Hawaii Book Publishers Association (HBPA)


ka palapala pookela

On Friday, December 13, 2019, at the Hawaii State Library on Oahu, the 2019 Ka Palapala Po'okela Awards were held. Awards of excellence were given across 11 book categories with the prized Samuel M. Kamakau Award going to: Hoʻoulu Hawaiʻi: The King Kalākaua Era.

Special thanks to the Hawaii State Library, the judges, and HBPA's President, Ron Cox, for creating a wonderful night of celebration.

 OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE (pdf)  (docx)       HBPA WEBSITE LISTING         PICTURES (flickr)              

Ka  Palapala  Po'okela  AWARDS 2019

KPP 2019

Please save the date and join us on Friday, December 13th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to celebrate the best books in Hawai'i. The event is free, open to the public, and a good way to network with those involved in book publishing.

Nominees Announced / 
Ka  Palapala  Po'okela  AWARDS (2019)

At long last, the Hawaii Book Publishers Association is pleased to announce the Ka Palapala Po‘okela Award nominees for 2019. The award is given biennally to recognize the finest books published in 2017 and 2018. See the nominations here.

The award presentation will be held in December 2019 and as always, it is open to the public. Details will be forthcoming soon.

Call For Entries / 
Ka  Palapala  Po'okela  AWARDS (2019)

The Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards are given biennally by the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association (HBPA) to recognize the finest books published in Hawai‘i and to honor individuals involved in their creation. HBPA sponsors these awards as part of its public outreach effort to enhance the recognition of book publishing as an industry in Hawai‘i and support local literacy. The term “Ka Palapala Po‘okela” can be translated from Hawaiian to mean “excellent or exemplary manuscript.”

Nominees are customarily judged in twelve categories of excellence. In each category, two honors may be given—an Honorable Mention and the Award of Excellence—as determined by the votes of adjudicators specially-selected for their expertise in a particular category’s subject matter, genre conventions, target audience, etc. Each category of excellence will be judged by a committee of three adjudicators as appointed by the HBPA.

While the awards are primarily designed to honor Hawai‘i’s regional publishing, a special “Aloha from Across the Sea” award recognizes excellence in books about Hawai‘i or with a Hawaiian theme that are published outside of the state.

Two additional trophy awards may also presented by the HBPA membership: the Samuel M. Kamakau Award, given for the overall Hawai‘i Book of the Year, selected from the category Award of Excellence winners, and the John Dominis Holt Award, given to an individual for an extended history of Excellence in Hawai‘i Book Publishing.



Ka Palapala Po'okela AWARDS

ka palapala pookela kpp 2017

The first biennial Ka Palapala Po'okela Awards is now history, and we are very grateful to all those who helped make this event a success, especially Ron Cox, the Vice President of HBPA, and all the judges, who had the difficult task of selecting winners among so many well-qualified entries. Click here to see the list of winners and here to see pictures from the event.



By being creative and diversifying, independent bookstores are finding a way to survive in a digital age. Link to Houston Chronicle article.



APRIL 12th, 2016
This morning several association members pitched in and worked the phones at Hawaii Public Radio (HPR) to help with their annual spring fundraiser. Through the years, HPR has played a major role in promoting books and supporting our local publishing community. It was a pleasure to help them out.

If you can, please consider making a pledge. Every dollar makes a difference and provides culturally relevant programming you will not find anywhere else. Mahalo.

Writing The Hawaii Memoir

Darien Gee talks about her award-winning book, Writing The Hawaii Memoir. The book is published by Watermark Publishing.

The Red-Headed Hawaiian

Chris McKinney and Rudy Puana discuss their book, The Red-Headed Hawaiian, which was published by Mutual Publishing and won as the best book in the literature category at the 2015 Ka Palapala Po'okela Awards.

KAMAnamaikalani beamer

Kamanamaikalani Beamer discusses his book, No Mākou Ka Mana: Liberating the Nation, published by Kamehameha Publishing.


