Elaine's Books & Cafe

downtown bookstore and cafe

storefront 206-208 Duckworth Street, St. John's and Online

Escape with Elaine’s Books & Cafe

You can trust a good book. They are an escape to entertainment, comfort, joy, knowledge, companionship to anyone, at any time. Pair it with a sweet soothing Cafe, great coffee, and comfort treats and you've got the full Elaine's Books & Cafe experience.

Elaine’s Book Store - usually known as Elaine’s Books - is a curated library of more than 5,000 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. 

Right next door is Elaine's Cafe. With Bonavista coffee, locally baked yummy things, fruit, and an atmosphere that lets you sink right whether you're sitting in or taking out.

Quality secondhand books

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 fits in the pocket of a uniform of a young soldier who could read it in the trenches.

Large selection of Newfoundland Books 

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 1,000s 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.

Rare, classic and collectible 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.”

Neighbourhood, environmentally friendly community Bookstore and Cafe

In many ways, Elaine’s is like a great downtown library with great coffee. All are welcome. The books and the coffee are locally sourced and contribute to a sustainable system. The books can be read and re-read, sold and re-sold. The coffee beans are roasted in Bonavista and composted in St. John's. So if you're inclined you can buy at 208 Duckworth and pop next door to the Cafe at 206 Duckworth, and settle in for a comfy read. Or vice versa! It's an experience that can happen every week. Elaine says, “That’s the thing about the book experience. The value never wears out.”

g2g Inside Scoops- click the play button to find out more about Elaine's journey to opening her Cafe, or HERE to see it on our YouTube Channel.

Elaines Books storefront Duckworth Street quality used books Jellybean Row
Elaines Cafe is Now Open flyer
Large selection of Newfoundland Books Elaines Books
Cappuccino in a compostable cup at Elaine's Cafe.  Two arms are visible and the colours are pinkish/orange.
Bright colouful Child Play Area with chairs and table  Elaines Books
Customers at Elaine's Cafe dress their coffee in a beautiful, softly lit coffee station.  The chalkboard menu is in the background on a yellow wall.
Leatherbound, gold-embossed Rare and Collector Books Elaines Books
Women smiling with coffee.  Elaine Janes and her mom at Elaine's Cafe
Tidy Bookshelves filled with great secondhand books Elaines Books
Elaine Janes at the laptop Elaines Books
Elaines Books storefront Duckworth Street quality used books Jellybean Row
Elaines Cafe is Now Open flyer
Large selection of Newfoundland Books Elaines Books
Cappuccino in a compostable cup at Elaine's Cafe.  Two arms are visible and the colours are pinkish/orange.
Bright colouful Child Play Area with chairs and table  Elaines Books
Customers at Elaine's Cafe dress their coffee in a beautiful, softly lit coffee station.  The chalkboard menu is in the background on a yellow wall.
Leatherbound, gold-embossed Rare and Collector Books Elaines Books
Women smiling with coffee.  Elaine Janes and her mom at Elaine's Cafe
Tidy Bookshelves filled with great secondhand books Elaines Books
Elaine Janes at the laptop Elaines Books