Book Depository Blog



  • University of Hawai'i Press

    Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:40

    The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Royden Muranaka (University of Hawai'i Press): University of Hawai'i Press has three specific markets for its publications: (1) scholars and academics around the globe who purchase our titles on Asian Studies and Pacific Studies; (2) students purchasing our textbooks for university course work in the social sciences and humanities; (3) readers interested in learning more about Hawai'i, its people, language, history, and culture.

    BD: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    RM: The principal challenges that we face at present are fewer people reading, increased cost of publications due to declining printruns creating higher price points that seem to be meeting resistance in the marketplace, and economic unease around the globe. Opportunities include electronic versions of publications, print on demand options which will reduce print inventory, allow a book to remain available well into the future, and we can publish on extremely narrow but important topics that would not meet traditional financial margins.

    BD: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    RM: We are editorial driven so the book's content is the deciding factor on whether to invest in a project and/or author. Having said that, marketing forecasts and financial projections determine if -- and how much -- a project needs in terms of a cash subsidy to support itself. All of our publications must meet agreed upon financial criteria in order to be published. The acquisitions editors are aware of the financial aspects when they contract an author and understand they might be required to approach funding agencies in order for the book to be published.

    BD: What books are you most proud of having published?

    RM: Books that have stood the test of time and books that are regularly cited in other publications as the most important in their field. For example, our first publication, the three volume The Hawaiian Kingdom by history professor Ralph Kuykendall has been in print since 1947 and informed tens of thousands of Hawai'i's students about the history of the Islands. Hundreds of thousands of students around the world have learned the Japanese language from the four volume Learn Japanese by John Young. Paul Varley's classic text on Japanese Culture is now in a fourth edition and widely used in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. It has been translated into Spanish, Polish, Czech, Romanian, and Japanese.

    BD: What books are you working on right now?

    RM: A lavishly illustrated book on Beijing Opera costumes, a two volume introduction to the Chinese language, a sociology of Southeast Asia, several titles in Buddhist studies, and a major reference book on the ethnobotany of Pohnpei.


    These are The Book Depository's 5 favourite University of Hawai'i Press titles:

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