Eastsideâ€™s Only Bookstore
Owner, Blue House Booksellers
Please tell us about your business. Blue House Booksellers is the Eastside’s only bookstore. I have a little bit of everything – Hawaiiana, local authors, classic spirituality, kids’ books and a lot of contemporary fiction because I’m a big believer in the beach read. The books are new and used, and I currently have more than 4,500 titles.
What inspired you to open this business? I had a very small used-book store inside my other business, Small Town Coffee. It opened when Small Town Coffee changed locations in Kapaa, because it also happened to be during the same month Border’s closed. So I thought the extra room I had could either be dry storage or books, and the bookstore just seemed to fit.
Why books? I’m such a reader. You get to hold the sum total of someone’s knowledge on a topic in your hands and really engage with that author and subject matter.
What’s your favorite genre? I love good, flowery fiction that brings everything to life. And I love time travel and aliens.
What’s your favorite book? Peter Matthiessen’s Shadow Country. It’s about an incident in the 1900s in the Florida Everglades backwater pulled from several different perspectives. I read it for the first time three years ago. I read it very, very slowly because I didn’t want it to end.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business? People come in and I ask them what they like to read. Some people are shy about it because it’s a very intimate question. It opens up all these facets of conversation, and so you get right to the chase really fast. You have these great conversations with people about where their literary life is, what they think about. I think that’s my favorite part.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your business? Marketing and getting the word out.
Do you offer any additional activities? It’s a community bookstore and I encourage community participation. I hold free classes, such as a kids’ reading hour, where you can bring your children (ages 2 to 5) when your bigger kids are in school. The parents come and read their favorite books to all the kids. Every first Saturday of the month from 5 to 9 p.m. we have local authors read and present their books.
Kapaa Town Dragon Building (upstairs). Open daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.