BEYOND BORDERS: Thought the closing of the Dairy Road store is the end of book-buying on Maui? Think again


Arts & Entertainment

Beyond Borders

Thought the closing of the Dairy Road store is the end of book-buying on Maui? Think again

by Anu Yagi

“Today we of the civilized world enjoy unique wealth more precious than gold—our wealth of accumulated knowledge in printed form,” writes Frances Rogers in his 1960 book Painted Rock to Printed Page: The Story of Writing and Printing. My copy is a ruddy little hardcover—still in its tattered sleeve—riddled with age spots and emitting a musk that makes my eyes itch. Still, I treasure it and will bury my nose in the bloom of its binding nonetheless (you have to peer extra close when allergic eyes swell shut).

Because whether newly inked or time-worn, books have an unmistakable aroma—like rain on asphalt, sex and candy or fresh-cut grass. And like sharks in chummed-up water, the heady smell alone can send bibliophilic folk (like me) into a frenzy.

My obsession began at the Kahului Public Library, with mom. I’d leave with my toddler arms and chin stretched around the tallest pile of take-home reads I could muster. And every night I fell asleep with the lights on (and still do). Soon, I was assuming the same position at rummage sales and thrift stores, and before I knew it I was a book hoarder.

Whether newly inked or time-worn, books have an unmistakable aroma — like rain on asphalt, sex and candy or fresh-cut grass.

For those who are likewise afflicted—and even to those who are casual readers (I have one friend who says he only ever reads when in jail)—last week’s announcement that Borders is closing its Dairy Road location by the end of May came as a sad shock.

Nearly $1.3 billion in debt, on February 16, 2011 Borders Group, Inc. announced it had filed for reorganization relief under Chapter 11. The company received court approval for a store reduction program, and plans to close 30 percent of their locations nationwide.

On Twitter, @mauilibrarian2 wrote to me, “Borders closing isn’t all about buying books. [It’s] sad because we’re losing a vibrant PLACE that serves as a barometer of who we are and what we value.” It’s a kind and true sentiment that can be said of any hub of knowledge in the heart of a town, corporate or no. Yet people seem to be lamenting the store’s impending closure as if its the end of book-selling on Maui altogether. To the contrary—there are still lots of places to buy books (other than the Internet).

Borders Express remains open at the Queen Kaahumanu Center and, of course, there’s the Gaussian glow of the big, new Barnes and Noble in Lahaina. But nearly every grocery store, touristy one-stop and museum gift shop has a small selection of titles, too—everything from trashy poolside reads to area guides to local lit for keiki, plus genre-specific selections at certain stores. Looking for a do-it-yourselfer how-to? Head to Lowes or Home Depot. History buff? The Bailey House Museum offers 10 percent off for members. New Age ideas tickle your fancy? Green Lotus or Lotus Heart Book & Gift Shop will guide your way. Hedging your bets by getting healthy? Down to Earth, Mana Foods and Whole Foods can help you out. And, for religious devotees, there are shops like Lilies of the Field Catholic Bookshop and Kihei Christian Bookstore.

And as for used books (in addition to local thrift stores) there are two—very special—bibliomaniac enablers on-isle: the Maui Friends of the Library (MFOL) behind the old Puunene School near the sugar mill, and JoAnn Carrol’s Old Lahaina Book Emporium, nestled in a sweet little alley off Front Street.

“Part boneyard for titles with osteoporosis-ridden spines, part monument to the infinite potential of Gutenberg’s invention, the place is one of Maui’s quintessential hidden gems,” wrote MauiTime’s Kate Bradshaw, in a July 2009 feature about the Puunene institution. The MFOL says their “qualified estimate is in excess of 180,000 books to choose from” and they charge just a dime per book (other than a few rare titles, which are still moderately priced).

Meanwhile Carrol’s shop seems ripped from my REM, with leaning, laden shelves creating a labyrinth I wouldn’t mind getting lost in. Carrol says her clientele runs the gamut, from regulars to visiting collectors and enthusiasts. Her prices are always a smidgen lower than the Internet average, and range from $1-1,000. Her vintage Hawaiiana collection is robust, and I found Max Freedom Long’s The Secret Science Behind Miracles, a book about kahuna magic, which I’d long been searching for.

Though Borders is technically competition, Carrol says that the store’s closing won’t do her any good (the two West side express locations at the Lahaina Cannery Mall and Whalers Village recently closed, too). She says used book shops like hers thrive off the flow of those who are “eager to grab the new releases, but don’t keep them.” Ultimately, she predicts, books will become obsolete entirely, with the big push toward e-books and portable readers like the Kindle.

