Meet a Bookseller: Heather Halak

Bookseller Heather Halak

Happy Meet a Bookseller Monday! We’re proud to introduce Heather Halak, owner of Third House Books in Gainesville, FL.

How did you get into bookselling?

By accident! I was a volunteer at Third House, and the founder (and my friend) needed additional help. I became a partner in the business, and now I’m the sole owner.

What do you love most about being a bookseller?

Getting to book events that provide my customers with the opportunity to meet their favorite writers. It’s kind of magical. Also being able to comfort someone who’s going through a rough time and reaches out about what to read. Literature is slow, but nourishing medicine.

What do you love most about your bookstore?

Third House has always been a curated space, ever since I was a volunteer. We started with around 200-300 titles, mostly front facing. Since flying solo, I’ve been able to expand the space and still keep it curated while having a little more than we did before. The goal is to not overwhelm a guest with thousands of books.

What are you listening to right now?

A Burning by Megha Majumdar! I was never an “audiobook person” until partnering with, mostly because I wanted to understand the customer experience for our patrons who signed up. I started my first audiobook at the beginning of COVID Times—Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Diaz—and was hooked. I’m thankful for audiobooks because it’s been hard to read lately.

What audiobooks would you recommend or are among your favorites?

Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Diaz, and Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. They’re narrated beautifully and remind me of being home (Miami).

Where / when do you listen to audiobooks?

In my car, in the kitchen while I do dishes, on a run. Anywhere I can’t bring a physical book!

What is your favorite thing about audiobooks through

I love that listening to them supports independent bookstores, selfishly, but I also love how engages in real community issues. I know when I buy audiobooks with that I’m also supporting a company that talks about antiracism and uplifts Black- and Latinx-owned stores.

What do you do when you’re not selling books?

Reading, re-watching Twin Peaks, or working on community initiatives. I’m also on the board of a local non-profit that’s a radical lending library.

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