People are always surprised when they find we’ve been publishing for such a short time–only 10 months–and, to be frank, I am too. It seems like a long, long time! Publishing is an intense and complicated activity together, far from the gentlemen’s pursuit that it was in years past.
We began our independent publishing with the Berkshire Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction because we were intensely aware of the impact online activity–human-computer interaction–was having our our industry. We thought that instead of being afraid, as too many of our colleagues are, we should embrace change and understand it–and also build a network of hundreds of experts in the subject. (Nothing like having a fall-back position, right? And we reference publishers do love turning to the experts!)
This has proved to be an approach that makes sense, and we were thrilled when our friend John Bryans at Information Today books faxed a review from cousin publication Online Magazine. I’m at home and don’t have the text handy, but it couldn’t have been better. Well, at 3-1/2 stars, maybe it could have been a little bit better. But we’re happy (and I’ll quote a few lines tomorrow and you’ll wonder how it could get better)!
I’m more convinced than ever that HCI is a topic that merits much attention, in our industry as well as in society at large. I spent an hour or so yesterday touring the New Jersey warehouse of Baker & Taylor, the major book distributor (who are doing a great job with Berkshire publications, BTW), and was staggering by the warehouse management system–a software system that manages books and entertainment products by title and size and gets them into boxes and en route to users within 24 hours. It was a great opportunity for someone steeped in editorial work to see how what we do gets processed and moved into the world, and I have to thank Don for the tour, and Jean and Mark for sharing this part of their world with me.