Tag Archives: Books

Spotlight on Fine Print*: The Story of “The 36 Hour Day”

Fine Print* (*and digital!) is an online gallery of titles—books, journals, online collections, and reference works— from AAUP members, developed in celebration of University Press Week 2012. Presses were asked to select one title from their full catalog of publications that they felt exemplifies the work they do. Here, Johns Hopkins University Press—with 134 years of history to choose from—shares how they made that decision.

by Jack Holmes, Director of Development, Johns Hopkins University Press

It is easy to imagine that all the presses participating in the AAUP Fine Print* project had difficulty selecting just one publication to represent a legacy that might include decades of publishing, numerous subject areas, various formats, and many distinguished achievements.

Cover: A. Journal of MathematicsThat was certainly true for us at the Johns Hopkins University Press as we considered our Fine Print selection. We might reasonably have chosen the American Journal of Mathematics, which J. J. Sylvester founded in 1878 and which remains a centerpiece of our journals publishing program. We thought Project MUSE, the highly regarded online collection of journals and books, would be a compelling choice because it represents the innovation and success not just of our press but of the broader community of university presses, libraries, and scholars who collaborated to create it and work to sustain it. We could have chosen any of several discipline-changing titles, from Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology to Carlo Ginzburg’s The Cheese and the Worms, to highlight the capacity of key scholarly works to revolutionize how we think about certain subjects. We could, of course, sensibly select one of our best sellers. And it turns out that our best-selling title also gives us one of our best stories to tell.

Cover: 36-Hour DayThe 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss, by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins, is indeed JHUP’s best-selling book, with more than 2.5 million copies sold in the five editions published since it first appeared in 1980. It has been called a legend, a bible, and the best of its kind. We are proud to include it as the Johns Hopkins University Press title in the AAUP’s Fine Print* collection.

How The 36-Hour Day landed on the JHU Press list, how it almost never found a publisher, and how it ties our press to esteemed friends and colleagues at Johns Hopkins also adds up to a good university-press story, one that we believe echoes the shared mission, values, and aspirations of all AAUP’s member presses.

By the late 1970s, Alzheimer Disease was becoming increasingly known but remained barely understood among the general public as the cause of dementia and memory loss in older patients. Managing the condition medically within psychiatry or geriatric departments was becoming more common, and the psychiatry department at the Johns Hopkins Hospital was one of the first in the nation to establish a special unit for patients with dementia. As growing awareness of the disease brought more frequent requests for advice and information, two members of the program staff at Hopkins, Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins, collaborated on a short booklet advising caregivers on understanding the disease, helping the person with dementia, and coping with the challenges of the caregiver’s role. The booklet was mimeographed repeatedly by the department, and requests for copies continued to increase. With the department overwhelmed by requests, Mace and Rabins explored the possibility of expanding the booklet into a book, but they were turned away by numerous commercial publishers who didn’t see a market and found the topic depressing and uncomfortable.

In the lore of our Press, JHUP author and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Paul McHugh, advised that Mace and Rabins “talk to the Press.” The 36-Hour Day found an appreciative home here, and our press embraced the mission of publishing trusted, expert medical information for general readers. Our successful series, Johns Hopkins Press Health Books, with some fifty similar books available in print and digital formats, is part of this legacy.

While the good The 36-Hour Day has done in the world is arguably beyond measure, we can point to at least some of the numbers that suggest the scale of its impact and success: five editions published since 1980, the most recent in 2011; sales in excess of 2.5 million copies, not including mass market paperbacks, which were published for three of the five editions; praise and affection generated over the years that easily matches those sales figures; massive review attention and numerous awards from both professional and advocacy organizations; strong e-book sales and an audio-book edition in production. With dozens of books about Alzheimer Disease now available for general readers, The 36-Hour Day remains the leading resource for caregivers, one of the few titles that B&N will never allow to go out of stock.

For all of us at JHUP, The 36-Hour Day and its success are a somewhat larger-than-life expression of the hope we always have when we publish a book or journal under the Johns Hopkins imprint. We want to deliver knowledge, discovery, and expertise to the people who need it. We want to publish works that have an impact, whether on a small circle of scholars in a dedicated field of study or on the hundreds of thousands of readers who are informed and comforted by a book like The 36-Hour Day.

