That’s become our motto at the JHU Press, where the only constant is change, as they say. And we’ve decided to embrace it. So when a prominent dermatologist agreed to write a book for us on the condition that we publish it as a multi-touch iBook, with patient videos and three-dimensional graphics, we replied with an enthusiastic, “We’ll figure it out.”
That’s what we set out to do. But we knew that we needed a beta project on which to cut our teeth. We needed to learn the ins and outs of iBooks Author and figure out the best way to integrate iBooks into our traditional workflows. That’s how Meet the Johns Hopkins University Press was born: an iBook history of the JHU Press complete with text, three-dimensional graphics, interactive maps, video, audio, and even a self-grading quiz.
There was a small twinge of anxiety over the fact that we had never before used iBooks Author—the multi-touch platform that seamlessly incorporates video, audio, 3-D graphics, and other interactive features directly into the e-book file—but that kind of anxiety is familiar in an industry where change is the only constant. “We’ll figure it out,” we said, and quickly got to work.
We learned a few things along the way, perhaps nothing as important as this: innovation requires not only a willingness to learn, but a stomach for frustration and occasional failure. It requires us to engage fully with that which we do not know, and to begin anew the long journey of mastery. It requires us to add new challenges to already heavy workloads, disrupt routines, and make new kinds of mistakes. And sometimes it requires that we say “yes” to a project before we are 100% certain that we know exactly how to get it done.
We’d love your feedback. Download Meet the Johns Hopkins University Press for free from iTunes, and feel free to email Claire McCabe Tamberino, JHUP E-book and Digital Promotion Manager, with any questions or comments.
Our first commercial iBook, Living with Itch: A Patient’s Guide, by Gil Yosipovitch, M.D. and Shawn G. Kwatra, M.D., is due out this month. More on that soon.