So maybe Borders mourners are right. Perhaps this marks the beginning of a new chapter—not just the end of book selling on Maui, but book selling period. I like to think books—and bookshops—will survive. Because when I look into my crystal ball, all I see is my reflection. The reflection of a book lover who may read a lot online, but who will never relinquish reveling in the tangible page. Even if just for the smell.

Book Nooks on Maui

The Most Comprehensive Online Listing


Hana Public Library
P.O. Box 490, Hana; 808-248-4848
Mondays & Fridays, 8am-4pm; Tuesdays, 9am-4pm; Wednesdays & Thursdays, 11am-7pm (closed Saturdays & Sundays)

Kahului Public Library
90 School St., Kahulu; 808-873-3097
Tuesdays, 12-8pm; Wednesdays through Saturdays, 9am-5pm (closed Sundays & Mondays)

Kihei Public Library
35 Waimahaihai St., Kihei; 808-875-6833
Tuesdays, 12-8pm; Wednesdays through Saturdays, 9am-5pm (closed Sundays & Mondays)

Lahaina Public Library
680 Wharf St., Lahaina; 808-662-3950
Tuesdays, 12-8pm; Wednesdays & Thursdays 9am-5pm; Fridays & Saturdays; 10:30am-4:30pm (closed Sundays & Mondays)

Makawao Public Library
1159 Makawao Ave., Makawao; 808-573-8785
Mondays & Wednesdays 12-8pm; Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays, 9:30am-5pm (closed Fridays & Sundays)

Wailuku Public Library
251 High St., Wailuku; 808-243-5766
Mondays through Wednesdays & Fridays, 9am-5pm; Thursdays 1-8pm (closed Saturdays & Sundays)


Bailey House Museum’s Gift Shop
2375-A Main St., Wailuku; 808-244-3326
open Mondays through Saturdays, 10am-4pm

Bird of Paradise Antiques
56 N. Market St., Wailuku; 808-242-7699
open Mondays through Fridays, 8am-4pm; Saturdays, 10am-2pm; Sundays, 10am-4pm

Borders Express
Queen Kaahumanu Center, 275 W. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului; 808-871-6112
open Mondays through Saturdays, 9:30am-9pm; Sundays 10am-5pm

540 Haleakala Hwy., Kahului; 808-877-5248
open Mondays through Fridays 10am-8:30pm; Saturdays 9:30am-6pm; Sundays 10am-6pm

Down to Earth
305 Dairy Rd., Kahului; 808-877-2661
open Mondays through Saturdays 7am-9pm; Sundays 8am-8pm

90 Kane St., Kahului; 808-877-2808
open daily, 6am-11pm

Green Garage
400 Hana Hwy., Kahului; 808-344-2269

Green Lotus
1816 Mill St., Wailuku; 808-244-2300
open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10am-5pm

Home Depot
100 Pakaula St., Kahului; 808-893-7800
open Mondays through Saturdays 6am-9pm; Sunday 7am-7pm

Ka Lima O Maui
95 Mahalani St., Kahului; 808-244-5502
open Mondays through Saturdays 6am-9pm; Sunday 7am-7pm

Kahului Airport (OGG)
1 Kahului Airport Rd., Kahului

424 Dairy Rd., Kahului; 808-871-8553
open daily, 7am-10pm

Lilies of the Field Catholic Bookstore
Main Street Promenade, 2050 Main St., Wailuku; 808-244-8030
open Mondays through Fridays, 10am to 6pm; Saturdays 9am-4pm
[email protected]

Longs Drugs
Maui Mall, 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului; 808-877-0041
open daily 7-12am

Lowe’s Home Improvement
270 Dairy Rd., Kahului; 808-873-0383
open Mondays through Saturdays, 6am-9pm; Sunday 7am-8pm

Maui Friends of the Library
behind the old Puunene School, off Hansen Rd.
open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9am-4pm (usually)

Maui Tropical Plantation
1670 Honoapiilani Hwy., Wailuku; 808-244-7643
open daily, 9am-4pm

Native Intelligence
45 N. Market St., Wailuku; 808-249-2421
open Mondays through Fridays 10am-5pm; Saturdays 10am-4pm

10 N. Market St., Wailuku; 808-244-9315
open Mondays through Saturdays,10am-6pm
@RequestsHI on Twitter

Ross Dress For Less
200 E. Kamehameha Ave., Kahului; 808-877-5483
open Mondays through Saturdays 9am-9:30pm; Sundays 10am-9pm

