Monday, August 4, 2014

Dean's Half-Price Books - Topeka, KS

Dean's Half-Price Books - Topeka, KS

When I walked into Dean's Half-Price Books, I walked into Mayberry.  And I mean this in the most complimentary of ways.  Sometimes you can visit a place that is one thing (a bookstore) and find that it is so much more.  In this store, I visited with four older gentlemen who were just hanging out.  In a different place or time, there would've been coffees or beers, feet up on the counter, whittling pieces of wood, a checker board on top of a pickle barrel, and a couple of dogs.  I didn't meet Tom A., the owner, today.  But I found out from these guys about Tom and the things he's done for them, good life things.  That was probably one of the best things about the trip to this independent bookstore.  It's probably why he's also a good independent bookstore owner.

You won't find this indie in My Bookstore.  I'm pretty sure it wasn't even under consideration.  In fact, if any of you in the literary industry know about this place I'll crap an indie bookstore cat.  This place is off the grid.  But I can tell it is a proud indie with a good business and some good local support.

Cafe?  Nope.  Wifi?  Nada.  Cat?  No.  But tons and tons of used books.  When you walk in there is an overwhelming smell of used books and it smells great.  Also lots of comic books, DVDs, and CDs.  Since Tom wasn't here today, I enjoyed talking to Steve and the other guys.  He told me that they take in used books everyday.  On some days, that is as many as 300 books.  Because of the high turnover, there is no computer inventory of what's on the shelves.  You just have to look to find it.  I scored today with two books by PG Wodehouse, someone I've been wanting to read.

But this indie has two things that I haven't found anywhere else.  License plates for sale and Gus.  The plates can be antiques and can be from any state.  Gus is a dog.  This Gus is one nice dog.  He might scare off a bad guy because of his size but if not he's the kind of dog that would welcome him into the store with a wag of a tail and a cup of coffee.

So a big thanks to these four great guys I met today.  Thanks for being so inviting, patient, and informative about a great little indie in the Kansas heartland.  Pay a visit to 1426 S. Kansas Ave in Topeka and if you see Gus, pet him and say hello for me.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  Die Trying, Lee Child.  A page-turner.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse.  Full Moon, P. G. Wodehouse.  Heard a lot about this author but haven't read any of his stuff.  Looking forward to these.

Dean's Half-Price Books, exterior.  Parking on the side towards the rear.  

Can't beat this price!  

One of the many bookshelves.  

One of the long aisles of bookshelves.  

I told you they had lots of books.  

A nice place to sit and wait near the front of the store.  


Steve was in charge this day and he was great to talk to.  

Three great guys who shared lots of info with me about Dean's.  L-R, Steve, Brad, Charlie.  Thanks guys.

L-R, Charlie, Brad, Steve, and yours truly.  

Looking for a collectable license plate?  This may be your place!

D#mn you Gus, answer the phone!!  It appears Gus's real talent may be taking naps!  


  1. I love Dean's books. 99% of the time when I go in, I come out with a treasure. My favorite books to read are true crime. Awesome staff, lots & lots of books! :)

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there and my time visiting with the great people there! Lots of treasures on those bookshelves!

  3. I loved going to Dean's Books when it was downtown on Kansas Ave. I acquired quite an extensive comicbook collection there in the 1970's 2, 3, and 4 at a time. They had 3 carousels of comics. Back then a comic with a 12 cent cover price was 7 cents, 15 cents was 9 cents, 20 was 15 and 25 was 20 cents.

  4. My wife and I live in KCKs and travel to Topeka, just to buy books at Dean's. I'm into westerns and he has one side of an aisle from wall to wall full of western paperbacks.