When the folks at Dana Press say they have books on the brain, they're being literal. Dana Press is the publishing arm of the Dana Foundation, a 40-year-old foundation that supports brain research.
Jane Nevins, editor-in-chief of Dana Press, told PW that the press was an outgrowth of the Dana Alliance, a network of distinguished brain scientists organized by the foundation (www.dana.org), which was eager to distribute its research to the public. "It's a model for how scientists can speak to the public," said Nevins.
Since 1997, Dana Press has had copublishing agreements with such publishers as John Wiley & Sons, the Free Press and National Academy Press to release titles on brain research for general readers.
Nevins said the publishers handle production, design, sales and distribution, while the press does the editorial development. Dana jointly edits each book with its publishing partner. The program has grown from two books a year in 1997 (along with a number of free and subscription periodicals) to a planned seven titles in 2002. The press has eight employees: five at its Washington, D.C., headquarters and three in New York City, including a publicist, Barbara Rich, who "works the media and connects our experts to reporters to make sure the books reach the public," said Nevins. "We get important authors because we support our books. Why else would they publish with a foundation?"
Dana Press has released two books with Wiley: The Longevity Strategy: How to Live to 100 Using the Brain-Body Connection by David Mahoney and Richard Restak and States of Mind: New Discoveries About How Our Brains Make Us Who We Are, an anthology of essays edited by Roberta Contan.
Coming in fall 2001 is The Secret Life of the Brain by Richard Restak, a companion volume to a PBS series, which will be copublished with Joseph Henry Press, the trade imprint of National Academy Press. The book will have a 35,000-copy first printing. Also coming in the fall is In Search of the Lost Cord: Solving the Mystery of Spinal Regeneration by Luba Vikhanski, which presents, according to Nevins, "evidence of how close we are to solving this problem." And in 2002, Dana will release an encyclopedic reference work, The Dana Guide to Brain Health and Disorders, a comprehensive, 600-page home health guide. "It's everything you need to know about the brain," said Nevins.
"Today you have to be your own health expert," she noted. "Our books create a personal relationship with the reader. They keep you up to date."