Sack N Save
790 Eha St., Wailuku; 808-244-3656
open daily, 6am-12am

200 E. Kamehameha Ave., Kahului; 808-877-3377
open daily, 24-hours

380 Dairy Rd., Kahului 808-871-7244
open Mondays through Saturdays, 9am-9pm; Sundays 10am-6pm

Spirit of Life Bookstore
King’s Cathedral, 777 Mokulele Hwy., Kahului; 808-643-7729

St. Anthony’s Thrift Shop
1627-B Mill St., Wailuku, 808-242-7785
open Mondays through Fridays, 9am-1pm

University of Hawaii Maui College Bookstore
310 W. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului; 808-984-3248
open Mondays through Fridays, 8:30am-4pm

101 Pakaula St., Kahului; 808-871-7820
open daily, 6am-11pm

Whole Foods
Maui Mall, 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave.; 808-872-3310
open daily, 8am-9pm


1181 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei; 808-879-9350
open daily, 24-hours

Hilo Hattie
Piilani Village Shopping Center, 297 Piikea Ave., Kihei; 808-875-4545
open daily, 9am-9pm

Kihei Christian Bookstore
300 E. Welakahao Rd., Kihei; 808-879-1193
open Mondays through Thursdays & Saturdays, 9am-5pm; Fridays 9:30am-10pm; Sunday, 8am-1pm

Longs Drugs
1215 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei; 808-879-2669
open daily, 7-12am

Maui Ocean Center’s Ocean Treasures Store
192 Maalaea Rd., Maalaea; 808-270-7061
open daily, 9am-5pm

Rainbow Attic
Kihei Town Center, 1881 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei; 808-874-0884
open daily, 9am-9pm

Piilani Village Shopping Center, 277 Piikea Ave.; 808-891-9120
open daily, 24-hours

Salvation Army, Kihei
35 Hale Kuai St., Ste. 314, Kihei; 808-875-8065
open Mondays through Saturdays, 9am-5pm

And, at ABC Stores and Whalers General Stores


Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Lahaina Gateway, 325 Keawe St., Lahaina; 808-662-1300
open Sundays through Thursdays, 9am-10pm; Fridays through Saturdays, 9am-11pm

Calvary Christian Bookstore
75 Kupuohi St., Ste. #203, Lahaina; 808-667-7880
open Tuesdays through Fridays, 10am-3pm; Sundays at 10am

Lahaina Gateway, 345 Keawe St. Lahaina; 808-662-7088 / open daily, 6am-11pm
878 Front St., Lahaina; 808-661-0975 / open daily, 6am-12am

Hilo Hattie
900 Front St., Lahaina; 808-667-7911
open daily, 9am-10pm

Longs Drugs
Lahaina Cannery Mall, 1221 Honoapiilani Hwy., Lahaina; 808-667-4384
open daily, 7am-12am

Old Lahaina Book Emporium
834 Front St., Lahaina; 808-661-1399

Lahaina Cannery Mall, 1221 Honoapiilani Hwy., Lahaina; 808-667-4392
open daily, 24-hours

Salvation Army, Lahaina
131 Shaw St., Lahaina; 808-661-8827
open Mondays through Saturdays, 9am-5pm

Wo Hing Temple Museum
858 Front St., Lahaina; 808-661-5553

And, at ABC Stores and Whalers General Stores


Brainchild Books
4150 Hana Hwy., Haiku; 808-572-9102
by appointment

Pukalani Terrace, 55 Pukalani St., Pukalani; 808-572-0674
open daily, 24-hours

Hasegawa General Store
5165 Hana Hwy., Hana; 808-248-7079
open Mondays through Saturdays, 7am-7pm

Longs Drugs
55 Kiopaa Pl., Pukalani; 808-573-9300
open daily, 7am-10pm

Lotus Heart Gift & Bookstore
Temple of Peace, 575 Haiku Rd., Haiku; 808-575-5220

Mana Foods
49 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 808-579-8078
open daily, 8am-8:30pm

Maui Dharma Center
81 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 808-579-8076

Kula Hospital’s Kala Iki Thrift Store
204 Kula Hwy., Kula; 808-878-1221
open every second and final Saturday, and every third Tuesday of the month, 9:30am-1pm

Keiki Kokua Thrift Store
810 Haiku Rd., Haiku; 808-575-5393
open Mondays through Saturdays, 10am-5pm

Maui Child Toys & Books
1158 Makawao Ave., Makawao; 808-250-6160
Mondays through Fridays 10a-5pm; Saturdays 10am-4pm

St. Joseph’s Thrift Shop
1294 Makawao Ave., Makawao; 808-572-9150
open Tuesdays, Thursdays and every second Saturday of the month, 9am-1pm

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Written by Anu Yagi

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