That is our aim with 200 new books each year and with every new issue of the 80 journals we publish. But few works the Press has published match the reach and impact of The 36-Hour Day, and we salute and thank our friends and colleagues, Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins, for their exceptional work and achievement.

Fine Print* slideshow There are stories behind every title in the Fine Print* gallery. Browse the slideshow and immerse yourself in the breadth and depth of university press publishing.

SOPA, PIPA, and the AAUP

By Peter Givler

Every time I see the acronyms SOPA and PIPA I think they should be characters in a Swedish children’s book, but in fact they are, respectively, the Stop Online Piracy Act (HR 3261) and the Protect IP Act (S 968), two bills in Congress with the aim of giving the Department of Justice tools to take action against offshore “rogue” websites — websites whose sole purpose is trafficking in pirated intellectual property.  Think Pirate Bay.

The primary tool for doing so would be to put U.S. companies that do business with such websites — advertisers, credit card companies, etc. — on notice that they were facilitating online piracy, with the aim of drying up revenue and so eliminating the commercial motive for building and maintaining rogue websites.  The bills have become the target of a spirited internet campaign seeking to block their passage over fears that they would stifle innovation and interfere with freedom of speech.

SOPA has been the primary target of this campaign, and its most controversial feature, domain name blocking for rogue websites, has now been withdrawn so that the issue can be further studied (see Lamar Smith link below).  The White House weighed in on Saturday expressing the Administration’s concerns about the bills, while at the same time urging all parties to come together and seek a solution to the serious problem of offshore online piracy.

AAUP did not take a position on SOPA.  Last December, with the Board’s approval, I did send a letter to Senators Reid, Schumer and Gillebrand supporting PIPA; the text of that letter has been distributed to the AAUP membership via e-mail.

To help AAUP members evaluate the controversy surrounding these bills here are links to the SOPA and PIPA bills themselves, to the White House statement, and to statements from Senator Leahy about PIPA, Representative Smith about SOPA, and from six Republican Senators urging Senator Reid to allow consideration of PIPA to go forward without a motion for cloture.  (Cloture would not only limit the time for debate on the bill, but would also restrict consideration of amendments to those filed before cloture was invoked.)

Happy reading!

Peter Givler is the Executive Director of the Association of American University Presses

AAUP announces results of most recent digital publishing survey

One the eve of its annual conference, the Association of American University Presses has launched a redesigned website and released the results of its second digital book publishing survey in as many years. The press release announcing the report can be read here, and the report itself is available for download.

In addition to providing interesting statistical breakdown as to the number of presses participating in a wide variety of digital publication efforts, it also reveals the widespread (unavoidable?) use of digital technology in traditional print publishing, particularly print-on-demand.

For most presses  (53 of 71 who participated in the survey) revenue from sales of electronic editions remains below 3%. It will be interesting to see how/if that changes in the coming year, particularly since the percentage of presses now reporting as participating in site licenses to libraries has nearly doubled (from 34% in the 2009-2010 survey to 65% in the Spring 2011 survey).

Overall, finding a working business model and creating systems to best allocate limited resources remain the biggest obstacles faced by university presses when it comes to digital publishing. As the report clearly demonstrates, despite these concerns, AAUP member presses are actively and enthusiastically embracing the possibilities. And if history is any indicator, following this weekend’s annual conference, “The Next Wave: Toward a Culture of Collaboration,” that enthusiasm will be redoubled throughout the summer.


By Guest Blogger Lenny Allen

The title of the classic Philip K. Dick story asks whether androids dream of electric sheep. I don’t know the answer to that particular question, but I do know that we’re all–at this very moment, asleep or awake–dreaming of a digital monograph platform that is financially viable, intuitive, sustainable from the perspective of a rapidly shifting market environment, and adaptable enough to be able to meet both the short and long-term needs of scholarly research at all levels as well as the development of new business and acquisition models.

Our shared mission dictates that we disseminate scholarly content as widely as possible. But how best to fulfill this mission and meet the ongoing needs of academic research all while satisfying the above criteria? Simply publishing our content in electronic format is no longer enough.

Oxford Scholarship Online, launched nearly a decade ago and conceived of when ebooks were in what was then a virtually embryonic phase of development, has blazed a trail that is only now being followed in the marketplace. The use of XML and the precise nature of the text tagging it provided was an early and fundamental decision and has been instrumental to OSO’s success.

