In an age when e-books and online booksellers have displaced many brick-and-mortar book stores, BookEnds remains a veritable treasure trove for bibliophiles who prefer flipping the pages of a book over clicking through pages on a web browser.
Stacked from floor to ceiling with the newest best-sellers as well as an impressive collection of used and hard-to-find editions, Hawaiiana and children’s books, this gem of a store was saved from extinction in 1998 by Pat Banning, a long-time employee of the Honolulu Book Shop chain that once occupied the space at Kailua Shopping Center.
“The store was close to where I live, it was jewel-sized and manageable,” Pat recalls. When the owners decided to shutter the store, Pat stepped in and bought it. “Looking back, it was a wise choice for me,” she says. “Kailua is a great little town with fabulous demographics and an amazing sense of community and preserving traditions.”
Asked about the secrets to BookEnds’ success in the digital age, Pat says that being a small business has enabled the store to adapt quickly to meet changing market needs. She diversified with the addition of toys, which share space in a reading corner for children, and she takes pride in stocking – and stalking – out-of-print books. At the entrance to the store, a rack of inexpensive, used paperbacks is a popular place to browse for a fun ‘beach book’.
Above all, Pat counts her employees as BookEnds’ biggest assets. “They are the best,” she says. “Helpful and knowledgeable, they go out of their way to give you great service. All of our books are inventoried on the store computer, so they can easily see if a title is on the shelf.” If not, BookEnds is always happy to order it for you.