Basically Books More than a Bookstore...a Gathering of Things Hawaiian. Specializing in Hawaiian Books.


E Komo Mai…Welcome

Painting by Don Blanding of hula girl.

Welcome to Basically Books! We are a family-owned independent bookstore located in historic downtown Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, facing beautiful Hilo Bay.

New Products From Petroglyph Press

NEW EDITION of Stars Over Hawaii! $19.95

A regional astronomy classic for decades, the 3rd Edition of STARS OVER HAWAII has been reviewed, revised and updated by Dr. Timothy Slater, Astronomer at University of Wyoming at Laramie. During a chance encounter at HawaiiCon last September, Dr. Slater met David and Christine Reed, of Petroglyph Press and offered to contribute an update in memory of their mutual friend and colleague, the late Dr. Richard A. Crowe.
In 2002 Dr. Crowe undertook the first update to STARS OVER HAWAII in over 25 years, providing a tremendous amount of new science, while retaining the charm and voice of the book's creator, Edwin Bryan, Jr., as published in 1955 when he worked at Bishop Museum. Mr. Bryan's monthly Hawaiian star charts and star chart finder represent a distinguished accomplishment. Dr. Crowe added a chapter on Polynesian Voyaging and Wayfinding, and arranged for reproduction of the Polynesian Voyaging Society Star Compasses, in addition to a substantial science update. Dr. Slater has polished the statistics and updated facts with a sensitivity to Hawaiian culture gained through working with hundreds of teachers in Hawai'i.
This third edition includes new scientific discoveries and small changes to update the content as well as including a chart of Hawaiian Moon Phases and a Resources page of education and astronomy organizations, so backyard stargazers can explore the Universe above us and appreciate the Earth beneath our feet.


The latest contribution of beloved artist Dietrich Varez to interpreting and illustrating stories from Hawaiian folklore is presented in 'Iwa, The Hawaiian Legend. When the fisherman Kea'au, renowned for catching octopus, finds two beautiful and rare red cowry shells he thinks they must be a gift from the goddess Hina.
After he fashions them into a lure, the octopus swarm to the magical shells and he gathers more than enough to feed his whole village. The bounty is short lived when chief 'Umi learns of the magical shell lure and demands to have it for himself.
Thus begins the tale of how the boy-thief, 'Iwa, who exhibits the same thieving traits as his namesake, the Great Frigatebird, is invited to the island of Hawai'i to retrieve the precious lure. There he encounters the high chief 'Umi, famous historical ruler of Hawai'i island, who puts 'Iwa's talents to the test.
The rich imagery of Hawai'i's diverse environment, its sea life, plants and animals is depicted alongside Varez's interpretation of the human aspect of this classic tale.

Contact Information
Phone: (808) 961-0144
Toll-Free: 1-800-903-MAPS
Fax: (808) 935-1553

We specialize in Hawaiian books, and stock a wide selection of current Hawaiiana literature. Our selection includes history, fiction, travel guides, natural history, marine science, children's books, and much more. We also specialize in rare and out of print Hawaiian books—we may have that hard-to-find book that you're looking for!

The Basically Books Family

Basically Books is also the largest map dealership in Hilo and on the Big Island—in fact, we are sometimes called "The Map Shop." Check out our Maps page for more information!

In addition to all of this, we carry a large selection of Hawaiiana gifts, many of them made right here in the Islands.

picture of books.

We don't have online ordering yet, but you can email us or give us a call at (808) 961-0144 (Hawaii Island) or 1-800-903-MAPS (Toll Free). If you find yourself in Hilo, please come visit us at 160 Kamehameha Avenue, and let our friendly and knowledgeable staff help you find what you're looking for. Discover for yourself why we are more than a bookstore!

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Map of Downtown Hilo with star showing location of Basically Books.

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