Used book stores

Used book stores

No big box stores here, only local and gently-loved used books to fill your shelves

Used book stores / Used books tell a story all their own. Owners die or move off island, libraries have books to unload. Leafing through their pages, you wonder who wrote that cryptic note in the margin, or how the food stain came to exist. In Honolulu’s few used book stores, there’s something for everyone. We’re lucky to have publishing houses that pump out books on everything Hawaiian. Then there are the novels abandoned by tourists and students. Many are in prefect shape; others are a perfect read.

Where new mix with old

Pat Banning had the right idea 11 years ago. Bookends in Kailua is teeming with so many adventures that finding a book proves entertaining. This high-ceilinged spot used to be owned by Honolulu Bookstores. Banning bought it and has stayed independent since. Previously, she worked in many bookstores, all the time wondering why there weren’t more used books available. Banning now has shelves that proudly boast an even number of new and used titles. There is just enough room to walk, bend over and stand, but it is lovingly organized.

At first, you won’t know where to start. Reference starts on the left as you walk in. This wraps behind the cash register and leads into a world of the oldest, most intriguing books. Continue around to Fiction on the wall and shelves, then end the tour with at the rare Hawaiian section. Don’t neglect the books on the floor by the wall. If there’s a book you want and it’s not there, talk to Banning or her helpful employees. You and your trusty debit card will smile.

600 Kailua Rd. #126, Mon–Sat 9am–8pm, Sun 9am–5pm, 261-1996, call ahead to sell books in numbers of 10 or more.

Used book super heroes

Used books make the Friends of Kailua Library Book Store very happy. When a man showed up with 60 titles, a volunteer clapped with glee. Chair Carole Picciotto couldn’t be happier, either. “I love books, I love to read. I love to see kids come in,” she beamed, surrounded by books. And her love, along with that of at least 40 volunteers, is helping Kailua’s library stay afloat after the latest budget cuts were announced. Friends of Kailua Library raise a majority of the library’s funds through the bookstore. The money generated goes toward library books, guest speakers and supplies. Books are usually $1 or less for Hawaiiana.

239 Kuulei Rd, Kailua, Mon, Wed & Fri 10am–12pm, Tue 1–7pm, Thu 3–7pm, Sat 10am–2pm, 266-9911, volunteers welcome.

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Bill’s Bookmobile

The store came into existence through donations from the family and friends of the late Bill Harper.

690 Pohukaina St., Mon–Fri 10am–2pm, first Saturdays 10am–2pm, [], 536-4174

The (book) cart before the horse

Hawaii’s libraries are losing 10 percent, or $3 million dollars, from the budget. This is no time for Friends of the Library of Hawaii to slow down. In fact, they’re gearing up for their 62nd Annual Booksale. Save the date, because at least 3,500 boxes of books will be unloaded to send you into a used book wonderland. Opening day will have the widest selection. But if want to save some moolah, the next to last day boasts 50 percent off and closes with 50-cent books. You’re also helping kids stay in the reading loop. Recycle knowledge: everyone will win.

McKinley High School Cafeteria, 1039 S. King St., members preview sale Fri 6/19 5–9pm, Sat 6/20–Sun 6/28, [], 536-4174

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Bank of Hawaii Book Swap

The Book Swap encourages you to bring used books and in turn you will get a nice, new book. Seems like a fair trade-off. Five per person max, please make sure the books are in good shape. The books will go to Hawaii Literacy.

4th Annual Hawaii Book and Music Festival at Honolulu Hale, 530 S. King St., Sat 5/16–Sun 5/17, festival 10am–8pm, book swap 10am–5pm, [] 234-0404

The warehouse of treasures

Jelly’s is no-frills but tons of fun. You have to walk through the music to get to the books, so good luck not buying anything there. The Honolulu store has some Hawaiiana books, but the ‘Aiea store has a wider selection. Less then 20 percent of the titles here are new.

Jelly’s Honolulu, 420 Coral St., Mon–Sat 10am–7pm, Sun 10am–6pm, book buyer Mon, Tue, Thu–Sat 10am–5pm, [], 587-7001
Jelly’s ‘Aiea, Harbor Center Shopping Plaza, 98-023 Hekaha St., Mon–Sat 10am–8pm, Sun 10am–6pm, book buyer Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 10am–5pm, [], 484-4413

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Rainbow Books

The one room used book and music store is cluttered but has great finds. Textbooks, reference, fiction and an adult section thrive here.

1010 University Ave., Sun–Thu 10am–10pm, Fri–Sat 10am–11pm. [], 955-7994

Gecko Books

Used sci-fi! Like, whoa! William Shatner wrote a series of books?

1151 12th Ave., Wed-Sat 10am–9pm, Sun–Tue 11am-7pm, 732-1292


Many books are under a dollar.


Native Books/Na Mea Hawaii

Even though the used book collection is slim, give it a shot.

Ward Warehouse, 1050 Ala Moana Blvd., Mon–Sat 10am–9pm, Sun 10am–6pm, [], 597-8967