XML provides us the ability to do more than give users what is essentially a static “picture” of a book, offering instead a rich, robust text that meets the needs of scholarly research today and for the foreseeable future. In spite of all the rapid technological developments and the ensuing seismic shifts in the market, one thing has remained constant:  the nature and methodology of scholarly research. This is often lost in the clamor of our current discussion so it’s worth reminding ourselves from time to time that this is at the very heart of what we do and why we do it.

As OSO now evolves into University Press Scholarship Online and we begin the process of including other university press content on our platform, — see our recently launched pilot partner Fordham Scholarship Online–we’re more focused than ever on the viability of the monograph as a key medium of scholarly communication. The ability to conduct precisely targeted searches across multiple presses within the same platform is an exciting development and one that promises to do much in the way of advancing scholarly research.

XML is what makes that long-held dream a fully-functioning reality. Rather than merely replicating the confining linearity of the print book usage experience, XML instead offers accurate search-and-discoverability tools that greatly enhance research. Even in its latest incarnation, PDF cannot replicate the advantages provided by XML tagging, which identifies each piece of data and allows it to be found in the context of the search being made. By contrast, PDF searches are analogous to those made on the open web. Improvements made recently to PDF are all ‘bolt-on’ pieces of functionality applied to something which is intrinsically static. XML, in contrast, is designed from the ground up as a dynamic, repurposeable method of managing sophisticated data.

Students, researchers, and scholars are becoming ever more sophisticated consumers of electronic content. We need only look to the latest generation of discoverability services for evidence of the absolute importance of feature-rich metadata. In the newly dawning era of demand-driven acquisition (aka Patron Driven Acquisition) the discoverability of content has become of paramount importance. If the new formula for library acquisitions can be posited as “access = purchase,” no academic publisher can afford to exert less than a herculean effort at ensuring their content discoverability. The higher the quality of the XML tagging, the easier it becomes to discover the content users are looking for amid the ocean of online information, much of which is lacking in the authority guaranteed by the peer-review process.

OSO, UPSO, and all other Oxford online products have been built under the umbrella of a digital strategy that is in many ways dependent on the XML format. We continue to believe that will hold true going forward and that XML provides enormous benefits to researchers and consumers of scholarly content–our own and that of the presses with whom we partner on the UPSO platform.

Lenny Allen is Director of Sales, Wholesale & Online, Oxford University Press. More about University Press Scholarship Online can be found here.

Towards a Sustainable Digital Future

Earlier today, the Association of American University Presses issued a report entitled Sustaining Scholarly Publishing: New Business Models for University Presses. More than a year in the making, and an excellent example of the kinds of cooperation among presses long fostered by the AAUP, it offers an in-depth look at a wide variety of experiments in various stages of implementation by a broad number of member presses.  It also provides a succinct overview of why academic publishers (still) matter in the academy, and according to at least one early reviewer, “It would be irresponsible for any university administrator with oversight of a press to fail to read this.” (Joe Esposito writing for the Scholarly Kitchen).

The release of the report is sure to generate much discussion. It also provides a springboard for the AAUP’s Digital Publishing Committee (Laura Cerruti, California, Chair; Emily Arkin, Harvard; Sharon Casteel, Texas; Krista Coulson, Wisconsin; Jake Furbush, MIT, Dennis Lloyd, Florida; Fred Nachbaur, Fordham, Patti O’Shea, Chicago; and Tony Sanfilippo, Penn State) to roll out the next phase of its communications plan for the AAUP membership.

For the past few months, we’ve been analyzing the results of last year’s electronic survey, and polling chairs of other AAUP committees to identify the issues most in the minds of AAUP members. For the next several months, we’ll host a series of guest blogs focused on broadly defined topics. For March, the theme is “New Business Models.”

Take some time (if you haven’t already) to read the report. Let us know if you want to learn more about any of these new models, and we’ll see if we can commission a posting from someone involved in the project. Several guests have already agreed to create short, informal blog posts about their experiments, and these will appear over the next few days. Feel free to respond with comments or questions, and at the end of the month we’ll endeavor to wrap things up with a Q&A posting.

Thanks for reading, and more soon!

Dennis Lloyd
University Press of Florida