You can trust a good book. They are an escape to entertainment, comfort, joy, knowledge, companionship to anyone, at anytime.
Elaine’s Book Store - usually known as Elaine’s Books - is a curated library of more than 5000 secondhand books for sale in person and online. The bright yellow shop on Duckworth Street in downtown St. John’s is an invitation to escape from the everyday. The store’s cozy space is shelved floor to ceiling with hardcovers and trade paperbacks organized by topic, with a couple of stacks - usually new arrivals - that call the mind to relax and explore, and there are comfy chairs just for that purpose. Elaine’s Books is family friendly with a robust kids section, child-sized chairs, and a place to play. The online store is neat and simple, and shipping fees are charged at cost.
Elaine Janes is THE Elaine. She loves the books and she knows the constantly changing inventory. The store was born of her lifelong love of books which yielded a very impressive book collection. After winding down her first career in administration at CBC Toronto, Elaine came home with 10,000 books and a dream. She says, “I wanted to create a space where book lovers could buy, sell, and experience great books affordably.” The hallmark of Elaine’s Books selections is quality of content and condition, and variety. You might find the latest best-seller next to an award-winner next to an authentic ‘Pocket Book’, so named because it fit in the pocket of a uniform of a young soldier who could read it in the trenches.
The shelves encircle the shop, starting with the Newfoundland collection. Elaine’s hosts one of the world’s largest collections of fiction, non-fiction, political stories, histories and social commentaries about or by Newfoundland and Labradorians. It’s always changing. Around the shop on any given day you’ll find 1000s of books categorized by topic and latest best-sellers, first-class fiction, reference, classics, sci-fi, collectibles, art and more. There are even books on organizing books.
Along with those more recently printed, Elaine’s library features rare, classic and out-of-print collectible books. Leather-bound, hand-stitched fIrst editions, signed books are all on display for people to fall in love with. “These books are survivors,” Elaine says, “when you consider that these books have been in existence for 100s of years. They would have been read by lamplight. The physical books themselves are a connection to the past.”
In many ways Elaine’s Books is like a great downtown library. All are welcome. All the books are cared for. And if you’re so inclined you can buy, read, and sell the same book back for another person to enjoy. Elaine says, “That’s the thing about books. Their value never wears out.”