Positive reinforcement

Staff members from all corners of the JHU Press attend conferences throughout the year. Those of us who travel—I am kind of a pinch-hitter in this regard for the Journals Division—try to spread the word of our books, journals, and electronic products while also selling copies of books and subscriptions to journals.

2013_CatalogWe regularly receive very nice comments about our products, but you can never tell the impact of that positive interaction. Sure, someone may like a book jacket or find the subject matter of a book fascinating, but does that carry beyond a conversation at an exhibit booth?

A few weeks after the recent Association for the Study of Higher Education conference in Las Vegas, we found out just how our work can make a lasting impression. Fiona McQuarrie, a faculty member in the School of Business at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia, had visited our booth and checked out the 2013 Journals Catalog.

The piece, which recently won Platinum honors in the Brochure/Catalog category in the 2013 MarCom Awards, caught her eye and inspired her to write about it on her blog ”All About Work.”

(A)t the conference’s book fair, I was delighted to pick up – for free! – one of the most visually stunning academic publications I’ve ever seen: the Johns Hopkins University Press 2013 scholarly journals subscription catalogue . . . The catalogue’s visual theme is origami, as a way of celebrating print and paper.

Academic publishers don’t have to expend this sort of effort and care on their catalogues – and most don’t. So kudos to the Johns Hopkins University Press for recognizing the dynamic potential of print and paper, for being so creative, and for producing such a beautiful piece of work.

I must admit that some of us let out spontaneous expressions of excitement when we read Fiona’s blog post. We believe that people appreciate the catalog, but when you see someone take their own time to laud your work like that, you can’t help but give a little cheer.

As digital products work their way more and more into publishing, some might wonder if a paper catalog still makes sense. I know our team thinks that it does, even without the kind words from Fiona. Like she said, there’s just something special about holding a well-crafted and attractively designed piece in your hands. It’s just a little more special when someone agrees with you.