I am currently working on the 2nd edition of Maui 2021 and Beyond, which will now be titled Maui Now and Beyond, so I decided to browse Amazon to see what Maui Travel Guides are available out there. I was surprised to see that there are sooooooo many self-published Maui Travel Guides that on on currently on Amazon. Most of these guides were published in 2023. I am guessing it has something to do with the availability of AI tools such as ChatGPT and Jasper. I bought 3 books to check them out and all three books are gave general information even though their subtitles and book descriptions promises a comprehensive guide. What concerns me with these self-published books is that most of them uses the phrases: Revealed, Unveiled the Secrets, Hidden Gems. Those are red flags. Maui Locals do not appreciate those “revealing, unveiling and showing you the hidden gems” aspect of tourism. Our focus on Maui now is “Malama” and Kuleana”. None of the self published books I bought mentioned “Malama”.
This brings me to the reason why I think I really need to publish the second edition of my Maui Guide Book. It is because the highlight of my book is about being a responsible visitor and/or tourist. Sure many of these books mentioned about respecting the culture but with no reference to how is that applied, the visitors will still be at a loss.
With so many available choices, it will now be up to the consumer to discern and make a wise decision on which guide they will purchase.
I must admit, Maui Revealed is still the most comprehensive Maui Guidebook out there – I just wish the author would be more respectful of the Hawaiian Culture. While the new editions are now “toned down”, there are still sections there where the author has chosen to be “proud” about revealing placed that should have not been exploited. An example is when he said, and I quote “we have found many special places that people born and raised here didn’t even know – because that’s all we do – explore the island. Visitors will find the book valuable as having a friend living on the island” (page 9). I wonder if it ever occurred to him that the locals know about those places but they don’t want to “reveal” them to the world as he did. Some places need to remain sacred for the locals, especially the Hawaiians. There was one section in the intro that the author said ” It’s true that a handful of of local residents have become upset because we’ve told readers about places that they’d rather keep for themselves. Ironically, it’s usually not people born and raised here who have this selfish attitude, but rather the new comers who have read about these places in out book (of all things) then adopted the “I’m here now, close the door mentality” (page10). I can tell you from my experience that people who are born and raised here wants some places kept sacred and not exploited. New comers supporting locals about not revealing scared places are not doing it out of “close the door mentality” but out of respect for the Hawaiians.
As I mentioned earlier, I think Maui Revealed is a comprehensive Maui guide. That is true. That is why many tourists buy it. My upcoming “Maui Now and Beyond Book” will not be as detailed as Maui Revealed, but it will definitely have more details about being a responsible Maui Visitor. It will also have more current and specific details than the many self-published book out there on Amazon.
I have nothing against self-publishing. I myself is self-publishing. The authors are just doing their thing. My advice is for the consumer to “be wise”. Check the author’s name and the author’s page to see if the person who wrote the guide is truly qualifies (or a true person and not a made up character). I decided to take a screen shot of some of the “self published” books so you’d know what I am talking about. These are just samples, and there are many more out there.
I love Maui and I am grateful to live here. I truly hope that Maui Visitors will love Maui as we do and will truly be respectful of the Hawaiian Resources and Culture. By the way, my Maui Vacation Planner and Journal is now out on Amazon. I’m super excited about it.
On more time, please allow me to remind you that the MAUI VACATION PLANNER AND JOURNAL is now live on Amazon. I hope you buy a copy for your self, or for a family or friend. You can use it as a companion with any of the Maui Travel Guide of your choice or Youtube Videos about Maui that you watch :).
Mahalo and a hui hou!