The idea for Pipfrosch Press originally came to me in shortly after the death of my younger brother Jesse. At that time, I started working in LaTeX on a field guide for Amphibians and Reptiles of the State of Jefferson.
Jefferson is not an actual state, of course, but its biggest supporters are libertarians in Oregon and far Northern California. I disagree with most libertarian philosophies, libertarians tend to oppose ecological conservation efforts, but I do empathize with their lack of political representation. I am not too familiar with politics in Oregon but California politics is heavily dominated by Los Angeles and San Francisco, they have some representation in the house but they really have no representation in the senate or in the electoral college.
Even if I disagree with them politically, political discourse should be about listening to the concerns of those you disagree with rather than silencing them and without much of a voice, they are effectively silenced and ignored.
I am not opposed to the formation of a new state that gives them representation, and I was hoping that by writing that field guide recognizing their proposed state, maybe it would open up some of their minds to the idea of working to preserve the biodiversity that exists there.
While working on the the description for the Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates[=Rana] pipiens) I began working on translating the original species description—written in Fraktur script German—to English.
That is when the name Pipfrosch Press was born. That is what Schreber called the frog and is where pipiens comes from. It was a mistake, the actual peeping that was heard was almost certainly a Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) but I fell in love with the name Pipfrosch and the name Pipfrosch Press was born.
Unfortunately due to financial circumstances beyond my control, I had to leave Shasta County which was very discouraging and I was unable to finish working on that book.
Since that time I discovered ePub and while I still very much 💖 LaTeX, the advantages of publishing a digital book in ePub over a print book with a PDF counterpart became readily apparent, especially with respect to content accessibility.
Now that I live in Contra Costa County again (where I grew up), I have a desire to locate a remnant population of the Berkeley Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys heermanni berkeleyensis), presumed extinct since . I am convinced I saw one in the 1980s but did not know the significance of what I saw.
It is very difficult to locate a missing species when you do not know anything about its natural history, so I looked for natural history on its closest relative, the Tulare Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys heermanni tularensis) and there is an excellent article by Donald T. Tappe in Journal of Mammalogy, Volume 22, № 2 (). Even though that paper is almost 80 years old, it cost me $39.00 to access the PDF.
While the quality of the PDF left a lot to be desired—the OCR has mistakes that should have been easy to catch—the quality of the paper itself blew me away. I started porting it to ePub because I believe that if that paper is available in a user friendly format, it may aid in finding a remnant population of the Berkeley Kangaroo Rat. For a quality ePub, I needed better quality digitized versions of the photographic plates in the article, so I started looking for a print copy of that journal volume or issue so I could create quality digitized versions of the plates.
I did not find it, but I did find Journal of Mammalogy Volumes 1–9 on eBay for a very reasonable price—less than I paid for the single PDF.
As the earliest volumes have now aged into the public domain, creating ePub versions of them would not violate any copyright and hopefully will show the American Society of Mammalogists that when I create an ePub, it is very high quality, and that hopefully will help in getting the permission needed to distribute an Open Access version of the article on the Tulare Kangaroo Rat in ePub. Hopefully.
This is when Pipfrosch Press more or less was ‘officially’ born. Journal of Mammalogy Volume 1 will be the first publication, and is also being used to help develop the workflow so that future publications can be ported to ePub at a faster rate.