Rob at the Hawaii Book and Music Festival

Where Hawaii Book Lovers Go

If you love exploring the local book scene when you travel, here’s my guide for bibliophiles coming to Hawaii. After reading my list of ideas, please add your own favorites in the comment section below.

Visit the Hawaii Book Blog On-Line

Before, during or after your Hawaii vacation, Alex and Misty-Lynn will keep you updated on books about Hawaii and the Pacific including local authors. I met up with them recently at the annual Book and Music Festival in Honolulu. In addition to books, you’ll find a fun selection of t-shirts on their site. I’m partial to their, “Shaka for Books.”

My Favorite Places for Used Books

Most unusual is Bill’s Bookmobile. A frugal bookstore on wheels permanently parked in Honolulu, this benefits the Friends of the Library of Hawaii. Another favorite is tucked inside Shirokiya at Ala Moana Shopping Center. There you’ll find Book Off where many sell for only a dollar. On Kauai the only bookstore is Talk Story located in Hanapepe. It’s the Western most secondhand bookstore in the United States. Owners Ed and Cynthia will make you feel like family when you visit.

A New Mystery Writer on the Hawaii Scene

When New Jersey transplant Douglas Corleone moved to Hawaii, he penned a brand new mystery series. His first book, One Man’s Paradise captures the essence of Hawaii with well written courtroom drama. Not surprising when you consider that Doug is an attorney. One Man’s Paradise won the 2009 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. I met up with Doug recently before the release of his latest book, Night on Fire.

Hawaii Book and Music Festival

This celebration is held very May in Honolulu. It’s a two day weekend event that includes a book swap. Their most recent festival featured author and comedian Roseanne Barr.

Final thoughts: Google for a list of Hawaii publishers and don’t forget to shop for books at all of our museums.


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7 thoughts on “Where Hawaii Book Lovers Go”

  1. You did mention museums and Honolulu Academy of Arts has a terrific selection. Native Books Na Mea on Oahu for books on art and culture and the bookstore/gift shop at Koke’e Park in Kauai in Waimea for art, culture and botanical books.

  2. I echo Leslie’s recommendation of Basically Books, but also want to suggest to readers two books that are pretty new and a must read for Hawaiians and Hawaiians at heart; first is Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell and the other is an amazing story of how Iz’s album Facing Future got made. It’s called Facing Future and is part of the 33 1/3 series. Two good reads and I suspect any of the bookstores recommended would have them.

  3. On Maui the best place to go for used books is the Maui Friends of the Library Book Store. Every book in the store is 10 cents and all the proceeds go back into Maui County Libraries. It is a great concept because people on vacation donate their books when they leave and can get their holiday reading at bargain rates. Follow my link to read an article about the Library.

  4. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the obvious — the public library! You can get a 3-month membership for $10 and avoid bringing pounds of books in your luggage. The Waikiki branch is walking distance from anywhere in Waikiki, near the canal, and if you’re a member you can use their computers for free.

  5. I like Book Ends in Kailua. They have new and used books. They have a really large Hawaii section and I’ve gotten some real gems there. I do a lot of used book shopping and find that they have a really good selection in all categories. It’s fun to look for a treasure there because they have books stacked everywhere.

  6. How about the Kohala Book Shop on the Big Island? My husband and I stumbled across it a couple of years ago and spent a couple of happy hours browsing, before leaving with a couple of bags of used books. Here is what Frommers has to say:

    Location Hwy. 270 (Akoni Pule Hwy.), a block from the Kamehameha Statue, Kapaau, North Kohala

    Review of Kohala Book Shop
    Jan and Frank Morgan’s new and used bookstore — the largest such store in Hawaii — is a huge success and a major attraction in the town’s historic Hotel Nanbu building. The yellow building with red-and-green trim is beautifully and faithfully restored, all the better to house a priceless collection that includes out-of-print first editions, the $22,500 set of Captain Cook’s Journals, the 1691 Morals of Confucius(priced at $350), and thousands of other treasures. You’ll see popular fiction and everyday books, too, along with titles on Hawaii and Oceania; at last count, the inventory was 20,000 and climbing. Thoughtful signs, good prices, and an attractive and welcoming environment are only some of the winning features.

  7. Basically Books in Hilo! It’s right on the bayfront (160 Kamehameha Avenue, between Haili and Kalakaua Aves.). From “We specialize in Hawaiian books, and stock a wide selection of current Hawaiiana literature. Our selection includes history, fiction, travel guides, natural history, marine science, children’s books, and much more.” They also specialize in maps and have an extensive, Hawai‘i-oriented gift section.

    It’s family-owned, by a nice family, and one of the neatest shops in Hilo. Really! I am not related; just love this bookstore/gift shop.

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