KPP Award Winner

The annual Ka Palapala Po'okela Awards show was held on April 23th, 2015 at the East-West Center at UH Manoa. The top prize, The Samuel M. Kamakau Award, went to Kamanamaikalani Beamer for No Mākou ka Mana: Liberating the Nation (Kamehameha Publishing). The Hawai'i Book Publishers Association would like to extend our gratitude to the judges, Howard Dicus (our host), and to Maile Meyer and her ohana at Native Books for planning and coordinating this year's event. Pictures from the event can be found on our Flickr page. The list of all nominees and winners can be found here. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year.


KPP Award Winners 2015

Please join us on Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 for the annual Ka Palapala Po'okela Awards. The event is open to the public and refreshments will be provided.



Book trailers are becoming an increasingly common way of marketing new titles. Here is an example from Bamboo Ridge Press.



HBPA Holiday Sale

Please join us on Saturday, November 15th, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the Pop-Up Holiday Book & Gift Fair. It will be held in Kaimuki at Bess Press, 3565 Harding Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816. Sellers will be donating a portion of their proceeds to help support Aloha Harvest, a non-profit organization helping to feed Hawaii's hungry.

There will be a wide selection of books available at discounted prices. This is a great opportunity to support the local publishing community and get some early Christmas shopping done. Several HBPA members with award-winning titles will be there including:

Bamboo Ridge
Bess Press
BeachHouse Press
Bishop Museum Press
Calabash Books (Belknap Publishing)
Island Paradise Publishing
Kamehameha Publishing
Kahala Press
Slate Ridge Press
Watermark Publishing

Mark your calendar now, and we look forward to seeing you there.


KPP Award Winners 2014

On Thursday evening, April 24, the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association (HBPA) revealed the winners of the 2014 Ka Palapala Po‘okela book awards at a lively ceremony at the East-West Center emceed by local television commentator Howard Dicus. The celebratory event marked the 21st year of the awards, which are presented by HBPA to recognize the finest books published in Hawai‘i during the previous year and honor the individuals and companies involved in their creation. The judging process relied on panels of three adjudicators from Hawai‘i’s book community to evaluate titles within their assigned categories. This year a total of 48 entries from 37 separate book projects from a spectrum of local publishers were nominated in ten categories. Additional event photos can be found on Flickr.

Is Amazon bad for books?


Cheap Words is an in-depth exposé by George Packer that explores how Amazon is profoundly affecting the publishing industry. Source: The New Yorker (2014)



Author, Wing Tek Lum, discusses his latest work.


Ka Palapala Pookela

On May 10th, 2013, the Hawai'i State Library hosted the annual Ka Palapala Po'okela Awards. Each year, the event acknowledges excellence among local authors, designers, editors, illustrators, and photographers across several categories. The association wishes to thank all those who participated with a special mahalo to the Hawai'i State Library for their incredible aloha in helping with the event. We also wish to thank not only all the nominees and their publishers but the judges who had the difficult task of choosing winners among the many exceptional books.  


Big Island author, Tom Peek, discusses his latest novel, Daughters of Fire.


Hawaii Book Publishing Association (HBPA)

The Hawaii Book Publishers Association (HBPA), established in 1986, is a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to promote book publishing in Hawaii. The association's members presently include the state's preeminent book publishers, consultants, and distributors.

HBPA activities have included:

  • creation and sponsorship of the Ka Palapala Po'okela Awards program, which recognizes the best in Hawai'i book publishing.
  • support for statewide literacy programs.
  • sponsorship of events and workshops for authors and publishers.
  • participation in local, national, and international trade shows and conventions such as those organized by the American Booksellers Association, American Library Assocation, and other trade associations.
  • book displays and promotions at local national retail outlets, shopping malls, schools, and other public locations.


  • President: Ron Cox
  • Vice President: Joel Cosseboom
  • Secretary & Treasurer: G. Keast