Even before President Obama announced Wednesday his plans to take comprehensive action against gun violence in the wake of the December tragedy at Sandy Hook, Johns Hopkins University Press was moving quickly to inform the national debate on gun control by fast-tracking into publication a book that was acquired less than a week ago and is scheduled to be shipped January 28. Reducing Gun Violence: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis, edited by Daniel W. Webster and Jon S. Vernick, with a foreword by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will be published by JHU Press paper format with a 5,000-copy initial print run and as an e-book. Reducing Gun Violence is the first instant book from JHU Press in its 135-year history. Its final chapters are still being written, with a Friday deadline.

Reducing Gun Violence is a compilation of the research, legal analysis, and recommendations presented by international experts on gun policy at a two-day summit held at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health on January 14-15, a month after a gunman murdered 26 adults and children at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn. The summit was conceived a week after Sandy Hook. Mayor Bloomberg presented opening remarks at the summit.

“We think this book is essential and the need is immediate,” Greg Britton, JHU Press’s editorial director explained of the press’ decision to publish an instant book. “That has driven every publishing decision about it. Publishing this book is our way to contribute clear-eyed analysis to a debate that has become both polarized and, because of pro-gun lobby, thin on actual research.”

Kathy Alexander, JHU Press’ publicity manager, reports that while the press is more accustomed to a publishing process that typically takes 11 months from transmission of the manuscript to book release, they are able to produce Reducing Gun Violence in 14 days by shifting from a linear production process, in which every task occurs in order, to a more simultaneous process, in which different tasks are performed at the same time.

The cover, for example, was designed before the title was finalized,” Anderson explained, “Metadata was pushed out to booksellers before the manuscript was complete. Even the peer review process was changed to accommodate the schedule with multiple readers reviewing individual parts simultaneously.”

For their part, JHU Press sales reps report that a number of booksellers are ordering multiple copies for their stores. Several booksellers contacted by PW report that, with the timeliness of the issue and the book's price point, they intend to place copies of the $9.95 paperback near the cash register.

“I want to make a statement,” said Roberta Rubin, the owner of the Book Stall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka, Illinois, who ordered 12 copies for her store, a large order for her. “It’s gutsy, but I am going to do it, even though I’m usually very careful about political statements. Everyone here thinks we should put it on the front desk, but it’s a political statement.”