go. "It was there when I was a kid," she says.
All the other Half Price locations (including the stores in Montrose and Clear Lake) will continue to open. As for the Rice Village store, they will go on until the last book is gone. "It will be business as usual," says Bruce. "We hope people will shop with us through our last day."