Nonprofit bookstores enjoy increased sales

Books are moving off the shelves faster than ever at three Maui Friends of the Library bookstores, with 55,000 sold in Kahului and Lahaina since opening last year.

Manager Jo Ann Carroll, who has been associated with four bookstores on Maui over several decades, noted that the group’s new Kahului store, at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, has sold more than 39,000 books since November.

“People may love their Kindles, but many of us still love to hold a book in our hands,” Carroll said.

Visiting Maui to tour educational facilities recently, state Sen. Jill Tokuda, Committee on Education chairwoman, recently met with MFOL officials and members of the Rotary Club of Lahaina library restoration committee to learn about the innovative bookstores and the library restoration. She cited the library work as a model and “great community effort.”

Another 15,000 books have been sold over 21 months at the first MFOL shopping center location, on the 3rd floor of Wharf Cinema Center, Carroll said.

The group is looking for a volunteer store manager with experience in retail or book selling for its store at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center to succeed Carroll, who will move to a Lahaina store.

Volunteers for four-hour shifts are needed for the Kahului location especially, because the store is open seven days a week.

“While people love books, increasing numbers are emptying their libraries and donating books to the stores because they no longer have room in their homes,” Carroll said. All stores accept walk-in donation of books.

“The success of the stores helped us provide extra financial support to complete the Lahaina library renovation and will enable us to make even greater contributions to programs run by the county’s nine libraries,” said Carroll, a member of the MFOL board.