LAHAINA - Lahaina News columnist Norm Bezane is celebrating the 30-month anniversary of the publication of "Voices of Maui: Natives and Newcomers" with a book signing at the giant Barnes & Noble store in Lahaina Gateway Shopping Center on Friday, July 27, from 4 to 6 p.m.
The first 20 purchasers will receive a free Kaanapali scenic or swimsuit poster with images photographed by the author.
Featuring profiles of Hawaiians talking about the culture, entertainers, merchants, well-known community leaders, colorful characters and politicians, "the nonfiction book is one of the few, if any, available about contemporary Maui," Bezane said.
Norm Bezane (left) with Mayor Alan Arakawa.
One fan of the book, John Balog of Kaanapali, described it as "a delightful collection of stories that are like tasty cookies. They are short, easy to digest... give an insightful perspective on living on Maui. Their stories jump from the page."
The book "is amazing," said Janna Hoehn of Kihei.
"I don't read books, but I couldn't put it down," one visitor told the author this summer.
Bezane noted, "The notorious Willie Sutton once said he robbed banks because that's where the money is. People can find my book for sale in coffee shops, but it is to bookstores readers go to buy books."
For at least a dozen local authors, achieving decent sales is getting tougher and tougher. Barnes & Noble is now the only major bookstore on all of Maui, Bezane noted.
"We are so lucky to have them," he added.
"People who love to read - especially those who like to hold a hardback or paperback - need to do everything they can to support every bookseller," the author said.
"What you especially realize as an author is that the publishing industry is undergoing a vast transformation with the introduction of 'ebooks.' Walking Kaanapali Beach, you see increasing numbers of people with the Barnes & Noble Nook and other portable devices," the Lahaina author observed.
'Voices of Maui' is available on Nook as well, but you won't get an autographed copy," he continued.
"This is one of the fun things about having a book out. I always write a personal comment - sometimes at length - but sometimes I have momentary writer's block."
Some of those profiled even sign the book. Dale (405,000-Mai Tai) Sorenson and Concierge Malihini Heath of the Kaanapali Beach Hotel often sign their profiles at the request of guests.
Bezane is also planning a release soon of limited editions of a small new book, "Remarkable People of Aloha," who visitors and locals encounter every day.
The book from Voices of Maui Talk Story LLC, Bezane's publishing company, will be available with custom covers and content and marketed to businesses that serve the visitor industry.